Acre’s Orphans is Done. When Will it See Daylight?

At 7:58 last night I typed the last words of the final rewrite on Acre’s Orphans. The sucker’s done. Now it’s off to proofing, design and whatever. Here’s proof:

Thanks to everyone who helped get it this far. Of course, now there’s proofing, layout, cover design and the rest of the stuff that goes with birthing a book. I am going to be asking you, my readers, for help on this. Your feedback will be most helpful. Help a brother out, will ya?

At this point, I”m not sure of the launch date. With the move to Las Vegas coming up and then Christmas, it will likely be January of 2019–two years after Acre’s Bastard, which is a helluva long time between installments. Hopefully the third (and final, I swear) Lucca story won’t take so long coming into the world.

So, as is traditional with every finished draft of a book, or sale of a short story, it’s time for this:

AT long last, it’s time to celebrate the completion of a final draft. Acre’s Orphan is a’birthing.

If you’re interested in getting one of the first copies, or getting on the list for an advanced copy for reviews (and if you know anyone who reviews books I’d like to do a better job of getting the word out in advance,) please sign up for my newsletter by clicking the link on the right side menu or the Contact Me button. No spam, but you’ll get a heads up on free offers and when the book is ready for the light of day.

My undying gratitude to all of you.

WWT

 

Time Jumping Through History with Doug Molitor

Okay, I know that the term “historical fantasy” gets a lot of people bent out of shape. They like the pure, detail-rich very serious stories, and so do I, most of the time. I also enjoy using history as a jumping-off point for silliness and fantasy.  I look on such things as what I call “Jellybean books.” They’re not meant to be taken seriously, and yet you can still learn things and get intrigued enough to read more. Or just enjoy yourself for a bit. Not everything you eat has to be good for you. If Naomi Novik can write dragons into the Napoleonic wars iand become a gateway drug for more serious fare, God love her. Besides, it’s my blog, bite me. I’ll interview who I want.

Which leads us to Doug Molitor and his series of funny, time-traveling adventures. The latest is  Memoirs of a Time Traveler the first in a series.

Okay, get on with it. What’s the Doug Molitor story?

Humorist and TV writer Doug Molitor is the author of Memoirs of a Time Traveler.

I am a TV comedy writer and novelist whose books include the Time Amazon series: Memoirs of a Time Traveler, Confessions of a Time Traveler and Revelations of a Time Traveler; and two Full Moon Fever novels, Monster, He Wrote and Pure Silver. I wrote TV comedies like Sledge Hammer!, You Can’t Take It With You and Police Academy, sci-fi/fantasy/adventure series like Sliders, Mission: Genesis, Adventure Inc., Young Hercules, F/X, and the western spoof Lucky Luke. In animation, I co-wrote the feature SpacePOP, and was the writer of 200 episodes of such series as X-Men, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventures, Sinbad, The Future Is Wild, Captain Planet, The Wizard of Oz, Happily Ever After, 1001 Nights, Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego? and Sabrina.

You wrote Sledge Hammer!  I’m now fanboying. In a nutshell, what’s the book and series about?

In a nutshell – and my critics would say that’s just where it belongs – Memoirs of a Time Traveler is about Ariyl, an Amazonian tourist from 2109 A.D. who drags David, an archaeologist of today, on a chase through time to stop a psychopath who’s rewriting history. Romantic comedy meets sci-fi with sword-swinging adventure.

Jellybeans of the first order! What is it about the time periods you write about that intrigue you?

The first era my travelers visit is Thera, the home island of the vanished Minoan Empire ca. 1600 B.C., which according to many historians (including my hero) was the source of the Atlantis legend. Since childhood, I’ve been fascinated by the fate of Thera; today’s sun-kissed Greek isle of Santorini is all that is left after a huge volcanic island exploded then collapsed beneath quarter-mile-high tsunamis.  The two sequels visit equally exotic and turbulent ancient times: the Mongol siege of Baghdad in 1258, and Rome under the monster Caesar, Commodus. There are also chapters set in America during the Revolution and just after the Civil War. But all three books come to a climax at pivotal events in Golden age Hollywood, between 1933 and 1954. Somehow, the birth of mass media is a nexus in time that repeatedly draws my antagonist into conflict with my hero and heroine.

What’s your favorite scene in “Memoirs”?

My favorite scene in Memoirs takes place in 1945, when my time-traveling odd couple find themselves at The Players, a storied Hollywood nightclub. Here they hook up with Orson Welles, and a trio of the town’s top leading men na

med Duke, Dutch and Jimmy. David and Ariyl are trying to keep history from being disastrously derailed by the murder of one of these beloved stars. When I first wrote the book ten years ago, I asked comedy legend Larry Gelbart (M*A*S*H, Tootsie, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum) to vet these chapters, since he’d actually begun his writing career in 1945 Los Angeles. Instead, bless him, Larry asked to read the whole book, and gave me the blurb I proudly put on my cover: “You couldn’t ask for a finer guide to the future – or the past – than Doug Molitor.”

I’d take that one too. Not for nothing but my wife has a quite unnatural and incurable crush on Orson Welles. Where can we learn more about you and your books?

By the way, for a few more days Memoirs of a Time Traveler is going to be FREE on Amazon. Click this link to get your FREE copy while you still can.

To contact me:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DougMolitorAuthor/

Author page: amazon.com/author/dougmolitor

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/DougMolitor

Webpage: dougsdozen.com/MemoirsofaTimeTraveler

The book on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Memoirs-Time-Traveler-Amazon-Book-ebook/dp/B078L82R4N/?tag-dougmolitor-20

Thanks for putting me on your page!

Subscribe to my newsletter and get a chance to win a signed paperback copy of Acre’s Bastard.  Each month you’ll receive links to interviews with great authors, news about upcoming events and previews of my work in progress, Acre’s Orphans. Look at the bottom left of the page for the sign-up sheet. No spam, just once a month updates and a chance to learn about great new Historical Fiction of all types from around the world.

 

 

My Short Story “The Clairtangentist” is on Storgy

I’m thrilled that one of my favorite story sites, Storgy.com,  has published one of my short stories. “The Clairtangetist” is something completely different for me. It’s a light, maybe even romantic, urban fantasy, and one of many stories to come set in Las Vegas.

Read the story on Storgy’s site here.

Storgy.com is a great place for eclectic short stories, essays and just cool stuff to read while you’re surfing the web.

And just a question, why is it that editors in the UK and Ireland (The Book Folks, Dodging the Rain, Storgy) like my stuff better than US publishers? Is it my colonial roots? Just asking.

If you’d like to read some more of my short stories, you can check the Short Stories and Other Pieces page here on my blog

Hearing One of Your Stories Read Aloud is a Treat. Check This Out.

Like most authors, I write my stories to be read, usually silently and to oneself. But hearing someone else read your work is kind of fun. Enter Taylor Woodland and her podcast, Not Ready for Rhyme Time. In Episode 6, she reads one of my early short stories, “On the End of Magick.”

It’s a long episode, so you may want to skip to my story at 43:05 of the recording, but don’t forget to take a listen to the other stories and poems she showcases. She puts out one a week. If you are an author and want her to read your work, drop her a line on Twitter @TaylorWoodland5 or email rhymetimesubmissions@gmail.com.

This is a fantasy story, done in the style of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. It’s not fan fiction, exactly, but there’s a not very subtle reference to that book in the tale.

If you enjoy audiobooks, this podcast is a good way to hear poetry and fiction you wouldn’t otherwise be able to enjoy while running on the treadmill or battling traffic.

This was one of the first short stories I wrote once I got back into fiction, and it appeared in Rivulets 28, the 2016 anthology by the Naperville Writers Group. You can read the story for yourself here,  and more of my short stories on my website.

If you’re new to the blog and my work, please visit my Amazon author page and check out my novels, The Count of the Sahara and Acre’s Bastard. The sequel, Acre’s Orphans is coming soon.

The KKK in Maine with Mark Alan Leslie

One of my favorite things about historical fiction is that it exposes us to subjects that we didn’t know, or think we cared, about. For example, I didn’t know that French Canadians were the subject of hatred by the Klu Klux Klan in the early 20th Century. That’s where this week’s interview comes in. Mark Alan Leslie is the author of The Crossing. 

Okay, so let’s start with the obvious. What’s your deal, Mark?

After 25 years writing golf magazine pieces for Sports Illustrated, Links, GOLF, Golf Course News and others — and winning a half dozen national writing awards along the way — I turned my time to something else I enjoy: history. Since then I’ve written three historical novels and three contemporary thrillers. The historical works are The Crossing about the Ku Klux Klan in Maine in the 1920s, True North: Tice’s Story about the Underground Railroad, and Midnight Rider for the Morning Star about America’s first circuit-riding preacher, Francis Asbury. Each book is loaded with action and adventure — and historical facts many of us have never heard or read about.

What’s your latest book, The Crossing about?

“As Maine goes, so goes the nation” was a motto of the early 1900s and the Ku Klux Klan determined that if it could grab a foothold in the bellwether northeasternmost state, it could succeed anywhere. So it sent its most charismatic recruiter to draw the crowds. He succeeded… for a while. One of his successes in this work of fiction is Cooper’s Crossing, a very close-knit town — close, that is until the Klan arrives.

The Crossing takes us into the dangers and intrigues of this scenario. The charismatic KKK leader is pit against a magnetic pastor, and townsmen against townsmen, culminating in a battle of brawn, and the spirit, when a French-Canadian crew of lumberjacks arrives.

Because when you think rollicking action, Canadian lumberjacks is what comes to mind. I’m kidding, but as someone with French-Canadian roots, I am a bit surprised.  After all, aside from Toronto hockey fans and Alberta oil workers, who doesn’t like French Canadians? What is it about this period in history that caught your attention?

Maine students have never been taught about this time when the KKK helped elect a governor as well as several mayors of prominent cities, the President of the Maine Senate and many others.

The whole idea intrigued me: How could a racist group thrive in a state with only a handful of black people? Well, they found others to hate, focusing on Jews and Catholic immigrants from Ireland, Poland and Canada who were “taking our jobs and with allegiance to a Pope a world away instead of our own government.”

It sounds trite to say, “haters gonna hate,” but history shows if you’re looking for a scapegoat, you’ll usually find one, even if you have to make it up. Without giving away spoilers, what’s your favorite scene in the book?

My favorite character, lumberjack Jigger Jacques, and his crew arrive in townThe Crossing: A Historical Novel by [Leslie, Mark Alan] and are ambushed by Klansmen on horseback at the same time the town’s pastors are meeting nearby with embattled townspeople about the Klan. The dichotomy is powerful: brutal physical fighting at the mill versus peacemaking at the church.

If people want to learn more about this book, or any of your work, where can they go?

People can find my books at:

Amazon.com

ElkLakePublishing.com

Kindle.com

And fine bookstores

They can reach me at:

E-mail: gripfast@roadrunner.com

Web: www.markalanleslie.com

Blog: https:/thrillofthequillblog.wordpress.com/

Subscribe to my newsletter and get a chance to win a signed paperback copy of Acre’s Bastard.  Each month you’ll receive links to interviews with great authors, news about upcoming events and previews of my work in progress, Acre’s Orphans. Look at the bottom left of the page for the sign-up sheet. No spam, just once a month updates and a chance to learn about great new Historical Fiction of all types from around the world.

Long-Distance Leader is One of the Top Business Books of the Year!

The Long-Distance Leader: Rules for Remarkable Remote Leadership is out in the world, and it appears people really like it.

Last month, it was a Hudson News best-seller (so if you see it in an airport bookstore, snap a pic and send it to me on Twitter @Wturmel or @LeadingRemotely. So far 5 airports heard from…

Then Top Sales World named the book one of the Top 50 Sales Books of 2018. That’s quite an honor.

We’re rock stars in the Atlanta Airport apparently.

Kevin and I have also been on a number of podcasts and interviews about the book. Check my Twitter and Facebook feeds if you’d like to check them out.

Thanks to Berrett-Koehler Publishers for their support.

If you enjoy it, don’t tell me, tell Amazon.

Bram Stoker, Dracula and Victorian Dread

Before Anne Rice and Stephanie Meyer ruined vampires for everyone, I was a big Dracula fan. As a writer, I loved the backstories of how tales like Frankenstein and Dracula came to be written. So when I heard about Calvin Cherry’s new novel, Stoker, about, duh, Bram Stoker I was in.

So what’s the Calvin Cherry story?

I am a 48-year-old native Georgian and a retired sailor.  I work as a Business Systems Analyst for a major insurance company in Atlanta and have a 15-year-old son named Jacob.  He is already 7 inches taller than me and six sizes up from my shoe size!  My spouse, Kevin, is from Tennessee and shares my passion for music, traveling, reading and writing.  I have seen Elton John 27 times in my life and about to make it 28 in November.  English and History were my favorite subjects in school, so I guess it did not come as a surprise that one Christmas Santa left me four graphic novels under my tree when I turned 7:  Moby Dick by Herman Melville, Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, Frankenstein by Mary Shelly, and Dracula by Bram Stoker.  I have been taking a bite out of Dracula ever since!  After 11 years of intense research and crafting, my debut historical fiction novel Stoker: Evolution of a Vampire was published by Page Publishing this past February.

What’s the basic plot of Stoker?

My novel can be considered a prequel to Dracula.  It is mainly set in Victorian London and Romania in the late 1800s, during the time period Bram wrote Dracula.  There are also flashbacks to Bram’s youth and when Vlad Dracula III reigned Wallachia.  Bram is the central character in my novel, along with supporting roles by Bram’s wife, Florence, Bram’s son, Noel, and Bram’s employer, Sir Henry Irving.

Many of the events in my novel are factual as I used Bram’s own diaries, reference materials and notes on Dracula as material woven into my plot.  It is written in Bram’s own writing style, which is vastly different from my own and was a great challenge for me.  I listened to nonstop audio books written in this time period the entire 11 years I worked on my novel as I wanted the style and language to be as authentic to the period as possible.  Though my book is classified as historical fiction, there are elements of gothic horror, mystery, crime and suspense that yields a 576 page thriller.

I have a thing for Victorian England, but what’s your excuse? What is it about the time or subject you found so interesting?

Victorian England has been the time period for numerous fantastic and morbid STOKER by [Cherry, Calvin]fictional and historical tales from Sherlock Holmes to Jack the Ripper.  My fascination with this period began with reading Dracula as a child and then carried over into adult hood with favorites Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde, and Lewis Carroll.  Though I have been quoted as saying countless times that Dracula is the most frightening phycological tale ever written, around 2004 I began reading everything I could on Bram Stoker.  Until then, there had been few biographies written about Bram – a fact in itself which I found interesting.  Today, there are close to a dozen.  With each additional book I read,  it was astonishing and fascinating to discover his life was worthy of a novel.    And in 2006 I outlined my book, incorporating many situations, milestones and  events in his life.

Without giving away spoilers, what’s your favorite scene in the book. (Don’t deny it, we all have one)

I believe my favorite scene in Stoker is about two-thirds into the plot when Bram is finally on a train back home.  His watch had stopped shortly after he began his journey abroad, so he asks someone for the time.  The answer he gets back is more than what he expected!

Where can we learn more about your book?

My novel can be found at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million.  Here is a link to my Page Publishing page which contains links to all the national retailers that are carrying Stoker:

Subscribe to my newsletter and get a chance to win a signed paperback copy of Acre’s Bastard.  Each month you’ll receive links to interviews with great authors, news about upcoming events and previews of my work in progress, Acre’s Orphans. Look at the bottom left of the page for the sign-up sheet. No spam, just once a month updates and a chance to learn about great new Historical Fiction of all types from around the world.

 

The Story of Lao Tzu with Wayne Ng

It’s easy to forget that the “great men” of history were real people. I mean, it’s one thing to think about  Machiavelli, but can you imagine being the spouse of someone who actually thinks and operates that way? That kind of thinking got me intrigued by the subject of Wayne Ng’s new novel.

Lao Tzu is widely quoted and, along with Confucius, is one of the few Chinese thinkers most of us can name. But who was he, and what was his deal? That’s where Finding the Way comes in.

Wayne, besides having a very cool first name, what’s your story?

Wayne Ng, author of “Finding the Way”

I was born in downtown Toronto to Chinese immigrants who fed me a steady diet of bitter melons and kung fu movies. Like my romantic, idealist protagonist Lao Tzu, in Finding the Way, I dream of a just society, of worlds far from my doorstep, and of tastes, sensations, and experiences beyond my imagination. I am a school social worker in Ottawa but live to write, travel, eat and play, preferably all at the same time. I’m an award-winning short story and travel writer who has twice backpacked through China. Hopefully, I continue to push my boundaries from the Arctic to the Antarctic, blogging and photographing along the way at WayneNgWrites.com

I know you’re a traverler because when I showed you a picture I took in Guatemala you correctly identified the lake, which is impressive. So this book attempts to capture Lao Tzu’s (or Laozi’s) work and his life. What’s the plot of”Finding the Way”?

Finding the Way is a fictionalized story of China’s ultimate dreamer, the philosopher Lao Tzu. Rooted in history, based on legends, Lao sees a world spinning too fast. People feeling alienated, disconnected, insecure, unable to find solace in each other or governments, leaders without a moral or altruistic foundation…this isn’t just 6th century BC, but also here and now. The historical context of Finding the Way was written to synchronize with similar modern questions today. The emptiness and imbalance Lao Tzu spoke of then weighs us down as heavily then as it does now. However, he also offered a soothing balm through Taoism that gateways into an inner peace and harmony that’s as relevant and necessary now as it was then. This story isn’t just a cerebral journey, but also a political thriller wrapped in a philosophical bow tie.

I’m certainly familiar with some of Lao Tzu’s thinking, but what is it about the time period or the man himself that intrigued you?

Very little has been written about the China of 2500 years ago. And though Lao Tzu is much admired and venerated, he often falls into the uni-dimensional wise, old, all-knowing sage, and not much else. I felt it was timely that the world came to better see him in the flesh, which I imagined to be brilliant but also a naive, idealist, and almost tragic figure.

I also wanted people to better appreciate eastern history. That much of the world has an appalling lack of knowledge and understanding of it, is short-sighted and Euro-centric, like almost all historical fiction in the west. Yet the prize of understanding the totality of China is not just reconciling whether it’s a friend or foe, but in providing answers to much of what ails us here and now. Lao’s the Way/Taoism tells us that our thirst for sanity and simplicity is a quest that transcends culture and time. I believe if he were here today and started to write Tao de Ching all over again, the message wouldn’t be much different, He might have a rant about social media. But his message is as important now as it was then: that even in a time where rulers are unjust, where change is scary, where greed and consumption drive us away from our natural state of balance and harmony—-we cannot lose hope.

Since you can’t simulate his Twitter account,  and don’t want to give away any spoilers, what’s your favorite scene in the book?

Two sections stand out for me. Chapter 2, where Lao sees how the natural rhythms and energy around us are a force to be reckoned with and respected. This leads to the development of the Way/Taoism. Imagine Yoda discovering the Force and you’ll get what I mean.

The other section is 40 years later, when Lao has a private audience with one of the Princes vying for the throne. Lao comes to appreciate that the world and the people around him aren’t always as they seem, that people and circumstances are multi-layered and not so easily reduced.

Okay, there is another section, the end, big reveals happen, stunning, really. But that’s all I can say.

Fine, be that way. Where can people learn more about you and your work?

   Website   WayneNgWrites.com

  Amazon   amazon.com/author/WayneNg

Facebook  facebook.com/WayneNgWrites

            Twitter  twitter.com/WayneNgWrites

Goodreads  goodreads.com/WayneNgWrites  

Subscribe to my newsletter and get a chance to win a signed paperback copy of Acre’s Bastard.  Each month you’ll receive links to interviews with great authors, news about upcoming events and previews of my work in progress, Acre’s Orphans. Look at the bottom left of the page for the sign-up sheet. No spam, just once a month updates and a chance to learn about great new Historical Fiction of all types from around the world.

Canadian Historical Romance with Riana Everly

The Maritimes of Canada is one of my favorite places in the world. The people, the music, the natural beauty and the history. Yes, history. Canada has history, not that you’d know it from the bookshelves. We’re also a pretty lovable bunch, but you never read stories about hot Canadians and the romantic fantasies they evoke. Well, Riana Everly has written a historical romance set in Halifax with ties to Jane Austen. You think I’m letting that go by unexplored? Do you know me at all?

What’s your deal, Riana?

I was born in South Africa, but have called Canada home since I was eight years old. I have a Master’s degree in Medieval Studies and am trained as a classical musician, specialising in Baroque and early Classical music. I first encountered Jane Austen when my father handed me a copy of Emma at age 11, and have never looked back. Now I in Toronto with my family. When not writing, I can often be found playing string quartets with friends, biking around the beautiful province of Ontario with my husband, trying to improve my photography, thinking about what to make for dinner, and, of course, reading!

What’s your story about? It’s got an ingenious hook.

The Assistant is a historical romance, a prequel as it were to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Set in England and Nova Scotia in 1799-1800, the novel tells the story of Elizabeth Bennet’s favourite aunt and uncle, the Gardiners.

The story begins when young Edward Gardiner comes across an injured youth while on a business trip in Derbyshire. This youth, Matthew, is a gifted mathematician and Edward takes him on as his assistant. But when Matt introduces Edward to an elusive young woman, Edward discovers his life will never be the same. A sea of mystery surrounds this new assistant: Why is young Matt so reluctant to talk about himself, and who is his friend, who insists on such secrecy? Is there any connection between these two newcomers into Edward’s life and the rumours of a missing heir to an estate in the north and tales of a cruel and usurping uncle? The search for the answers will take Edward and his assistant across the ocean to the colony of Nova Scotia, but will the answers he finds destroy his every hope?

What is it about that time period and place in history that intrigues you?

As a Canadian, I am always interested in both the history of my own country and in how that history relates to British and European history. Nova Scotia in 1800 was at once a distant and wild colony and the centre of Britain’s naval power in the New World. In the aftermath of the American Revolution and in the midst of hostilities with Napoleon’s France, Britain’s control over the massive natural harbour at Halifax and the wealth of timber from both Nova Scotia and the neighbouring colony of New Brunswick were vital to the security of the Empire. By the time my characters set foot in Halifax in 1800, the city was about 50 years old, still finding its character and place, but established and looking towards a prosperous future, buoyed up by the recent establishment of the Naval Dockyards upon its shores.

Nova Scotia did not only provide the Empire with natural resources, but with human ones as well. Thousands of United Empire Loyalists fled the lower colonies in the 1770s and 80s to end up in Nova Scotia, often bringing their institutions with them. The Loyalist masters of King’s College in New York CIty re-established their university in Windsor, about fifty miles from Halifax on the Bay of Fundy, making it the oldest English university in what is now Canada. My hero Edward Gardiner received his education at King’s, and in my imagination he was involved in one of the first hockey games, when the traditional game of hurley was taken onto the ice on the frozen river by the college! And the old King’s in New York? After the dust settled it was re-established under the new name of Columbia University. (Editor’s note. One of my favorite pastimes is telling my American friends the REAL story of the American Revolution from the Loyalist side. It’s fun watching their heads explode in outrage.)

What’s your favorite (or favourite, depending on who’s reading this) scene?

One of my favourite scenes in the book takes place fairly late in the story, when Edward disembarks from the ship which carried him back to Nova Scotia after some years back in England. He remarks upon how the town of Halifax has grown in the time he was away, and upon the multitude of languages he hears on the streets—English, French, Mi’kmaq, and German, to name a few—and the multitude of hues of people’s skin. I did not go into much detail in my book, for the information was extraneous to the story, but I fell into the rabbit hole of research and discovered a wealth of Black history in colonial Nova Scotia, mainly concerning the thousands of former slaves granted their freedom by the British after the American Revolution and transported to Nova Scotia, where they could live their lives as free citizens of the colony. Perhaps there’s another novel in there!

I agree. It’s a fascinating and under-shared story. Where can we learn more about you and your books?

The Assistant can be found at your favourite bookseller through this link:
www.books2read.com/theassistant

You can learn more about me and my books at www.rianaeverly.com. My blog is on the website, and I have some information on another region that is rich in the history of the War of 1812 – Niagara.

Also, please visit me at www.facebook.com/RianaEverly/ to connect on Facebook. I love meeting people and chatting about books and history and whatever else appeals.

Subscribe to my newsletter and get a chance to win a signed paperback copy of Acre’s Bastard.  Each month you’ll receive links to interviews with great authors, news about upcoming events and previews of my work in progress, Acre’s Orphans. Look at the bottom left of the page for the sign-up sheet. No spam, just once a month updates and a chance to learn about great new Historical Fiction of all types from around the world.

Tales of a Medieval Woman Doctor- PK Adams

One of the great things about historical fiction, if you’re open to it, is the chance to read stories you’ve never heard from places you haven’t given any thought to and learn a little in the process. Take, for instance, Hildegard of Bingen. I’ll lay money you didn’t know she was Germany’s first female physician. I wouldn’t know either except for “The Greenest Branch,” by P K Adams.

Alright, lady. What’s your story?

I’m a Boston-based historical fiction author with a master’s degree in European Studies. I’m a life-long lover of history, and my goal is to bring stories of lesser-known historical figures and places to the attention of wider audiences. The Greenest Branch is my debut novel, with the second book in the series slated for release in early 2019. When not writing, I can be found drinking tea, practicing yoga, reading …. although usually not at the same time.

I was gonna say, that could get messy. Anyway, what’s “The Greenest Branch” about?

The Greenest Branch is based on the true story of Hildegard of Bingen (c.1098-1178), Germany’s first female physician. Living in the 12th century, she faced an uphill battle in her quest to gain the necessary medical education to be able to practice what was referred to then as “the healing arts.” Opposition to what she wanted to do was rooted not just in the prevailing social norms, but also in the Church’s attitudes towards women and towards the use of herbs (which it tended to conflate with witchery).

But it was not just the patriarchy that Hildegard had to deal with on her journey – she also faced difficult personal choices. In the book, I try to balance her achievements against the sacrifices she had to make, sacrifices that I believe ring true even all those centuries later.

What is it about Hildegard and the time period that drove you to write about her?

I have been a fan of medieval history for a long time, but I did not hear about Hildegard of Bingen until I took a history of music class in college (yes, she was also a composer, a writer, a philosopher, basically a jack-of-all-trades – in an era where most women could not even read or write). So I became captivated by her accomplishments and began to read more about her to find out how she was able to become a pioneer in so many fields reserved as a man’s domain in her time.

Interestingly, the record of her early life is pretty sparse, and I saw that as a chance to write a fictionalized account of how she rose to such prominence despite not being a royal wife or daughter. Some of the details may be fictionalized, but the story broadly follows Hildegard’s life journey.

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

In a scene quite early in the book, when Hildegard is only 13 years old and has just started working as an assistant to Brother Wigbert, the abbey physician, she asks him if women can also become physicians. Here’s the exchange:

“Can women study to be physicians, Brother?”

“No.”

“Why?”

“It is the natural order of things,” he replied, “that women should rear children since they are the gentler and more nurturing of the sexes. Who would guard the family hearth if they were to go to schools?”

I pondered this, frowning. “But if women are better at caring for others, they should make better doctors too, shouldn’t they?”

Wigbert looked momentarily surprised, then chuckled. “You make clever arguments, Hildegard, but studying requires well-developed reasoning faculties, which women do not possess, being more impulsive and less logical than men.”

I considered pointing out the contradiction but decided not to.

I love that scene because it shows the prevailing medieval beliefs regarding women’s intellectual abilities (I did not make Wigbert’s statement up, it’s based on how women were generally viewed). It also debunks them by pointing out the fundamental flaw of this way of thinking. Still, I feel a bit bad for Brother Wigbert because he is actually one of the good guys in the story – he becomes Hildegard’s mentor as her talent and determination become evident. However, there is another monk – the abbey’s prior – who is the antagonist and whose entire existence is absorbed by his efforts to make it impossible for Hildegard to achieve her dream of becoming a physician. As you can see, she had her work cut out for her.

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