At the time and places where my novels are set, religion was a very important part of people’s private lives – perhaps even more so than it is today.
Some of the Founders were, famously, unconventional in their approach to faith, but for the most part, my characters’ relationship with God or the divine powerfully influenced how they saw the world and dealt with the events that unfolded around them.
This makes writing these aspects of their personae a substantial challenge for me, as a modern-day agnostic.
On the one hand, I can approach each of my characters’ inner beliefs with a more-or-less unjaundiced eye, as I do not find any of the common faiths of the that time to be more or less “right” than the others.
On the other hand, I have to really work at adequately illustrating how the nuances of the Quaker belief are drawn from the Bible, or how Calvinist thought would have animated the thoughts of a man struggling to recover from a crushing personal loss.
For a person of no particular religious belief, I spend an inordinate amount of time when I’m writing studying Biblical passages and consulting with friends whose innate sense of faith can lend me insights. It’s an interesting problem for me as a writer, and one that I enjoy tackling.