Monday, July 14, 2008

Contributor Spotlight--Wayne Rowe

Hello, loyal readers!

I thought you all may be interested to hear about the background of some of our talented authors! This interview will also be on the website!


1) Describe how you became interested in the Civil War. What do you consider your favorite area for study and research?

Seems like I’ve always been interested in the Civil War, but I guess it all began when I received the American Heritage book “The Civil War” as a Christmas present when I was eleven years old. I was taken by the very unique diorama-type battle maps and pictures.

For the last seven years I have participated in reenactments and have researched the First Company, Richmond Howitzers, a Confederate Artillery unit.

2) When did you begin writing? What has that journey been like?

I have written books as a Research Fellow when I was in the Navy. Only recently have I written Civil War articles, and have given speeches at ceremonies and to Civil War Round Tables.

The journey has been more exciting then I could ever have imagined. Jeff Shaara said in the introduction to his book on Civil War battlefields: “. . . the research is the energy behind the story, and the energy behind the research has come from walking in the footsteps of the characters.”

I’ve walked in the footsteps of the Richmond Howitzers over many battlefields. I’ve visited dozens of museums, historical societies and libraries up and down the East coast. I’ve held and read the diaries, letters and memoirs of Richmond Howitzers and yet only now after about nine years of research am I getting to know who these men were.

3) Are you a full time writer? If not, what else do you do?

I am not a full time writer. Wish that I were. I am a retired Naval Officer who is currently the Head Reference Librarian at the Naval War College in Newport, RI.

4) Do you have a specific writing or researching technique or tip you'd like to share?

Do your homework. What I mean by that is do thorough research. Use primary sources when possible. Know your audience. Have at least one or more people read, critique and edit your draft. Keep it simple. Do not use twenty words to say something when two words will do.

5) What are some of the next projects you are working on?

I am currently working on the transcription and compiling of two works (diary & a reflection) of a Richmond Howitzers for a book.

Other books are in the works on several key men of the Richmond Howitzers. I have not yet decided if there is enough material to write one book or several books, but I am keeping my options open.

6) Any advice for beginning writers you would like to give?

Keep a narrow focus on your topic or subject. This will help with both doing research and writing your papers, articles, and books. Keep track of the resources you use so you can build a good bibliography and footnotes. Always give credit to an author whose work you have used to avoid being accused of plagiarism. Research is the fun part, but start early on in the process by doing some writing. In today’s world of computers, you can always cut, paste and edit later. The art of actually putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard is always the toughest part of the process. And most importantly, pick a topic you are passionate about as you will be spending many hours working on it.

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