Chicago in the ’60s with Mike Kerr

Even though I have left Chicago’s winters behind for the desert, I will always love that city. There’s something about that town that has made it a focus of history, commerce, architecture and writing for almost 200 years. One of the most tumultuous and fascinating times was the late 60s. Issues of class, race, politics and crime threatened to make the place unliveable. Mike Kerr captures that feeling in his new novel, “The Legman.”

Mike, like me you just fled Chicago winters for the desert sun of Las Vegas. In fact, we just met in person at the Las Vegas Writers Conference. What’s your bio?

A biography is an accounting of one’s life. The accounting of my life can be summed up as follows: Life’s a hallway, not a ladder, something you go through, not something you climb up. Each part, potentially, as good as any other. I’m born, raised and educated in Chicago. One type of education was a bachelor’s in Medical Laboratory Sciences and a master’s in Gerontology. These gave me a good basis for understanding forensic science and population studies. Another was learning that, in the city, where politics is the fifth major sport and, when necessary, a blood sport, the mayor appoints the Police Commissioner and the political machine gets the judges elected. When you control the cops and the courts, you decide justice, unless and until, it’s too much. That’s where I write, Chicago stories on that true-to-life edge.  

Your work really feels like Chicago. What is “The Legman” about?

The Legman is historical fiction told in a mystery/thriller style. Chicago, 1969. Unprecedented gang violence. Crumbling of a once-mighty political machine. The mayor, desperate as neighborhoods fold and the ghetto extends, calls for an all-out war with “extreme measures”. The century-old neighborhood of Austin is caught in the cross-hairs of a dangerous scam that explodes into a national incident. The city wants to bury it. It’s too personal for a white Irish 4th-generation Chicagoan and journeyman reporter who teams with a black female artist and academic to find answers amid growing fears of a predator whose horrific past goes deep into the city’s dark history.    

When we lived there, we lived in the Western Suburbs along with a lot of the SouthSide diaspora, but for real Chicagoans, everything is personal. What is it about this story that resonated with you?

The milieu of the story is very real and very personal to me. I lived these times. More broadly, as I think all the born-and-raised believe, Chicago is a living breathing character.. It’s a family member. I’m intrigued by all of the family history, the famous, the infamous and that which came and went in a blaze of glory marked by great passions and danger. Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses is the promise of a big city, not small-town or rural America. The trouble is, someone is always already there. They don’t want to move over or give anything up. Those are epic battles that go to the heart of survival and just being human. 

What’s your favorite scene in the book?

The scene that I read over and over is one of family. Micky, the protagonist, devastated by an horrific incident, visits his parents. His six siblings all change their plans to be there with him. A powerful man, a combat trained and experienced man, he’s capable of great violence and he’s ready to kill. His pain erupts like he’s been gored. The father takes him in his arms, kissing him like he was still a little boy. The others rush in. It’s a military phalanx each protecting a piece of the other. The strength of this family, despite any and all flaws, goes the core of who this character is. 

Shameless plug time. Where can we learn more?

My Amazon author page

You can find me on Goodreads

And on Facebook

Mike is also part of a growing Las Vegas literary scene with Coffee House Tours.

We interrupt Mike’s interview for a shameless plug. Acre’s Orphans has won a much coveted “Discovered Diamond” award for historical fiction. You can read the review here, or just take my word for it and buy the book.

The US Civil War Through British Eyes- John Holt

If you’ve known me for any length of time, you know that one of my least favorite periods to read about is the American Civil War. (Or, as it will be known in the future, Civil War 1.0) The reasons are long and boring, and will annoy perfectly nice people, so I won’t go into them. I am always interested in the outsider’s view of any historical event, so when I found an Englishman with a fascination for the “war between the states,” I was willing to suck it up and learn more. John Holt’s latest book is “The Thackery Journal.”

What’s your deal, John?

I was born in Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire, during World War 2. Clearly the world had a lot to contend with at that time, so my coming offered some welcome relief. Whether I had a major influence, or it was pure coincidence, I shall never know, but the war ended shortly after my birth. I have always been a half glass full kind of person, and I’m quite positive in my approach to life. I was brought up on a diet of Rock ‘n’ roll, and only two TV channels. How did we ever manage I wonder? Programmes like Bilko, and Tony Hancock helped I guess, and probably accounts for my sense of humour. As a youngster I wanted to become a doctor, however there was problem, a major problem. I hated the sight of blood, so eventually I became a land surveyor, and spent 24 years working in local government. I then set up in private practice, carrying out property surveys, and preparing architectural drawings. I guess, like a lot of people I had always wanted to write. In fact for several years I used to write articles for a couple of blues magazines (sadly no longer in operation). But I wanted to write a novel. The opportunity came about in 2005, whilst on holiday in Austria. That was the catalyst that lead to “The Kammersee Affair” published in 2006. It is a story of the search for hidden nazi gold; a story of blackmail, murder and revenge. Over the following years eight more novels, and three novellas, were produced.

I get it. After years of writing articles, scripts and standup, I told myself I’d never be a “real” writer til I did a novel. Sounds like you’ve caught up. What’s The Thackery Journal about?

As the first sounds of gun fire echoed through the land, young men rushed to enlist, to fight for a cause that they believed was right. Shop assistants, bank clerks, farm labourers. All believing that the South would win. Right was on their side, and besides it would all be over by Christmas. 

Two life-long friends enlist on opposite sides of the conflict. Both believing that right was on their side, and both hoping that they would never meet each other on the battlefield. Their lives become inextricably entwined as the war nears its end culminating in the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. On the night of April 14th 1865 Lincoln attended a performance at The Ford Theatre, in Washington. A single shot fired by John Wilkes Booth hit the President in the back of the head. He slumped to the floor and died a few hours later without regaining consciousness. Was Booth a lone assassin? Or was he part of a much wider conspiracy? Was he part of something even more sinister? Was he part of a plot hatched by Lincoln’s own generals to replace Lincoln with General Ulysses S. Grant. A plot financed by stolen Confederate gold bullion.

What is it about the story or time period that intrigued you?

I have always been fascinated by the American Civil War. A Civil War is the worst kind of war that there could be. A war that divides the Country and splits communities: a war that puts brother against brother, and father against son.  A war that splits families; and makes enemies of long-time friends. A war where in reality there are no winners. Indeed, a war where there could be no real winners, and where everyone loses something. The effects would be felt long after the war ends.  Could reconciliation and forgiveness really take place? How long would the wounds, mentally and physically, take to heal? Could communities divided by war, be re-united by peace? Even now statues of Confederate Generals are being torn down because of what they are perceived to stand for.

But that in itself is hardly a reason for writing the book. If the truth be known, I never actually considered writing a Civil War novel at all. But sometimes, instead of the author being in command of what he, or she writes, it is the writing itself that takes charge. It will suddenly go in a totally unexpected direction, and you are forced to go with it to see where it leads.

Somewhere along the line I got side-tracked. During my research into “The Kammersee Affair” (a story of hidden gold bullion) I found an item on the internet about a consignment of Confederate gold that had gone missing as the Civil War was coming to an end. The gold had, apparently never been found. I thought perhaps I could make up some kind of a story. The gold had obviously been stolen by someone, and I got to thinking how that person would feel as his pursuers caught up with him. Very quickly I had the makings of a fairly well developed final chapter. That chapter is now the last chapter of “Thackery”, and largely unchanged from when it was first written. It was also obvious that the gold had been stolen for a reason. I wondered what that reason could have been. Then I had an idea.

What’s your favorite (or favourite, if you insist) part of the book?

That’s a difficult one, there are so many. But if I must choose one I think it would be the very last scene of the novel. Oddly enough, it is the one that was written first. Jason Thackery is a hunted man, wounded and alone. His pursuers have tracked him down and are closing in. Thackery is afraid and knows exactly the fate that awaits him. His thoughts turn to the past, to his mother, to his friend, who, even now, is waiting to take him prisoner. There is no escape, no way out. There is no one to save him.

Where can we learn more about you and your work?

Amazon.co.uk – https://www.amazon.co.uk/John-Holt/e/B003ERI7SI/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Amazon.com – https://www.amazon.com/John-Holt/e/B003ERI7SI/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/John-Holt-Author-553064201380567/

We interrupt John’s interview for a shameless plug. Acre’s Orphans has won a much coveted “Discovered Diamond” award for historical fiction. You can read the review here, or just take my word for it and buy the book.

Dream Review for Acre’s Bastard

I know that as a grown-ass man I shouldn’t care about reviews. In my stand-up days I learned that if you believe the good reviews, you also have to believe the bad ones. I recently got one, though, that means an awful lot. Mariah Feria published it in an online magazine that I enjoy (and has published some of my short stories) Storgy.com. Read the whole review here


Acre’s Bastard is certainly an accomplished piece of fiction. Turmel makes it clear that he is not done with this story, and especially not with the characters themselves. 

Mariah Feria, Storgy.com

Truthfully, I wouldn’t have dared write a review like this for myself. She enjoyed the parts of the book I enjoyed (the lepers! She liked the lepers!) and correctly pointed out the weaknesses (Mark Halpern I’m not. Description isn’t my strong suit, but I’m working on it.) Since I am neither related to her nor owe her money that I know of, I’m going to assume she means what she says and that makes me feel good.

The best part, is she told Twitter something that is the highest compliment my work can get: “I don’t usually read historical fiction but may need to reconsider.” Yeah, baby.

If you haven’t yet begun reading about Lucca’s adventures, may I suggest this is a good time to begin. Then don’t stop. Acre’s Orphans picks up the next day… why shouldn’t you?

A Russian Family Caught Up in Revolution- Julia Underwood

We all have the historical era we find fascinating, and one of mine is the Russian Revolution. I have no family connection, I’m not Russian, and there were more guns than swords, which usually counts me out. Still, I can’t get enough whether it’s writers from that time (I’ll fight anyone who won’t let me include Mikhail Sholokov on that list) or just people chronicling it from afar. Enter Julia Underwood and Red Winter…

What’s your story?

My father was an Army Intelligence Officer stationed abroad, so I was sent to a boarding school in the English countryside at seven years old. I was the one who was always in trouble for telling stories after lights out. Those epic tales of children in dire peril kept other girls awake and gave them nightmares, and I’ve been at it ever since, on and off.

Life got in the way, of course. As a teenager I wanted to save the world and be a doctor. Unfortunately, equal opportunity was still a distant dream and, although I had the qualifications, I didn’t get a place in a teaching hospital, the preference being for young men with sporting credentials. I ended up in medical research – not at all the glamour I’d envisaged. When I gave that up, I did many jobs, working in advertising, as a statistician, and in marketing and publishing. I also ran a restaurant – talked into this by a friend. Never again, I said, but I later ran a pub with my husband. I have lived in Germany, Austria, Jamaica and France.

 It wasn’t until my children had left home that I finally began to write full-time, joined a writing group and let fly with my imagination. I sold an article to The Lady very quickly, which gave me a false sense of competency, but I persisted. I have now published three full-length novels, three murder mystery novellas and many short stories. My latest novel is Red Winter, the story of a family caught up in the Russian revolution.

Now we’re talking. What’s Red Winter about?

An Englishman, Jonathan Cooke, is the third generation of Cookes to run the Russian arm of his family’s business from St Petersburg. Married to a Russian woman of aristocratic origins, they are wealthy and have five children. Their eldest daughter, Sophie, marries Anatoly Andropov (Tolya), an aspiring doctor. The story follows her and her family through the horrors of the First World War and on to the revolution and the brutality of the Cheka, the Bolshevik’s secret police. The family eventually flee to England with little more than what they stand up in, although Sophie remains in Russia with two small children, almost starving, not knowing if her husband is alive or dead.

What is it about that time period that fascinates you so much?

I was reading an autobiography by someone who recalled, in a short chapter, meeting a Russian émigré family who had lost everything in the revolution. I was struck by the horror of their plight at having to leave all they possessed in a country where misery and death had changed everything beyond recognition. I found the concept fascinating and, after a lot of research, I invented the Cooke family and set about writing their story with all its drama, sorrow and, ultimately, their happiness.

It was early 2016, just a year before the centenary of the revolution, so this seemed the perfect moment to write the story. It was published by my digital publisher – Endeavour Press – just in time, in October 2017.

Never underestimate the power of Serendipity. What’s your favorite scene in the book?

What is your favourite scene in the book?

This is a difficult one. There are so many scenes I am proud of, where the emotion of the action stirred me. Sophie’s marriage to Tolya; when her first baby is born in the field hospital at the Crimean Front; when the Cheka tear apart their home in St Petersburg; when Sophie faces the Bolsheviks in Moscow; when she arrives in London with her children after finally being allowed to leave Russia. I can’t say more without spoiling the story.

Where can people learn more about you and your books?

I have a Facebook Author Page here

You can find it on Amazon

and on Goodreads

Don’t forget to support the authors we showcase. Of course, you could give some love to my novels as well. Acre’s Orphans is available on Kindle and Paperback. And if you enjoy what you read, spread the word with a review on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Goodreads.

Live Event in Las Vegas- Join me and other writers for a YA author event at the Clark County Library May 16

I’ve met some very cool authors since coming to the desert. One of my fellow Sin City Writers has a new book coming out May 16. Cyberspiracy is about a 15 year old girl hacker who tries to save a presidential election. But there’s more.

Because Wolf O’Rourc is an inventive guy, he’s designed a very cool online search experience where teens can find the answers to questions about the various books on display (including Acre’s Bastard and Acre’s Orphans) to win prizes. To see what he’s up to, check out the Cyberspiracy Online Experience.

The live event is May 16th, 2:30-5:30 pm at the Clark County Library,

1401 E Flamingo Rd

Las Vegas, NV 89119

(702) 507 3400

Acre’s Orphans is a “Discovered Diamond” Award Winner

There aren’t a lot of indie-press awards for historical fiction that carry any cachet. One of the few is Helen Hollick’s “Discovering Diamonds” blog. I’m proud to announce that Acre’s Orphans has won the award.

Acre’s Orphans is an award winner


“These characters breathe life from every page and made me care about what happened to them. I highly recommend this book!”

Kristen McQuinn, Discovered Diamonds reviewer

My thanks to Helen Hollick and her team for supporting independent historical fiction. Blessings upon you all.

Count of the Sahara didn’t win one. Acre’s Bastard got a lovely review but missed the top designation, so a) I might actually be getting better at this book-writing thing, and b) If you haven’t yet read Lucca’s second adventure, what’s stopping you?

You can buy the award-winning (actually multiple award=winning now) Acre’s Orphans here.

A Young Woman and the Pony Express

With email and social media, it’s easy to forget just how hard it used to be to get information from one place to another. As the US expanded, it fell on live human beings and their horses to help get information where it needed to be. That leads us to Lizzi Tremayne and her tale of the Pony Express, “A Long Trail Rolling.”

Lizzie, you have quite a background. What’s your deal?

My writing has been called unpretentious, eminently readable Contemporary and Historical Fiction… by a horse vet!  It always gives me a giggle. I write awarded rural fiction about the Old West, Tsarist Russia, Scotland, and Colonial New Zealand, as well as veterinary fiction and non-fiction. I write these stories because they’re the sort I love to read.

I grew up riding wild in the Santa Cruz Mountain redwoods of California, graduated from UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in the Equine Track, practiced in the California gold mining country of Placerville, then emigrated to NZ a few years later. I’ve been here ever since and raised a family near Waihi. My partner is a techie in the big smoke and we live on a trout river in a beautiful green valley so I have no excuse NOT to write, when I’m not vetting or marketing my Equi-Still horse stocks and equine dental instruments. I’ve written for many horse magazines and veterinary journals over my 30 years in practice. When I’m not writing, I’m swinging a rapier or shooting a bow in medieval garb, riding, driving a carriage or playing on my hobby farm, singing, or looking into a horse, zebra or rhino’s mouth.

So, straight from the rhino’s mouth, what’s A Long Trail Rolling about?

Aleksandra flees through 1860s Utah disguised as a Pony Express rider, trying to keep her father’s killer from discovering their family secret. Xavier, runaway heir to a California rancho, usually keeps the world at arms-length, but it doesn’t take long to discover his new rider-recruit is a girl—one he wouldn’t mind letting get close. The cards are stacking up against them. Can they learn to trust in time to escape the Indians on the warpath, evade the killer, and win through to safety?

I can guess (what is it with girls and horses?) but what is it about this story that inspired you?

It was really the Pony Express, in the 1860s, which intrigued me, and I’ve always loved history. Just about any history, but especially history of the areas where I’ve been. I grew up in a California endurance and horses were my life. My biggest goal (other than getting into and out of veterinary school at UC Davis) was to ride across the whole USA. There was an opportunity to do it when I was ten, but financially, it was beyond my reach… and I wasn’t old enough to do it on my own. J I couldn’t understand the part about not being old enough, at the time, however, as it’d never held me back before. So, instead, I got hooked on the Pony Express, or the “Pony”, as it was called back in the day.

So, some forty-something years later, it wasn’t a huge surprise to me when my first novel had to be about the Pony. With a girl rider, no less—one I flattered myself by thinking was more than a little bit like the girl I was, or would have been in Aleksandra’s situation. There’s no historical precedent for a female Pony rider, but in light of the modern discoveries of women who fought as men during the American Civil War during the same time period, I took that license. It’s all in the Author’s Notes, as always when I vary from the historical record as I understand it. As a historian, that’s non-negotiable. Always.

Without giving away the goods, what’s your favorite scene in the book?

It would have to be the stable scene… the rough form of that scene was the first part I wrote… and that was before I even started “writing” or called myself a writer—that time long ago when “being a writer” was just a whisper in the dark. The snippet was written as homework before my very first RWNZ local branch meeting, where the topic was “writing sex scenes”. We were to write a 500 word sex scene…(blush) when all I’d done was write veterinary articles for horsey magazines and technical articles for vet journals. It was a stretch, but I managed it.  And I kinda liked it.  I liked it enough to begin a story from it after I got home. It was this, my first novel, A Long Trail Rolling, which won me the RWNZ Pacific Hearts Award and the following year, the RWNZ Koru Award of Excellence (New Zealand Romance Writer’s equivalent of the RWA’s Golden Heart and RITA Awards). It’s all been up from there!

You have a big social media presence. How can folks find you?

Lizzi’s website and blog

Lizzi’s VIP Club     

BookBub

Horse and Vet Books website

Facebook

Amazon author page

Apple Books (iTunes)

Barnes & Noble

Books + Main Bites

Instagram

Kobo

Pinterest

A quick note to please support the authors who appear in this blog. Buy a book and tell a friend. Of course, that also applies to my own work. The two-book Kindle set of Lucca Le Pou Stories is available on Amazon for $7.49

A Role Play Game Turned Historical Fantasy

Everyone’s writing journey is different. I started writing semi-off-color jokes to tell in front of brick walls, then tried my hand at screen plays (2 optioned. Suck it!) and wound up writing both non-fiction and novels. That’s one way to do it. But there is a whole industry out there (about which I know diddly) of role play games and other fantasy stuff.

That brings us to this week’s interview. Joab Stieglitz has turned his fascination with Lovecraftian horror from the 20s and 30s and a bump in his RPG career into a new novel series.

Joab, your story is different than a lot of us, and I confess I’m not familiar with half of what you’re talking about, so use small words and give me your story…

I grew up in suburban New Jersey, where I was the youngest of four children. My siblings were significantly older than me, and my mother was quite ill, so I spent a lot of time by myself. I was a pre-school drop out and was instead taught by Hogan’s Heroes, Star Trek, Bugs Bunny, and the 4:30 Movie. I started writing stories for myself when I was in fourth or fifth grade.

I have been active role-player and game master since middle school. I have played or run games in a variety of genres over the past forty years, and I made notes about those adventures as I went along, and I wrote short stories about some of them which unfortunately were lost to time in the pre-computer age.

I have always wanted to be a writer, though I didn’t realize it for quite some time. Over the course of my career, which has always been in Information Technology, I have gravitated toward writing tasks. I have written various forms of documentation, training materials, project plans, requirements, design documents, and even computer programs.

In the early nineties, I started writing a short story that I had intended to submit to a game publisher for their new setting, but by the time I had finished it, they had published their own description of the region had selected, which was incompatible with mine. So I retooled the story for another game setting, but this time, my choice of heroes was not allowed in their universe. So finally, I decided to create my own setting.

I devised an entire fantasy world that incorporated analogs of various Earth cultures, each identified by their own unique accents and mannerisms. I created maps and descriptions of various locations, with the intent of writing multiple stories there. I again retooled my short story, and this time, it morphed into a novel.

Over the course of the next twenty-five years, I would add onto that initial piece, a few pages or chapters at a time, “when the muse hit me.” When I turned fifty, I had over three hundred pages of materials, but the story had changed. The disparate pieces I had written over time varied in plot, tone, writing quality, and even the genre.

I considered rewriting it, but that was too daunting. Instead, I shelved that project, looked over the notes of various games I had played over the years, and started writing something new. I wrote a 1500-2000 word chapter each week, and have published four novels, roughly one every six months.

A lot of us have re-purposed old work but that’s pretty dramatic. What’s your book about?

My first book, The Old Man’s Request, is the story of three people assembled by the aging trustee of a small college to address an indiscretion from his own college days where he and some friends dabbled in the occult with tragic consequences.

My main character, Dr. Anna Rykov, is a Russian-American anthropologist in 1929 New York. This presents her with a number of challenges as a woman in a not fully recognized field who people think could be a Bolshevik. Anna is aided by Harold Lamb, a medical doctor from a sheltered upbringing, and Father Sean O’Malley, a Catholic priest with his own secrets.

These three agree to the trustee’s death bed request to deal with the horror that he and his friends had unleashed, and The Old Man’s Request tells what happened. Of course, they make discoveries that lead to subsequent adventures.

What is it about that time period that fascinates you?

I’ve always been a fan of cosmic horror, the notion that humanity is insignificant in the vast universe, and extra-terrestrial interaction with humanity is purely coincidental and insignificant from their perspective. The works of H.P. Lovecraft and his circle inspired me to write my own cosmic horror story, but unlike those works, I decided to write stories where the heroes can win to some degree. The cosmic horror genre appeared in the pulp magazines of the 1920s and 1930s, which was a time of tremendous cultural, political, economic and technological change. I have always been a cultural history buff, so this was the obvious setting in which to place my stories. The first three books take place in the summer of 1929, right before the stock market crash and the Great Depression, where people enjoyed life with reckless abandon.

Where can we learn more?

Information about me and my books can be found at www.joabstieglitz.com. I am also on Facebook at Rantings of a Wandering Mind, and on Twitter at @joabstieglitz.My works are all available in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook formats on Amazon.

Don’t forget to support the authors we showcase. Of course, you could give some love to my novels as well. Acre’s Orphans is available on Kindle and Paperback. And if you enjoy what you read, spread the word with a review on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Goodreads.

Acre’s Bastard is free on kindle until Saturday

Acre’s Bastard, the first of the Lucca Le Pou stories, is available FREE on Kindle until Saturday, April 20th. If you haven’t read it yet, or want to read the first in the series before devouring the sequel, here’s your chance.

Acre’s Bastard was short-listed for the 2017 Illinois Library Associations “Soon to be Famous” competition for independent authors.

Like all good crack dealers, I’m also using the “give the first taste away free and get them to buy the next one” scheme. Hopefully, it will lead folks to Acre’s Orphans and beyond.

This is also an experiment to see if these are, indeed, marketable as YA or NA (New Adult, because we can’t possibly have too many marketing genres to confuse readers). Chapter 2 is a tough read for some people since it involves an attempted sexual assault on a kid. There’s your warning.

If you’ve already read it, please share the information on Facebook, Twitter or however you converse with the rest of the planet.

You can get your FREE Kindle here until the offer expires

A Young Girl and Her Violin with Mary Hughes

Historical fiction often deals with big themes: war, politics, violence and upheaval. But no matter the time period, there were also individuals living fascinating lives out of the view of most. These little stories can be as interesting, involving and intriguing as anything else. Mary Hughes took the story of a young woman with a dream to learn music in pre-WW1 Germany and turned it into “Imaging Violet.”

Mary, what’s your story and how did you come to be a writer?

My name is Mary Hughes, and I live on a beautiful small island off the west coast of Canada. Salt Spring Island, population around 10,000, is an amazing place to grow live, with its healthy moderate climate, a strong culture of volunteerism and an extraordinary enthusiasm for the arts. There are 117 writers here and just as many potters and painters.

Saltspring is a truly amazing place, and not for nothing it’s the home of my friend Howard Busgang’s deli, Buzzy’s Luncheonette so if you’re jonesing for Montreal smoked meat…. but I digress. What’s Imagining Violet about?

Imagining Violet is the story of a 16 year old Anglo-Irish girl who goes, on her own, to study violin in Germany in 1891. The 1890s were a period of tremendous change, with new technologies (typewriters, bicycles, sewing machines) affecting what women could do with their lives. My MC, Violet, is based on my grandmother’s life; I wanted to explore what her student life in Germany might have been like.

To give the book intimacy, I chose to craft it as a book of letters, an old-fashioned epistolary novel. I knew I could do it when I found a Guide Book for Northern Germany for 1892  on-line, complete with railway schedules. One of my favourite scenes is in one of the early letters; young Violet’s journey by train from Edinburgh to Germany.

You really got into the research for this, didn’t you?

My research was extensive. At one point I decided to take violin lessons in order to be able to write plausibly on that subject. Then Violet’s actual violin came my way – truly – and today I play it in a local amateur string ensemble.

Where can we learn more?

Imagining Violet is available through Amazon or through my website: https://imaginingviolet.blogspot.com.  I am a Goodreads Author, and I am on Facebook.

Acre’s Orphans is out in the world! You can order Paperbacks on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Chapters. The e-book is Kindle only Please help me launch it successfully by buying now. And any time you read a book like Imaging Violet (or one of mine,) please leave an Amazon or Goodreads review. It’s like applause for  the author.