Interview with Gregory Edgar, famous children's author on U.S. History specializing in the U.S. Revolutionary War:

Question 1) How did you first get interested in history?

Answer) The summer after graduating from Hartford (CT) Public High School, I picked up a paperback copy of Bruce Lancaster's American Heritage Book of the Am. Revolution and was fascinated by his description of how our patriots overcame so many hardships and persevered to win the war. I was hooked from then on.

Question 2) Why did your focus in history turn to the American Revolutionary War?

Answer) I have dozens of ancestors who were in the Rev War, including one British soldier who fought at Bennington and Saratoga, then after the surrender there in 1777 he spent time as a prisoner of war in New England and stayed here when the war ended. His daughter, who also is a character in my novel, Gone to Meet the British, ended up marrying a local NH boy who fought against her father at Saratoga, then they moved to Barre, VT. The other main character of that novel, my ancestoor Danny Reed also moved to Barre VT from Barre MA. My mother is a direct descendent and hails from that area.

Question 3) What made you take up writing about American Revolutionary War for children and teenagers?

Answer) My own children were going through the middle school years and had to read slow, heavily descriptive, boring novels about the Rev War. They saw that I had spend many years writing nonfiction books for adults about that subject, so they suggested I switch to novels for young adults. "Surely," they said, "you can write more interesting stuff than what we have to read for school."

Question 4) How do kids respond to your talks about the American Revolutionary War?

Answer) They laugh and at times are silent during the suspenseful parts. They love it when I ask them to shout "Huzzah!" and do role play of flank attack, frontal assault, etc. They also like to see their classmates get embarassed.

Question 5) Describe your presentations to schools about the American Revolutionary War?

Answer) I mostly talk about the first formal stand up battle, which was Bunker (Breeds) Hill, about 8 weeks after the war started at Lexington & Concord. I focus on our inexperience and fear, and the British attitude of superiority that led to their mistakes.

Question 6) What is the most interesting part of the American Revolutionary War period in your opinion?

6) I've always liked the northern campaigns, Ticonderoga, etc. Perhaps because I spent my summers near there when I was a boy. Also Bunker Hill, because everyone outside New England expected the Yankees to run away, but they stood their ground and, therefore, though it was the first formal battle, I consider it a turning point in the war.

Question 7) What is the most important part of the American Revolutionary War period in your opinion?

Answer) GW turning the tables on the enemy with his couterattack at Trenton during the blizzard of December 25-26, 1776 saved the Revolution.

Question 8) Tell us about some of your favorite children's characters in your books?

Answer) I like the characters that I throw in for just a scene or two, such as the "fighting parson" from Pittsfield MA, and Big John Wormwood who had eyes for Molly and forced Danny to step in to protect her by pulling his own knife around the campfire that night they first arrived in the American camp. Also, I loved researching dialects so that I could make the dialogue colorful.

Question 9) In your opinion, does history teach children important lessons about life and citizenship? Give some examples.

Answer) Yes, reading about our ancestors, and other Americans who came before us and helped make this country what it is today has a subtle, intangible effect on all of us. I encourage teachers to go lightly on the textbooks and supplement with historical novels whenever possible.

Question 10) Tell us anything more about American Revolutionary War history and your books that you want to share with our readers.

Answer) I love doing booksignings, whether at a bookstore, school or historical reenactment. People want to tell me about their ancestors or historical books and movies they enjoy. Honor your ancestors by reading a history book!