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Finding Your Story Through Research and Imagination!

You’re probably not related to William Shakespeare, are you? So what does the Bard have to do with a genealogical research workshop and building stories with your family history? Come this Saturday to a workshop "From Genealogy Archives to Storytelling: Research Enriches Your Writing," co-presented by me and Knox County Archives Assistant Eric Head, and find out. In this two-part workshop, Head and I will teach participants how to research family data and other historical records and then use this information to create engaging stories.

The DEETS Whether you are a memoirist, family chronicler or fiction writer, it all starts with great research. This Saturday, July 22, the Knoxville Writers’ Guild hosts workshop leaders Head and Millard who will lead participants through the fundamentals of online research and then demystify the process of weaving the elements of research with storytelling. The event will be from 10 a.m. – noon, Saturday, July 22, 2017, at the East Tennessee History Center, 601 S. Gay Street., third floor. Free parking is available in the Market Square Garage and State Street Garage. More parking options are available here: The workshop is $40. Please register and pay in advance as seating is limited for this can’t miss course. Register at People will be allowed to register at the door, if there is still space available. “Research has never been easier, and the amount of material available increases with each passing day,” Head said. “The added bonus is that you can do it from home in your PJs and bunny slippers if you want.” Participants will have access to computers to do actual research but should bring pen and paper for notetaking. Bring the birthdate of someone you’d like to research. “Historical details add authenticity and propel the story from a lifeless narrative to a robust memoir or novel,” Millard said. “The trick is turning research into a storyline using tools such as dialogue, structure, setting, and characterization so that the finished project doesn’t feel like a research paper.” For further information, contact Bonny Millard at Bios: Eric S. Head, BA in history from the University of Florida, is an archives assistant at the Knox County Archives, an instructor in the genealogy class series sponsored by the Knox County Public Library and the East Tennessee Historical Society (ETHS), and a contributor to the ETHS magazine, Tennessee Ancestors. He has also served in various capacities with the Society of Tennessee Archivists, including as president in 2012-2013. Eric has experience researching at numerous facilities in the United States including notable places like the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, the New York City Municipal Archives and the National Archives in Washington, D.C. He also has ventured overseas looking for ancestors in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Bonny C. Millard, MFA in Creative Writing (fiction) from Queens University of Charlotte, NC, and a bachelor’s in journalism, is a writing coach, project development editor and adjunct instructor. Millard has been an award-winning journalist for more than 30 years, with side careers in nonprofits, victim advocacy, education and public relations added to the mix. Her work has appeared in numerous newspapers and regional magazines. As a writing coach and project development editor, she helps other writers explore the depths of their experiences and family legacies, and use historical facts to create engaging fiction. The lives of everyday people who rise to challenges in spite of difficulties have always inspired her writing. She also teaches composition at two community colleges. For more information, visit her website:

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