Duty in the Cause of Liberty with Charles Frye

The American Revolution is truly one of the seminal events in world history, and while I get insane amounts of fun tweaking people about being a Loyalist and seeing it from the Canadian side, there’s no doubt of its importance. Oh, and the right side won. That leads us to “The War has Begun,” by Charles E Frye, the first book in his quadrology. (Is that a thing? Let’s assume it is)

So what’s the Charlie Frye story?

author and polymath Charles E Frye, author of The War has Begun

I am a geographer, cartographer, information scientist, and U.S. Army veteran. However, I studied architecture for three years prior to discovering geography, and I am still fascinated with architectural history and the design of the built environment. I have read books by the dozens every year since I could read. For fun, I still read fantasy and historical fiction. I decided I wanted to be a professional baseball player when I was five years old, and while I grew out of that, I have always enjoyed watching baseball, and am an Angels fan now. For the past fifteen years, my hobbies have included genealogy, reading about the history of the American Revolutionary War, and researching Isaac Frye’s story. I have been a member of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) for twelve years, and a member of George Washington’s Lifeguard, which the unit my chapter portrays in re-enactments, living history events, and parades—it definitely helped to know how to walk a mile in those shoes, including how to fire a musket and study the manual of arms. I was born in Ohio, and spent significant time in Missouri and Kansas. I am married and have three sons and a daughter, and for twenty-three years have lived and worked in southern California.

Re-enactors fascinate me (and freak me out a little) because of the depth of their passion for the topic. What is the story of The War Has Begun (besides the obvious, that the war had begun?)

The War has Begun is the first of four books about Major Isaac Frye in the American Revolution. He is a farmer, husband, father, and minuteman from Wilton, NH. So, why write about him? Wasn’t everybody a farmer and minuteman in those days? In New Hampshire, it was roughly one in five men. What makes Isaac different is that he served for the entire war as an officer, starting on day one, through to being in the last unit disbanded. No one else from New Hampshire did that, and nobody from any other colony, other than Massachusetts could have. To me, that was a story worth learning about and telling.

I called the series of four books Duty in the Cause of Liberty because as a veteran I know a little of what that means, but Isaac Frye and the men he served with fought to establish something that none of them could describe fully, even while their lives were at stake as they fought for it. As I watched our country go about its daily business remaining largely oblivious to the recent wars, I wondered how many of those people would sacrifice anything if their country called upon them. By the time I completed my research on Isaac, and saw the magnitude of what he, his family, and his town sacrificed; I felt strongly compelled to tell his story and hopefully convey some of why he may have done what he did. The story begins as he responds immediately to the Lexington and Concord alarm on April 19, 1775 and serves as an officer in the American army. His descendant’s oral history oral history included his words as he left: “The war has begun, I must be going.” Isaac fights in the Battle of Breeds Hill, and after the siege of Boston ends, marches to New York City, where he stays only a short time before ordered to Quebec. After retreating with the sick and nearly starving army from Quebec, his regiment is one of several that establish and construct Camp Independence during the latter months of 1776. The next book in the series will take up the story starting in early 1777.

What is it about this particular story that appealed to you?

As I started the research, I was stunned to find so many records were preserved, particularly compared the next hundred and fifty years. In part, it was due to Isaac being an officer, which meant he was named in many records pertaining to his regiments, and responsible for producing some of those records. I am a geographer and cartographer, so it was second nature for me to decide to map Isaac’s timeline during the war using a geographic information system (GIS). This allowed me to organize hundreds of records pinpointing Isaac’s location nearly a thousand times.

To make that geographic timeline, I needed a detailed map of America from 1775 to 1784. I spent several years compiling that from primary source documents—this allowed me to locate Isaac. Modern maps would not work because we have changed the names of towns and landforms, dammed rivers, drained swamps, and built highways and railroads. I needed a map that showed all the places that mattered during the Revolutionary War. The map is available online, and shows the path Isaac took during this book:  https://dutyinthecauseofliberty.wordpress.com/2017/04/20/using-gis-to-research-isaac-frye/

All that research and time, what’s your favorite scene in the book?

I have always liked reading battle scenes, so the Battle of Bunker Hill is my “default” choice. However, the scenes near the end about Josiah Parker, the son of Isaac’s neighbor, were the most satisfying to write in terms of what motivated me to write this book. Those scenes stem from a letter Isaac’s wife Elizabeth wrote to him in the fall of 1776. It took both genealogical research and a little bit of luck to find a corroborating account that brought all the details together. That letter, combined with determining who Isaac’s neighbors were, held the keys to understanding some of how Wilton suffered and operated as a community during the war.

Where can people learn more about the book series and your work?

 

 

Was Robin Hood Gay? We Ask NB Dixon

One of the most fun things about history is asking: “what if?”  That can cause all kinds of chaos. Additionally, there’s no quicker way to freak people out than to question the sexuality of a historical figure or at least portray them in some way different than the idealized picture of that person. There are fewer iconic characters than Robin Hood. So when you ask, “was Robin Hood gay?” You’re pretty much asking for trouble.

Yet, author NB Dixon has done just that. In a new series of Kindle novels, beginning with The Heir of Locksley, he (or she, cause we don’t know do we?) examines not only what we know about the legendary outlaw, but the relationships with his band of “Merry Men.”

Now, I could make jokes ( What, the emerald green tights weren’t a giveaway? Okay, sorry. I’m done acting like a 12 year old now.) but if Alexander the Great, Richard the Lion Heart and other historical figures haven’t already proven that having unconventional sexuality and being a badass aren’t mutually exclusive, I don’t know what will.

Tell us a little more about yourself. I notice you write incognito, so we don’t have a picture of you.

I’ve always loved history, and English history in particular. Trying to get in

Was Robin Hood Gay? Find out for yourself in this new novel, Heir of Locksley
Was Robin Hood really into Maid Marian? Find out for yourself in this new novel, Heir of Locksley

the minds of characters hundreds of years dead and portray how they would have thought and felt is what I love most about this type of fiction.

My parents gave me books as soon as I was able to hold one and so my love of literature was born. I’ve always had a taste for the dramatic, so Historical Fiction was perfect. It also means I get to indulge my love of Folklore and Medieval History.

My love affair with the Robin Hood legend began one day in a hidden corner of the school library and has extended into my adult life. I only hope I can convince my readers to love him as much as I do.

In a nutshell, what’s your book about?

Heir of Locksley is the first in a series chronicling the life of Robin Hood. While researching the legend, the thing that struck me most was the relationship between Robin Hood and his men. There is evidence to suggest that his sexuality was not as cut and dried as Hollywood would have us believe. Maid Marian does not even feature in the earliest tales. It was this bond between men that I chose to explore by means of a GLBT (or LGBT or however you want to arrange those letters where you live) theme.

A controversial take to be sure. Still, Robin Hood is one of my favorite stories as well. What is it about the legends and that time period you find so intriguing?

What I find most fascinating about this period is the odd mixture of honour and brutality that characterised it. Though I have to say, the sword fights are fun to write as well.

One of the abiding principles of this blog is, “swords are way cooler than guns,” so welcome aboard. What’s your favorite scene in the book?

It would be hard to pick a favourite scene, but I think the one where a young Robin takes part in an archery contest for the first time was particularly enjoyable to write.

Where can people find your book?

They can learn more about me and the books at my website, www.NBDixonauthor.com

You can find the book on Kindle at

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

 

Publication Dates for Acre’s Bastard

Okay, deep breath. Here we go:

Acre’s Bastard will be coming out in mid-January (ebook) and mid-February of 2017 (paperback). I’m very excited. This is the first in a series of adventures about Lucca Le Pou, a 10-year-old who becomes an unwilling spy against Salah-adin. It’s NOT YA– it’s the very adult story of the Crusades told through the eyes of it’s most innocent victims–the children. The book is in turns funny, thrilling, sad and exciting.

If you are a reviewer or blogger interested in a pre-publication copy, please let me know. I’d like to get some honest blurbs and reviews in the can to help with a successful launch.

This may or may not be the final cover for my new book, but here’s an update. (Feedback is a gift and all)

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