Mary Jane Goodwin Austin was born on February 25, 1831, almost two hundred years ago. And yet there have been times in my research when she felt like a contemporary. Her letters are warm, friendly, and often quite personal. She obviously felt comfortable expressing herself in writing. Although I haven’t recently discovered any more letters, I continue to find new stories or articles that she published all the time. A more in-depth biography of Austin (in case you missed it!) is here.
I’ve been very quiet on this blog lately, but I have been working! I’ve got another article coming out in the next Mayflower Journal on Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, which has required extensive research. I was also able to solve a little mystery related to Austin and Longfellow with the help of noted Longfellow scholar Christoph Irmscher. But I can’t give anything away just yet!
I will also use the research for the Longfellow article in a chapter of my book, Inventing the Pilgrims: How Fiction Shaped History. I’m actively seeking an agent, and getting the query letters and proposals together has been an illuminating and exciting experience. Now the waiting begins!
But because I am so determined to have the book published in time for the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower landing in 2020, I’m writing and researching in all of my spare time. It will be a very tight timeline, but hopefully I can make it work!