A Hall of Fame Western Author- Robert Vaughan

Just when I begin to think I’m pretty hot stuff, I come across someone whose body of work is both impressive and intimidating. Such is the case with today’s interview. Robert Vaughan, as you’ll see, has been around a while. His publisher, Mike Bray at Wolfpack Publishing was hanging out at the Las Vegas Book Fest. I asked if he had any historical fiction authors I should talk to, and he couldn’t connect me with Robert fast enough. Here’s the deal on his (I’m estimating) 8 millionth book, The Town Marshal.

So for the uninitiated, tell us about yourself.

I was nineteen years old when I sold my first book.  That was 61 years ago, and since that time I’ve sold somewhere around 400 books under my own name, and 42 pseudonyms.  I wrote the novelization for the mini-series Andersonville, and wrote, produced, and appeared in the History Channel documentary Vietnam Homecoming.   As of this writing, (9 November, 2018) I have five books in the top ten of Amazon Western novels: #1, #2, #3, #4, and #7.

I have hit the NYT bestseller list eight times. I’m the recipient of the Spur Award, (SURVIVAL, writing as K.C. McKenna) the PORGIE Award (Best Paperback Original), the Western Fictioneers Lifetime Achievement Award, I received the Readwest President’s Award for Excellence in Western Fiction, and I am a member of the American Writers Hall of Fame.

I am also a retired army Chief Warrant Officer with three tours in Vietnam. I now live with my wife and my dog on the beach in Gulf Shores, Alabama. (Editor’s note: See? What’d I tell you?)

What’s the story behind The Town Marshal?

The book , THE TOWN MARSHAL is a look at some authentic Western History. Its two main participants, James Cooper, and Henry Newton Brown, form a close friendship when, along with Billy the Kid, they fight in the Lincoln County War. After that, James and Henry move on, their bond of friendship growing even stronger as James becomes a crusading newspaper editor and Henry, a town marshal feared by outlaws and lauded by his peers and the towns he served.
But something goes wrong, and in an emotive moment, the two best friends find themselves face to face in a dramatic and poignant confrontation.

What is it about that time period that intrigued you enough to focus a book on it?

Of the two main characters, James Cooper is fictional, and I use him to propel the book, and to be a foil for Henry Newton Brown.  Brown is an authentic character with one of the most fascinating, and ultimately tragic life stories.  It was the authenticity of Brown’s story that drew me to the book.

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

One of my favorite scenes would be the defense of the McSween House in Lincoln. Alexander McSween was a much-respected attorney in Lincoln,  and during the Lincoln County War, his house came under siege.  McSween, James Cooper, Henry Newton Brown, and Billy the Kid occupied the house.  In addition there were three women and a young girl trapped in the house: McSween’s wife, Susan, his sister-in-law Elizabeth Shields, Elizabeth’s ten-year-old daughter, Minnie, and Katherine Gates, the local school teacher.

Where can people learn more about your impressive collection of work?

You can find the 9 Westerns I’ve done for Wolfpack Publishing on their website here.

You can also find me on my Amazon author page.

Subscribe to my newsletter and get a chance to win a signed paperback copy of  my upcoming novel.  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.

1920s Italy, Intrigue and Murder with John Anthony Miller

The trauma of World War 1 created the environment that allowed the ’20s to roar. It was an amazing time of change and trying to figure out exactly what the hell had just happened. I was intrigued when I heard about John Anthony Miller’s new novel, “Honour the Dead.” It goes on sale November 1.

So what’s the John Anthony Miller story?

I like to write about ordinary people who are compelled to do extraordinary things, driven by events or tumultuous times. My first four books are about WWII, but not generals or admirals or politicians, but a reporter, a history teacher, a banker, a violinist. They become heroes, just as many other ordinary people became heroes during the global conflict, their stories difficult to imagine in a world that is now so different, but in some ways, still the same. I also like to use the location of the novel as a character, often exotic, richly described, a place where people have either been or might someday like to go. My first four books are set in Singapore, Berlin, Lisbon, and Paris. For my fifth novel, a murder mystery entitled Honour the Dead, I chose Lake Como, Italy, one of the most beautiful places in the world and a personal favorite of mine.

I agree, I prefer writing about “ordinary” people as well. What’s “Honour the Dead,” about?

Honour the Dead is about six English survivors of WWI who converge on Lake Como, Italy in 1921: four men, two women = one corpse and one killer.

Penelope Jones, a wealthy socialite, is admitted to Lakeside Sanitarium, convinced someone is trying to kill her. Her husband, Alexander Cavendish, a WWI hero, is having an affair with her closest friend and owes gambling debts to Billy Flynn, a London gangster. Her father, Wellington Jones, is fighting the collapse of his business empire and knows about Cavendish’s affair and gambling debts. Wellington needs money desperately and knows Penelope will inherit Cavendish’s estate. Dr. Joseph Barnett, Penelope’s doctor, struggles to control images of a war he can’t forget. He despises Cavendish, having served with him in the war. Barnett doesn’t see a war hero, but a despicable murderer who forced young men to die. Rose Barnett, the doctor’s wife, is a famous poet with a sordid secret. Rose was a nurse in France during the war, where she committed five mercy killings on horrifically wounded soldiers. Cavendish, the only witness, is blackmailing her. Who is the corpse and who is the killer?

I am a total geek for the post-WWI era. What is your fascination with it?

I set the novel in the 1920’s because I was intrigued by the utter devastation wrought by the First World War, which has since been overshadowed by the cataclysmic Second World War. I wanted to write about survivors, people desperately trying to forget the horrific tragedies they endured, losing family and friends, neighbors and coworkers – all victims to a war waged in muddy trenches with chlorine gas, the horror amplified by modern inventions like the tank and airplane. And even in 1921, three years after the fighting ended, I wanted to show that, regardless of how bright the future might seem, the past still clings tightly, refusing to let go.

Without giving away the farm, what’s your favorite (or favourite) part of the book?

My favorite scene from Honor the Dead is the epilogue, where a series of twists and turns show the reader that nothing is ever as it seems.

I think you may be the first person to say “the epilogue.” Now I’m intrigued. Where can we find more about you and your work?

https://www.amazon.com/JOHN-ANTHONY-MILLER/e/B00Q1U0OKO/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9787380.John_Anthony_Miller

https://twitter.com/authorjamiller

Website:  http://johnanthonymiller.net/

Subscribe to my newsletter and get a chance to win a signed paperback copy of  my upcoming novel.  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.

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

If you’ve noticed a slow-down in my interviews and blogging ( and blessings upon your house and camels for caring) it’s because there’s a lot going on. Here’s just a sample of what’s been going on in this writer’s life:

  • We are moving to Las Vegas. After 17 years of Chicago winters, The Duchess has declared, “no mas.” Since I’d have to sell a butt-load more books than I have to live in California,  Vegas it is. Between househunting and packing, until October 1, my literary efforts are taking a back seat. There have been some other changes since then too…
  • Byron the cockatiel has a new home. For 8 years, I have shared my office and writing with a very cranky room-mate. Byron doesn’t take well to change, and the logistics of moving across the country, and the increased travel I’ll be doing, made re-homing him the right answer. It was hard to do, and the first person who says “he’s just a bird” gets punched in the throat.
  • The day job and “The Long-Distance Leader” require mental bandwidth. I usually keep my business and personal life separate. That’s why readers here probably don’t pay much attention to my non-fiction work. Still, “The Long-Distance Leader: Rules for Remarkable Remote Leadership,” is actually doing very well. It’s far outsold any of my other work and continues to drive business, which helps pay the rent in the new city, and keeps me fed. If you haven’t checked it out, it’s a big seller in airports. Seriously, we’re a Hudson Best-Seller three months running. I have actually published 10 books with the new one coming out, my Amazon Author Page is here if you care.

 

  • I’ve been doing more short-story writing, which doesn’t usually show up here. Between novels and my non-fiction writing, I like to do short stories. One of these, “The Clairtangentist” was just published on Storgy.com July 31, and another will be coming out October 8. I will also have a story in this year’s Rivulets, the annual anthology of the Naperville Writers Group. “Dien Bien Phu, 1954”  If you’re interested, you can find either the stories or links to them on the “Short stories and other pieces” link on this site. Enjoy.
  • I’m getting fewer interview opportunities. Maybe because I’ve been spending less time pimping myself out on Goodreads, but I’m getting fewer contacts from authors who want me to help spread the news about their books. If you know a historical fiction writer who’s looking to get the word out, have them drop me a line.
  • I’m working on Acre’s Orphans for a January release. Just because you can self-pubish with one push of a button doesn’t mean you should. I”m doing everything I can to make sure the book looks good, gets publicity and out-sells my other fiction. That takes time.

All of this is my way of saying things will be slow here until mid-October. I have a couple of interviews planned, but will resurface with an update after we’ve settled into Sin City.

I’ll tell you more when I come up for air. Don’t let the weasels get you down.

Britain After the Romans with Tim Walker

One of my earliest histfic obsessions was King Arthur.  Few time periods have been as written about, even though little is actually known (which, let’s face it, makes it easier!) It’s a world where fantasy, history, romance and adventure all come together and everyone’s sort of okay with it. Whether you’re into Jack Whyte and his heavily researched Camulod series, or Marion Zimmer Bradley’s feminist take on it, it’s FUN.

Falling on the hard history side is Tim Walker’s “A Light in the Dark Ages,” series. He’s re-released his first tale, “Abandoned.”

Alright, Tim. What’s your deal?

I’m an independent author with seven titles in the following genres: historical fiction, dystopia, children’s and short stories.  Fire away, Wayne…

In a nutshell, what’s the book about?

My latest book is an historical fiction novel, Abandoned. Actually, it is a second edition based on a novella I wrote in 2015, but more than twice the length of the original. Abandoned is the starting point for what became a three-book historical series, A Light in the Dark Ages.  Having completed the series with the launch of book three, Uther’s Destiny, in March 2018, I then went back and did an extensive re-write of Abandoned, launching the second edition in July 2018. I can now sit back and say, ‘Job done!’

Abandoned is an adventure story that starts the day the last Roman Governor of Britannia departed for good, and surmises on what may have happened in the early days of the Dark Ages. It lives on the boundary between historical fact, supposition and mythology.

What is it about that time period or character that intrigued you and motivated you to write about it?

It all started when I visited the site of a former Roman town in the south of England and began wondering what life must have been like for the Briton inhabitants after the Roman garrison marched for the last time, around the year 410 AD. After nearly four hundred years of occupation and assimilation, would the locals have regarded this as liberation or abandonment? The town in question was called Calleva Atrebatum – literally, ‘the wooded place of the Atrebates’. The Romans built a fortified town on the site of the Atrebates’ tribal village. By naming their town after the locals, it suggests a desire at conciliation and co-operation. From this starting point I researched what was known about the immediate post-Roman period in Britain (the fifth century) and discovered that, apart from a few surviving manuscripts written by monks, there is very little to go on. Lurking on the horizon is the legend of King Arthur, with some historians daring to suggest there was a real military leader of this name who organised resistance to the spread of aggressive Germanic/Danish tribes – the Saxons, Angles and Jutes.

If Arthur, as is suggested in the Welsh Chronicles, died at the Battle of Camlann around the year 537, then assuming he was in his early fifties (why not?), then he would have been born around the year 485. I took this date as a target to conclude my ‘alternative history’, but became so intrigued by the earliest account of the Arthurian legend (written by Oxford academic, Geoffrey of Monmouth, around 1136), that I included the story of Arthur’s father – Uther Pendragon – and the early life of the boy Arthur, in my third book, Uther’s Destiny. Geoffrey, by the way, claims to have worked from ‘an ancient book written in the British language’ but no evidence of this mysterious text has ever been found to corroborate his claim.

It’s heady stuff delving into this ‘black hole’ in English history that has been plugged with legend and mythology. My aim was to write an alt-history of Britain in the fifth century, and slowly creep up on the Arthurian legend, presenting it as a believable part of the narrative. All myths have a basis in some human events – often extraordinary and worthy of immortalising in ballads and fireside stories. We know that it took the Saxons nearly two hundred years to subdue the Britons and carve out their kingdoms, so it is a fair assumption that there was organised resistance. Was Arthur one man or a composite of a number of resistance leaders? Our hopes for an answer lies with archaeologists and historians who are still searching for evidence of what really happened in Britain in the fifth and sixth centuries.

Without giving away spoilers, what’s your favourite scene or event in the book?

My hero, Marcus, had already suffered the trauma of barely surviving a battle against a ruthless Saxon war party when his heart froze at the sight of the return of his deadly foe. He is standing on the battlements of the town of Londinium (London) staring down the River Tamesis (Thames)…

A CRY WENT up at the sight of a fleet of a dozen ships slipping menacingly along the Tamesis as far as the Roman bridge, their dragon heads edging past startled merchant boats that tried to steer away. They lowered their sails and ran out their oars in a practised manoeuvre, rowing against the flow of the dirty brown river, following the lead ship along the centre channel. The drawbridge was down, preventing the single mast ships from passing under the bridge and forcing them to beach their vessels on the shingle shore outside the town walls. Soon helmeted warriors leapt from their ships, shouting war cries and banging their weapons on their shields to announce their arrival. Horn blasts from the towers called the guards to their posts.

Allectus and Marcus, barely a week into their tenure as Commanders of the Guard, met on the parapet over the south gatehouse. They looked down on scurrying families who had abandoned their pots, baskets and fishing nets to take to the wooden planks that floated above the river mud and led to the safety of the raised bridge approach.

“It seems our coming was timely,” Allectus growled, seeing the scampering traders on the bridge whipping their pigs and goats into a trot.

But for Marcus, it seemed time was suspended as he stared down at the tide of frightened folk cramming through the gates, his white-knuckled grip on the stone turret betraying his anxiety. To his left, Allectus was barking out orders as guards scurried past him. The Saxons swaggered across the mudflats with steely menace, shouting in their harsh, guttural language. Two raiders dragged a cowering boy from the first wicker hut they encountered and, whilst their accomplices mocked the wretched child’s screams, butchered him as if he were no more than an animal.

Marcus’s glazed expression and dream-like state had not gone unnoticed. “Your enemy has returned, Marcus,” Allectus intoned, slapping him on the shoulder and jolting him out of his daze. “We shall lock them outside for now, but the bridge and south bank settlement are exposed.”

“I have a troop of fifty men stationed in the south bank guardhouse,” Marcus groaned, staring helplessly across the now deserted bridge.

“They must buy time by raising the south arm of the drawbridge to prevent these dogs from rushing over the bridge to a feast of merry slaughter,” Allectus replied. “We have nearly two thousand men in barracks, and five hundred horses. I estimate their numbers at barely five hundred.”

Marcus eyed the more experienced commander as he marshaled his thoughts, struggling to shut out a living nightmare of guttural chanting in time to drum beats drifting on the wind. His fingers curled around the dragon medallion that hung from his neck, comforting him. “I shall send a rider across the bridge with an order to raise it and hold firm.”

Where can people find you and your book (links to Amazon page, Goodreads, Twitter, Blog whatever)

Readers can find out more about me and my books at my website – http://timwalkerwrites.co.uk

Universal book links for the three-book series:

http://myBook.to/Abandoned

http://myBook.to/Ambrosius

http://myBook.to/Uther

Amazon Author Page: http://Author.to/TimWalkerWrites

Facebook page: https://facebook.com/TimWalkerWrites

Twitter: https://twitter.com/timwalker1666

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.

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.

 

 

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.

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.

 

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.

Where can people find more about you and your work?

My book is available on Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2IPpj7h

and also Amazon UK, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, and several other marketplaces

My Goodreads author page URL:  https://www.goodreads.com/pk_adams

Twitter: @pk_adams

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.

Shameless Self-Promotion Update

With The Long-Distance Leader: Rules for Remarkable Remote Leadership out in the world for just over a week, I’ve been doing an incredible amount of promotion. Most of it is completely work-related, and you can find out everything you would ever want to know about that book at www.LongDistanceLeaderBook.com. 

By the way, if you’re traveling through an airport, it’s now a Hudson Booksellers Best Seller!

I’ve also had a couple of chances to talk about my fiction work. Most enjoyably, an old colleague from my stand-up days, Keith Tomasek, has a terrific podcast about the arts and the creative process, The Inadequate Life. Recently, we talked for an hour about my stand-up days and the transition to being a grownup, as well as the ins and outs of publishing. It was a blast. If you’d like to hear it, it’s here. I think it’s the most wide-ranging and probably most honest interview I’ve ever done. And for a media ho like me, that’s saying something.

I got into corporate training because when I left stand-up, I had a 15-year hole in my resume and only one marketable skill; I could stand there and talk.

To Keith Tomasek, The Inadequate Life podcast

 

I was honored to be on The Inadequate Life podcast

 

“I like to tell people I’m the love child of Alexandre Dumas and Hunter S Thompson and let them figure it out.”

When asked by James Quinland Mervey what my influences are….

Also, a fellow writer named James Quinlan Meservey interviewed me for an ongoing series on his blog about literary influences and why we do what we do. It was a lot of fun. You can read it here if you’d like. And check out James’ fantasy work.