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.
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.
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.
The early history of white settlers in North America was violent and tempestuous. We often think of it as a straight line from Eric the Red to the Founding Fathers but it wasn’t nearly that simple. One of the most violent periods were the French and Indian Wars. Jean Roberts tells the story of her family during that time in Blood in the Valley.
The Jean M Roberts story. Go…
Thank you for this opportunity to
tell you and your readers a little something about myself and my book, Blood in the Valley. I am proud to say I
am the author of two works of historical fiction, but it was a convoluted road
that led me to writing. I’ve always loved history, in fact I wanted to be a
history major but was talked into getting a degree in nursing instead. So, for
a long time, I was a nurse who loved to read history books. I joined the United
States Air Force soon after graduating from college and was stationed in England
for many years. I married an Air Force pilot and we spent 20 odd years
traveling around the world, and visiting my favorite historical places in
Europe. When my husband retired from active duty, we returned to my hometown in
Texas. I currently work as a nurse for a non-profit. I have one son, who is
serving in the U.S. Army. I’m sorry I have no pets.
About ten years ago I got sucked into genealogy, a highly addictive pastime, and thought I might want to become a professional genealogist. But I realized what fascinated about my ancestors were not names and dates but their stories. Who were they, how did they live, what were their life experiences? I got this crazy notion that I could combine my love of history and genealogy into an actual book. I had no idea how to write a book, but I’d read so many, I felt certain something besides ink must have rubbed off all those pages I’d turned. And so it seems it had.
I’ve been doing some research into my family as well. I know how addictive that can be. What’s Blood in the Valley about?
Blood in the Valley is the story of my ancestor Catherine Wasson
Clyde. She was born in New Hampshire in 1737 but moved to the Mohawk Valley of
New York in 1753. Her family settled in Schenectady just before the onset of
the last of the French and Indian Wars. (Picture Last of the Mohicans.) The book follows Catherine’s life through
the American Revolution and resumption of peace in 1783. Catherine’s husband,
Colonel Samuel Clyde, participated in some of the most brutal fighting during
the war. Together they and their family struggled to survive as their world devolved
into a state of chaos and guerrilla warfare.
I think most Americans do not realize how the war affected the lives of ordinary civilians and other noncombatants. The Mohawk Valley was decimated by the war. Raiders swept down from Canada and laid waste to the settlements; killing women, children and the elderly. Many were taken as captives back to Canada, never to be seen again.
Is it safe to assume that your family inspired the book?
The Colonial period of American
history is of particular interest to me. My first book is set in the 1650s when
the fledgling colonist still saw themselves as Englishmen. By the time of the
revolution, the colonists, or at least many of them, had transitioned into
Americans with only nominal ties to England. I love the idealism and drive of
the period. Daily life remained fairly primitive, at least by our standards,
but the thoughts and ideas that spurred on the war were progressive and fearless.
The main character in this book is a woman and the story of the war is told through her eyes. Her husband was gone for months at a time, either fighting or as a state representative in the New York Assembly. The running of the farm fell squarely on her shoulders, and she had nine children to boot. She was an exceptionally strong woman.
What’s your favorite scene in the book?
My favorite scene in the book is an intimate moment between Catherine and her husband as he prepares to go to war. The Canajoharie District militia was scrambling to confront British Lt. Col. Barry St. Leger and his army. If they could not stop him, St. Leger would march straight through New York and cut the colonies in half. Samuel gives Catherine his will and tries to talk to her about what she should do if he does not return or the Americans lose the battle. As the wife of an Air Force fighter pilot, I think I was able to put a little bit of myself into that scene. Anyway, it makes me cry when I read it.
How can folks learn more about you and your work?
By now, you’re all dying to get your hands on a copy of the book and can’t wait for this interview to end. Blood in the Valley is for sale on Amazon in both e-book and paperback format. If you have Kindle Unlimited it’s yours for free. My blog, The Family Connection, has several articles about the book, events that took place during the time period and bios of many of the main characters. It can be found at . You can follow me and my pithy comments on Twitter at @jroberts1324, on Instagram @jeanie1701 where you may be forced to view my brother’s photos of birds. I have an author page on Goodreads as well, it can be found at:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17599776.Jean_M_Roberts.
I hope that some of ya’llwill check out my book(s) give it a read and leave me some kind words in a review on Amazon or Goodreads. Remember good reviews are the life blood of Indie Authors! Thank you again Wayne for letting me ramble on about my book.
De nada. But now I get to put in a shameless plug for mine.
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 Blood in the Valley (or one of mine,) please leave an Amazon or Goodreads review. It’s like applause for the author.
Just when you wonder if your book is being read, or if people actually enjoy it you get news like this. Pauline Barclay (blessings on her home and camels) and her website Chill With a Book have given my latest baby not one but TWO awards.
Her readers and reviewers have given us the reader award, but I also got her personal stamp of approval. Here’s what they had to say:
The storyline was packed with action and emotion. Well written with characters that brought the terrible events poignantly to life. There were times when the story had me feeling deeply sad at the turn of events. I look forward to the next book.
Chill with a Book Awards
They blessed Acre’s Bastard the same way two years ago, so it’s good to know their standards haven’t dropped!