When I was a child, other countries' histories seemed more interesting than my own. I avidly read about the American Revolution in Johnny Tremain, or Roman Britain in The Eagle of the Ninth, but no one had made our own country's past come alive in the same way. At university, my Canadian history courses made me realize that our country's stories were just as interesting — they just hadn't been written down. When I became a writer, I explored Canada's past in many of my novels. Thus, when I was asked to write a book for the Dear Canada series, I immediately agreed. I was given a list of topics, and the one which jumped out was "The Battle of Queenston Heights". For years I have heard a family story that my great-great-great grandmother, Susan Merritt, buckled on General Brock's sword the night before this battle to give him luck. She was only ten at the time, and I have always wondered how she met Brock and how she felt after he was killed. Doing the research for the book became a fascinating treasure hunt for information about my Merritt and Adams ancestors. I visited St. Catharines, Niagara-on-the-Lake and Fort George, and learned much by reading the diaries of William Hamilton Merritt, Susan's brother. I never did find out if the family legend was true, but having this personal connection to the book helped me make 1812 real. I have greatly enjoyed reading the other books in the series. By interpreting the past through the eyes of young girls, they make Canadian history immediate and fascinating.
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