Bethann is Bruney’s third historical novel set in Anson county. It takes place in the years 1800 - 1825.
Photo Courtesy of Sandra Bruney
WADESBORO — Sandra Bruney has finished her latest historical novel, “Bethann,” which is the third in a series of historical novels based on Anson County in the years between 1800 and 1825.
Bruney is the founder of the Anson County Writer’s Club and has written everything from memoirs and articles for the Anson Record to steam-punk and historical fiction.
Bruney started working on Bethann immediately upon finishing Morven, which came out in 2019. The first book in this series of historical novels was 2017’s Riverbend, which was based on a plantation from the area.
“This novel, Bethann,” explained Bruney, “takes the two families, the ones from River’s Bend and the one from Morven, and blends them together.”
Though the novels are only a few years old, their foundations began about 20 years ago when the Anson County Writer’s Club, which Bruney founded in 1989, began pre-production on their play “Sneydsborough: A Ripple in the River” which was about the vanished Anson County town of Sneydsborough.
Intensive research of the town and era was conducted by Bruney and her team preparation of the play. “Sneydsborough officials at the time were thinking they were going to build this canal to Cape Fear and open shipping to the area,” said Bruney. “A big dream back then that they were going to make Sneydsborough bigger than anything around. Then, of course, it fell through.”
“Sneydsborough: A Ripple in the River” covered the years 1795 to 1865, an era that has always fascinated Bruney. “You know the Civil War is big,” said Bruney. “Colonial America is big, but no one talks about the War of 1812. At that point in history, the country’s starting to get on its feet and to feel like a world-wide power.”
Writing about historical characters from centuries ago requires extensive research. Luckily for Bruney, it’s an endeavor she thoroughly enjoys.
“You’re always finding new things,” explains Bruney. “There are times when I think I’ve completed the research and then I’ll be writing something and I’ll think, ‘wait a minute, how would that work out exactly?’”
Mary L. Medley’s book History of Anson County proved an invaluable resource to Bruney. “Medley had listed all the Anson County Sheriff’s through history,” said Burney. “I looked who was the high sheriff in 1825 and based a character in the novel off of them.”
In addition to historical and contemporary women’s fiction, Bruney has also written novels in the alternative history genre. Though these works may incorporate fantasy elements, such as time travel and shape-shifting, they require just as much research as the Anson County series did.
“In one of my novels, the hero is time traveling to New York City in 1960,” said Bruney, “He’s from 1890. I thought to myself, ‘Well, I visited New York City in 1960, why can’t I remember all this stuff?’ I had to go back and figure out what was where and what stores were opened then.”
Bruney’s work can be found online at http://www.sandrazbruney.com. It was available for purchase at the Anson County Arts Council and will be again when they reopen.
“I just appreciate all my readers here in Anson County,” said Bruney, “They’ve been really supportive and they always ask me, ‘when’s your next book coming out?’ That makes me feel really good.”
Bruney’s books can be found on Amazon and http://www.sandrazbruney.com.