Character Interview: Kate Scott

January 1777; Chatham, NJ. After my interview with Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Scott of the New Jersey Militia, I had the opportunity to speak with his wife, Kate, who also appears in the novel A Nest of Hornets. Here are my questions and her responses:

Robert Krenzel: Mrs. Scott, please tell us a little about your background.

Kate Scott: Please, Dear, call me Kate. What should I say? I am from New York City. I was born there in 1753, as Katherine Vogels. I was quite happy there until my family moved to that little backwater in New Jersey called New Brunswick. I made the best of it, I suppose, but there was so little for an ambitious young girl to do! Fortunately we were not so far as to preclude occasional visits to New York for culture and shopping.

RK: You are not happy here in New Jersey?

KS: I am happiest where there is society and culture. Frankly, I would prefer London or Paris, but if we must be on this Continent, I would prefer New York; or perhaps Boston or Philadelphia. And while New Brunswick was bad, this place we are in now is just beastly! We might as well all be wearing animal skins and dancing around a fire.

RK: As you implied you currently reside in Chatham, but used to be in New Brunswick. As I understand it from your husband enemy troops are now quartered in your New Brunswick estate, and you all fled for your lives. Can you tell me more about that?

KS: Fortunes of war, I suppose. I would certainly not say I fled for my life, though. I think Daniel would have preferred to fight to the death in our front door; I don’t know how well it would have gone for me under those circumstances, so I persuaded him to remove us somewhere away from the fighting. In retrospect, perhaps I should have let him fight it out.

RK: Your husband indicated you have a happy marriage. You must feel very fortunate.

KS: [with raised eyebrows] Oh, of course. What lady would not consider herself blessed to be married to such a man?

RK: He is something of a hero, is he not?

KS: I suppose so. He is certainly committed to his cause.

RK: He has a reputation for ferocity; is there a hidden side of him at home that his troops would be surprised to see?

KS: [smiling enigmatically] At home he is like a puppy in my lap.

RK: How did you meet?

KS: My father arranged it. Daniel came from a well-to-do family with reasonable connections. It was a good match.

RK: You recently had a chance to meet a young Continental officer named Lieutenant Gideon Hawke, who is of interest to my readers. What can you tell us about him?

KS: He is such a delightful young man! He is very eager to please, which I like in men, and very handsome. He seems a bit naïve in social settings, but I have no doubt he is a fearsome on the battlefield as his reputation would suggest.

RK: Have you noted any tension between him and your husband?

KS: There is tension between everyone and my husband. I think dear Gideon is very idealistic. My husband is more pragmatic. I can see how that would lead to the occasional difference of opinion, don’t you?

RK: Quite; especially in a time like this when politics and war have torn families apart. Having been through so much, what words of wisdom would you offer to young ladies in these trying times?

KS: The same advice I offer all young ladies: “Marry a handsome man and you marry trouble.” Those are words to live by.

RK: Yes…well…I was referring to the war. Are you saying that in spite of the war everything revolves around marriage?

KS: What I am saying…and please don’t take me for a hopeless romantic…is that I am a practical woman. I would say that whom she marries is very important for determining how comfortable a young lady will be, and how many options she will have available, especially in times such as these.

RK: I see. The current war has been hard on New Jersey and its population; are you hopeful for the future?

KS: I am absolutely certain I will find a way to manage.

RK: What do you think it will take to heal the wounds left by this war?

KS: I suppose each person will have to find her own way. I will certainly find mine.

RK: Do you think America will win its independence?

KS: I have no idea. The war is not a particular concern of mine, aside from how it affects me directly. I can’t say I care one way or another about the cause.

RK: Kate, thank you very much for your time. This has been truly…informative.

KS: [Placing a hand on my arm] It has been delightful!

You can learn more about Kate Scott in Gideon Hawke #3, A Nest of Hornets!

A Nest of Hornets on Amazon:

Character Interview: Lieutenant Colonel “Black Dan” Scott

January 1777; Chatham, NJ. I recently had the opportunity to interview Lieutenant Colonel Daniel “Black Dan” Scott of the New Jersey Militia, who appears in the novel A Nest of Hornets. Below you will find my questions and his answers. (NOTE: his answers were editing to remove profanity)

Robert Krenzel: Lieutenant Colonel Scott, please tell us a little about your background.

Dan Scott: Not much to tell, really. I was born in my family home in 1749. My father was a merchant; some of the ships that called at the Landing near our home came from across the globe, so I learned a fair bit about the world that way. I didn’t care much for school; I suppose you could say I was a bit of a trouble maker. I joined the militia when I was sixteen, and naturally for someone of my upbringing and talents I soon became an officer. When the war started I played quite a role in getting the Middlesex County Militia organized, so in 1775 I was raised to lieutenant colonel.

RK: You join us having already established a fierce reputation. How did you acquire the nickname “Black Dan?”

DS: [with a grin] It’s for my black hair.

RK: I’ve been told it has more to do with your actions than your appearance.

DS: You can’t believe everything you’re told. But…I suppose it’s a black day for him when a tory finds himself my prisoner.

RK: As I understand it, your troops don’t capture many Loyalists.

DS: Capture or bring into prison? There’s a difference. We’ve captured plenty. They just tend to die of their wounds or are killed trying to escape or some such thing. Whatever the cause, they just always seem to die. [Grinning] It’s a pity, that is.

RK: I see. So…you are married, are you not?

DS: Yes, of course! To my beloved Kate! We married in 1774, and she’s the best thing that ever happened to me!

RK: How did you meet?

DS: At a gala in New Brunswick. Our fathers arranged it, but for me it was love at first sight. We were married not long afterward. She is a fine, cultured woman with impeccable taste and good connections. We lived quite a happy life. Until the [multiple expletives] British came, that is.

RK: You used to reside in New Brunswick, but now you are in Chatham. Why is that?

DS: [turning red in the face] Because a [expletive] regiment of Hessian [expletives] is quartered in my [expletive] house right now! If I’d stayed there, the [expletives] would have hung me from the nearest tree and left me for the ravens. We had no choice but to leave. Fortunately our current residence was conveniently vacated.

RK: Your current home actually belongs to a Loyalist family, does it not?

DS: Yes. And I’m caring for it a lot better than my house is being looked after, I promise you that. Besides, I doubt they’ll be coming back for it.

RK: Have you heard from the current owners?

DS: No, and I don’t care to. May they rot in hell.

RK: The current war has been hard on New Jersey and its population; are you hopeful for the future?

DS: Oh, yes! Very much so! Some doubted our prospects, but I have never waivered in my belief in the Cause. Now, after Trenton and Princeton, it is fashionable to be optimistic, but I have always believed that we would come through this war stronger and more unified.

RK: What do you think it will take to heal the wounds left by this war?

DS: Two things: First, we beat the British and their craven, beef-witted, Hessian lackeys. Then, we hunt down every [expletive] Loyalist [expletive] who darkens this land with his filthy shadow: we hang each and every one from a tree and stretch his neck but good. Once that is done, everything else should sort itself out.

RK: Lieutenant Colonel Scott, thank you very much for your time. This has been truly…informative.

DS: Any time.

You can learn more about “Black Dan” Scott in Gideon Hawke #3, A Nest of Hornets!

A Nest of Hornets on Amazon: