David Halperin, author of JOURNAL OF A UFO INVESTIGATOR, tagged me for this blog hop. http://www.davidhalperin.net/the-color-of-electrum-ezekiel-visits-the-60s/.
My Next Big Thing:
1) What is the working title of your book or project?
The Life and Times of Persimmon Wilson
2) Where did the idea come from for this book or project?
The opening line of the story came to me at a time when I was fallow. I had just completed a novel that was going nowhere and I was taking a lot of walks in the early morning dark to the top of a hill to watch the sunrise. I wasn’t even sure I wanted to continue with writing. It seemed to hard, to inefficient to spend years on a story that would never be read by anyone. But as I continued to take my sunrise walks, I fell into a completely open and neutral space, and one morning the opening line entered me. “I have been to hangings before but never my own.”
3) What genre does it fall under, if any?
It’s a historical novel.
4) If applicable, who would you choose to play your characters in a movie?
Either Morgan Freeman or Danny Glover for the male lead, although they might each need to be a bit younger, and Halle Berry for the lead female. I’d love for Morgan Freeman to narrate the audio version.
5) What is the synopsis of your manuscript or project?
A slave falls in love with his master’s mistress and when freed at the end of the Civil War goes in search of her. When captured by the Comanche Indians and assimilated into the tribe, he finds his love and kills his former master. At the start of the novel Persimmon Wilson is about to hang for the murder of Master Wilson and the kidnapping of his wife. While he does not dispute the murder, he does dispute the identity of woman, claiming that she was not only a former house slave, light skinned enough to pass as white, but also that she was his wife, and not Wilson’s.
6) Will your book or story be self-published or represented by an agent?
I am happy to say that my book will be published this year (2013) by Lystra Books and Literary Services.
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft?
It took me one and a half years to write the first draft, and another six months to write the next four drafts.
8) What other book or stories would you compare this to within the genre?
This sounds incredibly egotistical, but I would compare it to Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry, due to its scope and because of the journey quality of both, as well as the fact that it is peopled with interesting characters.
9) Who or what inspired you to write this story?
Ideas come from all sorts of places. We gather information and file it away and years later some of it accumulates and starts to form a story. The seed for this book was planted in me some time ago when I read a book called The Captured by Scott Zesch, about white captives of the Comanche Indians who stayed with the tribe and became Comanche themselves. The water that made this idea grow was the Ken Burns documentary The West. The night before my sunrise walk in which the opening line entered my head, I had been watching that show, and I wondered if there were any black Indians, and Persy arrived. I believe that characters choose writers rather than the other way around. I don’t know what Persy saw in me, except that he must have believed that I would be respectful of him, and able to carry off his story.
10) What else about the book or story might pique the reader’s interest?
Combining two of America’s most shameful historical facts, slavery and the genocide of the American Indians, into one character is one of the most fascinating things I have ever done. Add to that a light skinned slave woman who is passing for white, and you’ve got a layered novel with the theme of identity as its center. Historical facts play a big role in this book, and my research was a huge part of the journey in writing it. I did not play fast and loose, as some authors of historical fiction do, with the facts. The battles that occurred, the recreation of the slave market of New Orleans, the scenes on the cane plantation in Louisiana, all these and more are true or based on truth and are woven into Persy’s narrative. The one thing that I was vague on was the band of the Comanche that Persy rode with. I deliberately kept this vague so that he could directly experience more of the life changing events that affected the Comanche Indians. I hope that I have written a memorable story, but also a book that will make people think more deeply about the foundational history of America.
On February 12 Nora Estheimer will be blogging about her latest novel to be published this year by Lystra Books (also my publisher) STONE SOUP.
On February 21 Billie Hinton will be blogging about her new novel THE GIRL WHO WAS NEVER NOT BROKEN http://camera-obscura-billie.blogspot.com/?m=1
On February 28 – Idaho writer Amy Larson will be blogging about “Hopping the Blog” and introducing the APPETITE FOR IDAHO book. Born an Easterner, fate (and her parents) took her from a large and modern Eastern city to a small, somewhat backward Western town (pop. 6,000, but just barely). It took Amy ten years to learn to cope, and almost thirty years more to learn to like it. Find out why she now loves her spud state from her adventurous stories (climbing Borah and guiding eight-man rafts down Idaho rivers), tips on things to do in Idaho, testimonials from Idaho VIPs, and get a taste of the Gem State through down-home, authentic Idaho recipes.