In 1903, one of two brothers jumped belly down onto the fuselage of the first powered, heavier-than-air machine to achieve controlled, sustained flight and stayed aloft for
12 seconds at Kitty Hawk. That same year, two business partners introduced the crayon. And the world’s first Teddy Bear, inspired when Teddy Roosevelt refused to shoot a bear cub tied to a tree, an event later retold by a political cartoon which appeared in the Washington Star, rolled off the assembly line causing a mob seen outside the Ideal Toy Company in Brooklyn.
1903 was also the year 13-year-old Thelma M. Barnes died.
In this first installment in a living-historical fiction series featuring one fascinating but dead unique character per volume, a deceased, teen girl, who lived in Southern California at the turn of the 20th century, is brought back to life through an actress who recreates the young lady based on intensive historical research surrounding the teen’s life and times. Dressed in period costume, the living teen actress sits with the author for several two-hour interviews beside the gravesite in the very cemetery where the original girl now rests. The living teen’s responses become the foundation for Conversations with a Dead Girl. The question the author hopes to answer: Take away the iPods and cell phones, are teens, even 100 years apart, really all that different?
On Easter Sunday, 2009, author Ralph Scott strolled into a Redondo Beach, California cemetery and found his way over to the children’s section. For reasons unknown even to himself, he was drawn to the following marker:
Thelma M. Barnes lived but 13 years (1890-1903). The inscription at the base of her headstone suggests she suffered with a protracted illness:
"And the voice of Christ
Through her suffering
Hear -- "Lo, it is I:
There is naught to fear!"
The author was hooked. And the research commenced. In a matter of weeks, intriguing details began to emerge about this young girl and her widowed mother. As the research is ongoing, none of those details will be revealed here. But the casting for young Thelma is underway and the author already has identified at least one Ventura County 13 year old who might be the perfect actress to give Thelma a voice. Stranger still is how the two girls’ lives – more than a century apart – are potentially intertwined...
Projected word count: 90,000.
Type: Historical fiction told in interview style.