Stranger than fiction–it's a cliche for a reason. Tonight I take a break from fiction to share a bit of truth that came together like magic and has me geeking out. I set out to research a 16th-century earl with an intriguing moniker for my WIP. Not a fan of 'write what you know,' I'm telling a story far from my ol' Virginia home, or so I thought.
The more I researched, the more details pointed to a British colony with a queen's nickname. Along the way, I found the website for the earl's family home in England. Yes, the same family lives there over 400 years later, but that isn't the strange part. The strange part is the latest arrow pointing its way back to VA. A man who married into the family had an illegitimate son, a son named Smithson who made a strange bequest. Though he'd never been to the United States, his estate was