Writing Update: Last of the Baronites: 30.5K (31-32K to finish)
In the song “Aaron Burr, Sir,” from the smash Broadway hit Hamilton: An American Musical, Lin Manuel-Miranda takes creative license in imagining Hamilton punching the bursar at Princeton College. Ron Chernow, the author of the excellent Hamilton biography on which the musical is based, reportedly blanched at this historical leap, pointing out that “Alexander Hamilton wasn’t needlessly violent,” and encouraged Miranda to rework the lines.
Miranda left it unchanged.
Why? Because the line in the song is friggin killer, that’s why.
That was Miranda’s reasoning, at least. And it’s true. But the line also works because it underscores Hamilton’s intense temperament. Hamilton might not have been needlessly violent, but he was also a self-professed warrior who didn’t mind mixing it up in the public sphere, and from there it’s not too far of a leap to imagine that he’d resort to punching a bursar if said bursar was thwarting his academic ambitions.
Which leads me to my forthcoming novella, The Last of the Baronites: Novella Three of The Deer King series. If you consider yourself a fan of historical fantasy, well then, by golly, this is the novella for you. If you’ve read the first two novellas, you’ve likely noticed that the setting is a fantasized version of America at the end of the colonial era/dawn of the United States. But what you haven’t seen are characters inspired by historical figures.
That’s about to change.
The protagonist of Last of the Baronites is my re-imagining of a young John Quincy Adams. You’ll also see appearances by figures loosely based on John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and, anachronistically, Thaddeus Stevens (Stevens was a U.S. Representative during the Civil War).
(Side Note: Emmaline Rain is also back. She’s not inspired by a historical figure, but, for those of you who have read The Deer King, you know it doesn’t make her any less important.)
Like any truth-sabotaging novelist, I’ve taken the liberty of altering both the personal histories and the temperament of my characters as needs be to fit the story. Some hew closer to their historical counterparts, while others are radical departures. But what I hope you’ll find is the same grain of truth that runs through Miranda’s decision to have Hamilton ‘punch the bursar’: the nodding-your-head-saying-“Yeah,-I-could-see-him-doing-that” grain of truth, whether or not it ever actually happened.
My next blog post will announce the arrival of Last of the Baronites, which will hopefully take place at the end of August, if not earlier. Thank you to everyone who has read the first two posts since my decision to start blogging on a more regular basis. I’ve written for nearly two decades now, but blogging is a different art, and, after reflecting on my last post, I know there’s room for improvement. What I’ve tried to do since putting out my work is to look for natural ways to promote my writing without it feeling forced, hackneyed, or too much like a sales pitch. I’ve decided that blogging and posting links to social media is a much more natural fit for me than posting on social media.
If you’re visiting the site and would like to follow the blog, please look to the right hand side of the webpage ———–> and click follow the blog. After entering your email you will receive an email anytime I post a blog (no more than once a month) or when I put out a new release.
Book Recommendation: Fate and Furies by Lauren Groff.
Song Recommendation: “Dead in the Water” by the one and only Noel Gallagher.
Until next time…
2 thoughts on “You Punched the Bursar?”
Burr and Hamilton went to King’s College (Late Columbia) not Princeton.
Hey! Thanks for checking out the website! Hamilton was considering pursuing a degree at Princeton when he had the run-in with the bursar. He eventually attended King’s College, as you pointed out. Burr, on the other hand, did attend the College of New Jersey, better known today as Princeton. Here are a handful of references: (Aaron Burr’s College) https://www.biography.com/political-figure/aaron-burr. (Hamilton’s interest in the College of New Jersey) http://www.princetonmagazine.com/alexander-hamiltons-new-jersey/