During our recent trip to Gettysburg Chris and I had the pleasure of meeting up with Lisa Shower one morning. Lisa has a wealth of knowledge about Gettysburg both the battle and the city. The town tour she gave us was both informative and entertaining. I highly recommend seeking her out for her tour. I can also highly recommend the recent book that she helped with. Read my review here.
LS--I took a leap of faith in January 2004 and pursued my dreams by relocating to Gettysburg. I have had a life-long love of American History and was fortunate to have parents who indulged it. I live in Bonneauville with my husband of 2 years Rick and my 14 year old feline, Moo Cow Kitty.
CBR--You have recently collaborated with Kevin Drake on the book Test Your Knowledge on the Battle of Gettysburg. Can you please tell us about this and how you came to be a part of it?
LS--I met Kevin about 2 years ago at the Adams Co. Historical Society. We started a conversation that led to me casually answering questions related to civilian experience since he was looking for information in order to include more of them in the book that he was already working on.
CBR--I recently picked up a copy while in Gettysburg and it really enlightened me to just how little I know about the battle. What has been the feedback you and Kevin have been receiving? Are there any plans for a follow up volume?
LS--We have received very positive feedback. There is definitely plans for a second volume. We are encouraging current readers to submit their own questions for consideration of inclusion.
CBR--For readers who would like a copy can you suggest where they may be able to purchase the book? Are there any book signing events planned in the near future?
LS--Locally, Battlefields and Beyond Military Book Shoppe, American Civil War Wax Museum and all locations of Gettysburg Souvenirs & Gifts. Online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Two book signings are schedule for May 14 from 2pm to 5pm at the Wax Museum and May 15 form 12noon to 2PM at Battlefields & Beyond.
CBR--There is also a website associated with the book and you play a key role there as well. Please let readers know your role there and what they can expect when visiting the site.
LS-I write a weekly column that is posted to the site each Sunday evening. It includes current events, anecdotes and a weekly calendar of activities. The site also includes weekly photo trivia contests. Daily contests can be found at our Facebook page.-
CBR--In addition to your writing you also work as a Gettysburg Licensed Town Guide. Can you tell us how you got involved with this and what an average day is like for a Town Guide?
LS--This is my passion! A dream come true. Long before I lived here I was consumed with learning about the town & people who were forever changed by the Battle. The Licensed Town Guide program was launched in 2005, I was licensed the next year in 2006. Our main information desk is located in the Atrium lobby of the Gettysburg Hotel on the Square. We offer multiple tours each day and take turns leading visitors on 90 minute walking tours of town.
CBR--Many readers will confuse what you do with the Licensed Battlefield Guides. Would you explain the difference in the two and why visitors should be interested in the city proper and take a tour with you or another guide? Can tours be tailored to visitors specific interests or level of knowledge?
LS--No battlefield tour is really complete without the services of both a Licensed Battlefield Guide AND a Licensed Town Guide. A Town Guide focuses on the impact the 3 day battle had on the community. Every tour includes the early formation of the town's history up to the American Civil War, the three day occupation by the Confederate army, the aftermath of the battle, Dedication Day and President Lincoln's visit up to the present. All Licensed Town Guides pride themselves on flexibility and cater their tours to meet the interest level of the visitor.
CBR--Readers may be familiar with the rigorous criteria to become a Licensed Battlefield Guide but can you please outline what it takes to become a Licensed Town Guide.
LS--The testing process is nearly identical to that of an LBG. Our program was established with the cooperation of the National Park Service and their Rangers. Town Guides base more emphasis on individuals and personal accounts. Town Guides must also possess a solid understanding of the military actions involved in the three days battle.
CBR--You are also actively involved in the Adams County Historical Society. Can you tell readers a bit about that and the organization?
LS--The Adams Co. Historical Society is the home of most of the County's records. Their daily operation is highly dependent on on volunteer hours. I have been "working" there since September 2004 on various projects including digitization of their voluminous records. Over the next few years the Society will move into temporary quarters while Schmucker Hall is renovated and turned into a state of the art museum that will focus on the 1st days battle, it's use as a major field hospital after the battle, the Underground Railroad and the Lutheran Theological Seminary @ Gettysburg.
CBR--What is your favorite battlefield spot that visitors should not miss and why?
LS--Along Brooke & Cross Avenues, which runs between the Wheatfield, Triangular Field and the Rose Farm. I have always got a better sense and feel for what happened there due to the topography and the peaceful environs.
CBR--What is your favorite town spot that visitors should not miss and why?
LS--Coster Avenue Mural. A beautiful memorial to the soldiers of various Union regiments of the 11th Corps who fought a brief but heavy fight in that spot before continuing their retreat of the 1st day. It is a seldom visited spot.
CBR--So what's next for you? Any projects you would like to share with readers?
LS--I am nearing completion on a joint project with Kevin Drake. We are co-authoring an as yet untitled, well researched and historically accurate historical fiction book. With an emphasis on the townspeople of 1863 of course!
CBR--Lisa, thanks so much for your time. I'm sure readers will have learned a lot and if they're like me will be looking forward to their next (or maybe first) trip to Gettysburg!