Carmen Stevens and the Slums of London

Sometimes, historical fiction is about people living inside a specific historical event.  Other times, the period is primarily a backdrop to personal stories that just happen to occur then. Such is the case with Carmen Scott’s “Anne”. Rather than the heroine being swept up in history, the times serve as the backdrop for this intimate story of one woman making her way in 18th Century London.

Anne is the story of a young woman's struggles and ambition in the maelstrom of  18th Century London Carmen Gross, pen name Carmen Stevens, was born in Fargo, ND, March 1992. She currently resides in Detroit Lakes, MN, where she is a recent college graduate and works part-time. Carmen published her novel “Anne” in July 2013-an exciting, richly-written historical work about a young English girl who makes many bad choices throughout her life and then struggles to find redemption.

In a nutshell, what’s Anne’s story?

‘Anne’ takes place in eighteenth-century England. The plot revolves around a haughty, homeless, orphaned girl and her struggle to achieve a life that is much better than her present one. Anne is hardened by a sense of self-preservation and very strong-willed, and she is willing to do anything to fulfill her dreams.

You’re a nice mid-westerner. What is it about that time period that intrigued you?

I really like the fashion of this time period, though maybe not the corsets. But I think the dresses that the well-off women wore were unique and quite lovely. I dislike the class structure, however. But I’ve always been very interested in old England and the way that this country used to be, especially within its large cities like London. I love the history of the country. I’ve never physically visited England, but I’ve researched it so extensively that I feel like I have been there. When I decided that I wanted to write a novel, the setting of old England came to my mind right away because I have such an interest in the country, and hope to be able to visit there someday.

That’s true for a lot of us. Writing is a way of traveling places we’ve always wanted to go. Without giving away spoilers, what are a couple of scenes you particularly enjoy?

It think it’s the small, poignant scenes rather than sweeping historical events. The first scene involves Anne visiting a person whom she once loved, but now hates,in an awful place. The young man whom Anne visits bitterly confronts her because of what she did to him. Anne remains calm and cold throughout the confrontation, displaying no remorse, for what she did to the young man she did to achieve her dreams.

The other touching scene is actually one of the last scenes of the novel. Anne has a long chat with another young man, but her demeanor and composure are completely different than the other scene. Also, the young man in this scene listens to Anne carefully with an attitude that is also different than the other man’s. Within this scene, the themes and morals of the overall story are vivdly described.

 

 

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So, Hotshot, who’s publishing your book?

When I announced that my first novel, “Pith Helmets in the Snow” was going to be published, I got a lot of questions about who the publisher was.  The answer, is TheBookFolks in the UK.

I have two reasons for telling you this:

First, I swore I wouldn’t self-publish my first novel. And I’m not–quit asking.

I have nothing against self-publishing. In fact, two of my best selling books are self-published. There’s a part of me that’s all about “death to the middleman and seize the means of production,” and all that. But I swore with my first attempt at a novel, I wanted someone other than my blood relatives to think I could write. I wanted an agent and a “big six” book deal. If not that, at least a “real” publisher.

Basically, I wanted someone I wasn’t related to validating my talent. I also know that my ego basically demands someone kick my butt in the editing process to have the best possible outcome. Left to my own devices, my book would be an embarrassing wreck.

While I didn’t find an agent, I did find a publisher who really believes in the book, sells books all over the world, and who seems to be hoodwinked into thinking I can write. A thousand blessings on his house and camels.

Secondly, I want to introduce you to the company I’m keeping.

The first thing I did after sending Erik the full manuscript was to check out the other writers in his stable. I can tell you that I’m in good company.  I have read a lot of indie books lately, and most of them are abysmal. There isn’t one of the four I read that didn’t “deserve” to find readers, although some I enjoyed more than others. That’s what reading is about, right?

More than that, I am proud to be in their company. Thought I’d just share them with you.

Only 24 and she can write circles around me. If you like Arthurian fantasy ( I do) and hot sex (no comment) you’ll enjoy the first book in what will be a great trilogy.

 

A creepy action thriller set in Britain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A creepy Sci-fi murder mystery set in Australia. Never read one of those, have you?
A crime thriller spanning 50 years of British life. Really dug the tone and the twists.

 

So there you have it. I hope that answers the question and helps you find some new authors to check out.

Don’t let the weasels get ya down.

JR Lindermuth and History From the Pennsylvania Coal Mines

This is the first of many interviews to come with indie/small press authors of Historical Fiction. Our first guest is JR (or John, or Jack, he answers to all of them) Lindermuth, author of Watch The Hour.

Author JR Lindermuth, author of Watch The Hours
Author JR Lindermuth, author of Watch The Hours

He is a retired newspaper editor and currently librarian of his county historical society where he assists patrons with genealogy and research. He is the author of 14 novels and a regional history. He is a member of International Thriller Writers and currently serves as vice president of the Short Mystery Fiction Society.

So in a nutshell, what’s the book about?

In the 1870s in Pennsylvania ’s anthracite coal region, mine owners and their employees, particularly the Irish immigrants, are in conflict over working conditions. Private police forces commissioned by the state but paid by the coal companies are sworn to protect property of the mine owners.

Ben Yeager is one of these police officers. He does his best to follow orders while trying to be fair to the workers whose lot he sees as little different from his own. Despite his efforts at fairness, his job makes him the enemy of the Irish, and that’s the cruz of his troubles…. Ben is in love with an Irish girl.

What is it about this time period you find so fascinating?

I grew up in the coal region and many of my ancestors worked in the mines. A few even served as “coalies” (as these police were known). I write a weekly history column for two area papers and have published a regional history (Digging Dusky Diamonds) about the lives of the miners and their families in the 19th and 20th centuries.

So, hook us. What’s a scene in the book you think is pivotal?

A pivotal scene in the novel is when Ben is beaten into unconsciousness and laid out to be killed on the railroad tracks, an attack immediately attributed to the Irish. Without identifying the actual culprits, the incident is important because it solidifies once and for all the love between Ben and Jennie.

Sounds great. How can people find out more about you and your work?

My blog is http://jrlindermuth.blogspot.com/. 

My Amazon page  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1005496.J_R_Lindermuth

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1005496.J_R_Lindermuth

Twitter @jrlindermuth Facebook http://www.facebook.com/john.lindermuth

Check out his work, and support the work of indie and small press writers everywhere. Do you know of someone we should feature in this blog? Drop me a line or put it in the comments below.