Friday, November 15, 2013

Lyn Cote: Inserting Fun Into Research!

Everyone's Story welcomes multi-published and award winning author Lyn Cote. Lyn's name and outstanding reputation was one of the first author's name I became acquainted with as I began to familiarize myself with the Christian fiction market and considered writing for it. Lyn's stories have made their way into many homes and hearts through the years and it's my pleasure to have her as my guest this week. Lyn shares with us her love of historical research and how fun it can be. Plus, there is a bonus waiting for her fans at the bottom of this segment. If you have any questions or perhaps an anecdote to share of your own adventures into research, please drop Lyn a comment. Both she and I look forward to hearing from you.

Historical Research is My Kind of Fun! By Lyn Cote

I have a Masters in American History and my idea of fun is to spend hours deep in the back of a library or in the heart of a local museum. On a trip to Florida, my husband and I managed to stop at the Lincoln Library in Springfield, Illinois, the Chickamauga Battlefield in Georgia and finally Andrew Jackson’s estate, The Hermitage, near Nashville. (Can you believe that the wallpaper hung in that antebellum house is still on the walls? No peeling and still looks good—AMAZING!)

Using Authentic Language

It is always so interesting to research the language of a time period. For example, I had wanted to use the phrase “the real thing,” in my latest book, The Baby Bequest, but after some research, I discovered that phrase came into use much later than when this story takes place. I don’t like to use phrases that aren’t historically grounded.

The Real McCoy

So I substituted “the real McCoy,” and discovered that this phrase came into use because of Elijah McCoy, an African-American born in Ontario, Canada, in 1844, the son of runaway slaves. Educated in Scotland as a mechanical engineer, Elijah McCoy settled in Detroit. Unable to get a job as a mechanical engineer because of racial prejudice, he worked for the railroad as an “oiler.”

You Can’t Keep a Good Man Down

While working there, he invented a cup that would regulate the flow of oil onto moving parts of industrial machines, first the train engine. This invention distributed oil evenly over the engine's moving parts. He obtained a patent for this invention, which allowed trains to run continuously for long periods of time without pausing for maintenance.

The term “real McCoy” refers to Elijah’s oiling device. It became so popular that people inspecting new equipment would ask if the device contained “the real McCoy.”

How about that?

So that’s what makes me smile.

Finding out something I never knew before and usually it’s so much more than I expected!

Have you ever visited a national historic site or a particularly interesting small museum or local historical site? Please share what you learned or what surprised you.

If you drop by Lyn's website and subscribe to her enewsletter, she’ll send you a PDF copy of “Old Family Recipes.” 15 Love Inspired Historical authors (including Lyn) put together their old favorite family recipes and the stories behind them.

Lyn's Ah-hahs To Tweet:
Visit with #InspirationalFiction author Lyn Cote on Everyone’s Story. (Tweet This)

Award winning author Lyn Cote shares research tips. (Tweet This)

Author Bio:
Since her first Love Inspired romance debuted in 1998, Lyn Cote has written over 35 books. A RITA finalist and a Carol Award winner, Lyn writes contemporary romance and historical. Her brand is "Strong Women, Brave Stories."

In addition to her website, visit With Lyn At: 


  1. Hi, Lyn! I love history, too, and your books. My dad got me going on working in some historical sites on every vacation. When my husband and I took our daughter to college at Sewanee, we visited the Chickamauga Battlefield. I found it a very moving place.Most recently we visited The Atlanta History Center when I attended the Romance Writers of America conference there.

    1. I appreciate your visit today, Jean. Reading about your visits reminds me of the times I've visited Plymouth Plantation and Gettysburg, both very different moments in history but I absorbed a distinct presence and was transported back in history.

    2. Maybe because it's so much commercialized than Gettysburg, I found Chickamauga a lot more moving thatn Gettysburg. I expected to see the soldiers coming out of the trees. It was that strong for me.

    3. Got it, Jean. I think if more visit these historic sites they'd have a clearer perspective of today's times and troubles. Hmm. Enough of my soapbox stand.

    4. Yes, Jean, it's so horrible to imagine how many soldiers suffered and died in Chickamauga. Glad you got to go.

  2. Perhaps one of the reasons I love history is that I live 20 miles from Shiloh and 4 miles from where the Battle of Corinth was fought...actually some of the soldiers probably traipsed the land where my house sits. And I love the Natchez Trace and one day hope to set a story on.
    Great post. I love Lyn's books and her website.

    1. Pat, that's really fascinating about the area you live, especially where your house is. Since I live in a very old place as well I've always wished I could travel back in time to visit, especially before our place was built. The Mohicans lived here and I'd love to see it back then, though not in the winters!

    2. Great location. I'm always surprised and pleased when I stumble across a historical marker in some out of the way place and voile--history!

  3. Lyn, thanks for taking the time out of your busy writing schedule to appear on Everyone's Story. It's been an interesting week learning of viewer's historical interests. I appreciate you sharing yours.

    May everyone have a lovely Thanksgiving holiday.


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