In January 2009, I visited Liberty, Indiana to research my first and best-selling historical novel The Runaway (originally titled Love Finds You in Liberty, Indiana), a story about a Quaker woman who ran a station on the Underground Railroad.
Liberty is a special place, steeped in history. Its residents have a beautiful heritage of ancestors who fought quietly for freedom by risking their lives to harbor runaway slaves on their way to freedom in Canada before the Civil War. As I immersed myself in what life would have been like here in 1850, I explored old cemeteries and waterways, crawled into secret rooms and hiding places, learned how to cook on an open hearth, hiked along a canal path, read mounds of old articles, and met some amazing people who opened up the secret corridors in their homes and shared their family history.
A special thanks to Karen Coffey, researcher extraordinaire at the Liberty Public Library, who gave me a personal tour of the area as well as an incredible amount of information about her family and Liberty's Underground Railroad history.