Milford resident Norma Welch was raised with a love of history, but she never planned to use her fact-finding skills to publish two novels.
Her first piece of historical fiction, "Anville: A Delaware Story of the American Revolution" has sold approximately 500 copies since it came out in 2007, and Welch hopes that her most recently published book, "Invaded: A Second Delaware Story of the American Revolution" offers a unique story taking place during the Revolutionary War.
"Invaded" focuses on Revolutionary-period New Castle County in the 1770s, and centers around two families, the Bruckner sisters and the McDougal men, who have differing ideas about the war, their environment and the need to enlist soldiers.
Welch said it all started with shoe boxes filled with index cards and a 30-page bibliography. With so much amassed information, she decided to do what she had heard works and write about what she knew.
"They say write about what you know and I know a lot about those locations," she said, adding her love of her hometown of Newark to her love of history. Although Welch was born in Philadelphia, she has lived in Delaware since she was an infant, growing up in Newark, studying history at the University of Delaware and moving to Milford more than 40 years ago.
Welch now lives alone and enjoys the freedom of being able to write whenever she pleases, spend time with her family and more importantly, spend as much time as needed digging to find those lesser-known facts and figures that set the stage for her historical fiction.
"It's a good way to live – when my mind gets skewered from so many dates I can just walk away," Welch said. "When I come to a point where I can't come up with any more ideas, I go back and read more history."
And while the factual history drives her stories, she really focuses on bringing her characters to life to share a real story in a more creative way.
"I enjoy seeing the characters themselves developing, figuring out how they lived, what they do," she said. "You get to learn a little history and enjoy doing it. It's fascinating."
Welch is currently working on a third novel focusing on the British occupation of Wilmington during the Revolutionary War. Her books can be found in some local book stores, libraries, at the Milford Museum and at www.amazon.com.