Writer explores Colonial era in novels

Published 11:12 am Saturday, December 10, 2016

Mac Laird didn’t mean to write a sequel. It just sort of happened. Honest.

But it’s really a credit to his writing that fans of his books have successfully persuaded him to continue delving into the genre of historical fiction.

The first book, “Dangerous Differences,” which was published in 2009, is set in the wilderness of Virginia and North Carolina. That story concerns the conflicts and differences between Native Americans and settlers.

That story is self-contained, said Laird, and is not necessary to read before going on to “Christanna,” which takes place from 1713 to 1718. The only real link is the time frame and approximate locations.

The longtime Williamsburg resident will be at the Peanut Patch in Courtland on Sunday, Dec. 18. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., he’ll sell and sign copies of his books, as well as answer questions about them.

He’ll also have on hand his actual first novel, “Quail  High Above the Shenandoah,” which is about a man building a house out of logs and stones.

Formerly a Navy man who retired after a lengthy career, Laird went on to work as a civilian analyst in telecommunications for the Navy. He and his wife, Johnnie, had moved to Williamsburg in 1990.

That year Laird began to meet historians and teachers. Apparently, once he became interested in history, the seeds for what would later be story ideas began to take root. Which shouldn’t be too surprising considering where he resides.

“I live in a living museum and have an abiding interest in Williamsburg,” Laird said.

When he thought that he’d like to write seriously, Laird searched for something — or sometime — that’s least written about, and looked to the early history of the nation.

One story idea he had concerned a young Native American who left a school that would “civilize” him, and he made his way back through the wilderness to his home in North Carolina. But the plot, though based in reality, is apparently undocumented, so Laird didn’t feel comfortable writing that particularly story.

Now he’s thinking of another story to start after the action of “Christanna,” but had no set deadline toward which he was working. Meanwhile, there’s his three novels so far to keep fans entertained and informed.