Writer, speaker, not a bad guy once you get to know him
Author: Wayne Turmel
Wayne Turmel is a writer, speaker and co-founder of The Remote Leadership Institute. Originally from Canada, he is in the process of moving from Chicago to Las Vegas with his wife, The Duchess. He tries to balance his fiction and non-fiction writing, and loves to hear from readers. His Amazon author page is at https://www.amazon.com/Wayne-Turmel/e/B00J5PGNWU/
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!
As the last few veterans of the Second World War disappear, along with the civilians who lived through those times, their stories are going with them. That time frame has been reduced to a few tropes we are all familiar with–Nazis, brave Brits hiding in the underground, American farm boys in the bloody South Pacific… all make for great drama. But it was a World War. It impacted people around the globe in ways large and small, and that brings us to an untold story from Australia, and the author GS (Greg, to be clear) Johnston and his novel Sweet Bitter Cane: An Italian-Australian World War II Saga
Let’s start with the easy stuff. What’s the GS Johnston story?
G’day from Australia. I’m kind of borderline shy/wild which is a great thing for a writer – going in opposite directions at once. I write because it sparks joy in me, to put it in current parlance. Whilst writing is hard work, the odd thing is that only the writing makes it better. At the moment I live in Australia’s capital city, Canberra. I was born and grew up in Tasmania, surrounded by Tasmanian Devils. Of all the things I learnt in Tasmania, there are three main things – I call them the three Ws. The importance of water, wilderness and words.
What’s “Sweet Bitter Cane” about?
Sweet Bitter Cane is the story of a young woman, Amelia, who in the aftermath of World War One immigrates from Italy to Australia, by marrying by proxy an Italian man she’s never met, Italo. He’s a sugarcane farmer, in the remote regions of Far North Queensland. When she arrives in Australia, she finds Italo not to be the man she’d imagined from his photo – he’s older and highly distracted by running his cane farm. But she finds herself attracted to a young shell-shocked WWI veteran, Fergus, who is Irish-Australian. As the story of these three people plays out, fascism’s rhetoric rises amongst the Italian population. The unions of the British-Australian farmers, envious of the Italian’s success, had blocked the Italian workers from working. When Italy entered WWII, the Italians in Australia were indiscriminately classified as Enemy Aliens. The men were immediately interned into concentration camps. But it was soon apparent that what was driving the internments was not fascism, per se, but old grudges.
My high school was built on land confiscated from Japanese Canadians who were interned, so this happened all over, with different targets in each country. What is it about this story that appealed to you?
I like to find untold stories and the fact that this untold story involved a woman was a bonus. As I started the research, it was evident that the stories of migrant women who had worked on the sugarcane fields had not really been written. The story had a very long gestation. I first read of the internment of Italians in 1989. Over the years I’ve heard small bits about this, but it wasn’t until a few years back that my neighbour told me the story of her parents who had been cane farmers and were both interned. She had a folder of documents which really gave me a heads up with the research. And also having access to her memories made the writing a lot easier.
Tease us a bit. What’s your favorite scene in the book?
There are many, but one of my favourites is inspired by a fortunate piece of research. I was tracing the journey my character Amelia would have taken on the ship from Naples to Brisbane. In a fortunate break, I found a film an Italian man had made in 1925 of the same route to Australia. So whilst it was a couple of years later than mine, it was the same journey – fantastic to see so much of the past. But when they were leaving the Bay of Naples, there was a shot from the boat looking back at the land. Vesuvius had this long dark plume of smoke trailing high into the sky. It seemed such a perfect image for Amelia to have as her last glimpse of Italy in 1920 – Was Italy snuffed out by WWI, the smoke the only residual of its fire, or was Italy about to ignite again and explode?
Not to barge in on Greg’s interview, but Acre’s Orphans officially launched January 28th! 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 Sweet Bitter Cane (or one of mine,) please leave an Amazon or Goodreads review. It’s like applause for the author.
I’m an old, old man, living in London yet still somehow able to drag myself out of the house to street-skate and dance tango. I write stories set in the wars against France in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, which you’d think I could remember, but I can’t quite. I have to read up the details in books.
I’ve written about the mid-19th century too. One story, set in London in 1859, describes an area that my grandfather patrolled as a policeman only a few decades later. (I told you I was old.) All of my stories are set in different countries, which has given me the opportunity to travel to Borneo, Egypt, Belgium, Argentina and Spain and call it work. I have set one story in India, but I have yet to get there. One day, I hope.
Burke in the Land of Silver is the first of the stories I’ve written about James Burke, a spy in the time of Napoleon. He was a real person and the first story is quite closely based on truth. It’s set around the British invasion of Buenos Aires in 1806. I love Buenos Aires, so I was really happy to set a story there.
I’d written a book set in Borneo in the 1850s (The White Rajah) and publishers had told me that it was “too difficult” as a first novel so I was looking for something more mainstream. I kept bothering friends to suggest interesting historical figures and an Alaskan woman I’d met dancing in Argentina (as you do) suggested that I look at Europeans who had been involved with the wars of independence and the opening up of South America to European colonisation. I came across references to James Burke and the more I found out about him, the more I thought he was an ideal hero. Dashing, clever, brave, apparently irresistible to women (he had affairs with a queen and a princess amongst others) and someone who seems to have had a very successful career as a spy, he was almost impossible not to write about.
SOLD! I’m a sucker for real-life people with exciting lives. It’s like when I discovered Byron de Prorok and it became The Count of the Sahara. What’s your favorite scene of derring-do?
There’s an episode where Burke crosses the Andes. He left it rather late in the year and nearly died in the snow up there. I’ve read a lot about it but I couldn’t imagine what it would have been like, so I went to the Andes rather too early in the year when there was still snow around and took a horse up to something over 3000 metres. I have never been so cold, but it was a staggering experience and I hope I caught some of it in the book. The Andes really are beautiful.
Where can folks learn more about the Burke stories, the White Rajah and more?
Not to barge in on Tom’s interview, but Acre’s Orphans is out now. 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 The Burke serie (or one of mine,) please leave an Amazon or Goodreads review. It’s like applause for the author.
Few periods in history or topics for discussion make people as uncomfortable as Apartheid in South Africa. A new story from English/South African/Swiss/Kinda Canadian author Susan Wuthrich tackles it head on.
Full disclosure, my family was almost part of post-colonial African history. My father got it in his head to homestead in a very apartheid-like Rhodesia in the mid-sixties, (a combination of itchy feet and a need to improve his luck) just before all hell broke loose. We were refused our visas at the last minute (probably by someone who saw the writing on the wall and saved us from ourselves) and we stayed in Canada. Needless to say, I was intrigued by Susan’s story.
So, what’s your deal?
began life in Toronto, Canada. My mother had married a Canadian and left
England as a war bride in 1947. When the marriage failed, we returned to
the UK where my mother remarried.
forward to1966. I was 18 when my then boyfriend and I decided to emigrate. We
could have gone anywhere, Canada, Australia or NZ, but we were broke and
decided on South Africa as it was the cheapest fare. I lived there raising a
family for the next 25 years.
Many people have asked, how I could have stayed in that country during such tumultuous times. The answer is simple; although Apartheid is an ugly concept, and I’m not making excuses, it was in fact just another era and racial discrimination was rife throughout the world, (and I think still is to a certain extent), the USA included. These days I am retired and live in a quaint Swiss village with my second husband.
What’s the novel about?
Initially, Portrait of Stella is set in England and tells the story of Stella’s daughter, Jemima, who finds out everything she thought she knew about herself was a lie. She is denied a passport on the grounds her birth certificate is false and there are no records of her existence. Through clues pertaining to the past, Jemima traces her late mother’s footsteps across the globe in search of her real identity.
What is it about that time period that intrigued you?
After much research, and through my mother I gained first-hand knowledge of life in the armed services in WW2. My own experiences of life during the Apartheid regime in South Africa,1960’s-1990’s gave me the impetus to write the story. I have combined the two eras to bring an unusual family/saga mystery to fruition. Although my book is a work of fiction, I have endeavoured to show what life was like for white non-racists living in South Africa during those years.
What’s your favorite (or favourite) scene in the book?
There are a few twists in the tale, but my favourite is when Jemima, who had always believed she was an only child, comes face to face with a sibling she had no idea existed. There is also a scandalous mystery surrounding her father.
Of course there was. How can we learn more about your work?
There is kind of a cottage industry around tales of England during the Second World War. By now we know what to expect–plucky heroines awaiting their men while ducking under furniture as Nazi bombs fall. But Jane Gill has a different kind of tale–of an Anglo-Indian woman who arrives in England just in time for the war to start. “Dance with Fireflies,” is the result.
Jane, tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born in the UK to an Anglo-Indian mother and a linguist father who specialised in Russian. Every weekend of my childhood, between Easter to September was spent camping. My siblings and I were left to our own devices to dam streams, collect wood for bonfires and climb trees. The long summer holidays were spent roaming around Europe in our tank-like 1960’s Wolesley, tent in the trunk, ready to pitch up. In my early adult life I became a graphic designer. It was the days of typeset print and spray mount. I loved the world of design and became an Art Director in an Advertising agency. Art Directors were teamed up with copywriters; they did the words, I did the pictures. Never in a million years did I expect to become a writer, I had always been so visual!
So, what’s Dances with Fireflies about?
My debut novel,Dance with Fireflies is based on my Anglo-Indian grandmother. In those days (1930-40’s) letter writing was prevalent. She kept thousands of letters, chits and diaries in a large wooden trunk (which is allegedly cursed…but that’s a whole new story). It’s remarkable that over a span of many decades and continents the ephemera has survived. I took this rich resource and read every letter, every scrap of paper. Some of it was neatly typed but mostly handwritten. It took me two years. Having mapped out the outline of all the nitty gritty information I had gleaned, I sat down and finally put pen to paper. The book starts with her six-week voyage from Bombay to England in 1939. Phyllis had sacrificed her life of privilege in the British Raj in India to live with her new husband’s family in England. She was not the English rose they had hoped for their British Army son and they found it hard to tolerate this high-spirited, solar topee wearing ‘foreigner’.
WW2 adds to Phyllis’s struggle for harmony in a land far from home. She misses the vibrant life of Benares and longs for spice in the bland food and music in her daily life now filled with chores set by her in-laws. As nightly air raids plunge their Devon home into darkness, Phyllis battles to keep her marriage from being sabotaged and her young daughter taken by her manipulative sister-in-law.
Obviously the family connection resonated. What else about that period really intrigued you?
Being born in the sixties, WW2 was only one generation away from me. My father would tell me how they would hide under the stairs when the bombs fell on Nottingham, his parents were terrified but as a boy he found it exciting. My mother would tell me more exotic stories of her days in a boarding school in the Himalayas and living in Karachi at the time of partition (1947). It seemed like the most interesting period to write about…there was so much going on and so much to tell.
With something so personal this is a tough one, but what’s your favorite (or favourite) scene?
One of my favourite scenes in the book is when Phyllis arrives in England and is invited into her mother-in-laws house. It is a small red-brick terrace in Colchester. There is wallpaper on the walls and antimacassars on the chair arms. Phyllis sits in silence on the horsehair sofa and looks about in wonder. The house felt pokey and dark in comparison to the colonial bungalow she had been used to. The pretty English wallpaper would have been devoured by the ants in India. She looked around for a mora (stool) to put her feet on (she needed to raise her feet off the floor in case scorpions, spiders or snakes were lurking). Her new mother-in-law couldn’t fathom out why Phyllis was sitting with her feet hovering in midair! Everything was so new to Phyllis it was a great chapter to write.
What’s next, and where can we learn more about your work?
I have recently
completed the sequel to Dance with Fireflies and hope to publish it soon. It is
set in India at the time of partition. The dual narrative twists and turns from
Bombay to Karachi. The suspense builds as the protagonist is destined to meet a
crucial character in the story. I can’t
give too much away!
There’s a second reason I’m excited, and it is that this story nearly didn’t see the light of day at all.
Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while might recognize the title. It was originally submitted–and accepted– as my last contribution to the annual anthology of the Naperville Writers Group. I even put it up on my website but eventually pulled it off because, through a bizarre combination of things, it never got published. The editor literally forgot to add it to the final version of the book. (At least that’s the story I choose to believe.)
This turned out to be something of a blessing. While I was disappointed, I could now submit what I thought was a pretty darned good story and find a larger audience.
So, what was I trying to do with this one? A couple of things. For one thing, I notice that the market for horror fiction is much bigger than for the smaller, historical pieces in which I usually indulge (although if you read it you’ll see I did a little of both. Old habits dying hard and all.) I am, after all, trying to find an audience and perhaps a stray buck or two.
The second reason is that the new novel I’m working on is NOT a Lucca book, but a strange little contemporary thing that has horror/action elements in it. Before I invest the next 6 months or so of my life in such an effort, I wanted to see if I could pull it off. I guess you’ll tell me (and I hope that you do. Tell a brother, would ya?) Not only that, but the McGuffin in this story, as well as Lemuel in The Clairtangentist, are part of the new work. It’s like I’m creating my own private Marvel Universe.