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Cathryn McIntyre Author Interview

Cathryn McIntyre Author Interview

Honor in Concord is an exciting mix of memoir and historical fiction revolving around your life and memories in Concord, Massachusetts. What was the idea, or spark, that first set off the need to write this book?

In the memoir portion of Honor in Concord I talk about the connection I have always felt to Concord, MA and how I began writing this book soon after moving here the first time, when I set out to record the images of Concord’s past that were always on my mind.  What I neglected to mention until the introduction in the 2022 E-Book edition is that the flurry of images that I was receiving then were coming to me in response to a plea I had made to God and my guides to send me a story to write that was uplifting and life-affirming because the novel I had just finished writing was anything but that.  Soon after I made my plea, I began receiving those images, like Henry David Thoreau pausing to talk to a young boy about a bird, while walking over to see his friend, Ralph Waldo Emerson; or the breakfast scene at the Emerson’s home when young Edith tells her parents she has seen the spirit of her brother, Wallie in the garden.  They were brief glimpses into the lives of the authors who lived in mid-19th century Concord, and they became the short vignettes that appear throughoutthe book.  In the fictional story, Nathaniel Hawthorne is back but he isn’t Hawthorne anymore, now he is Richard Hazzard.  His wife, Sophia is now his wife, Julie and Thoreau is his son, Alex.  It all came together easily, magically, and at the same time I was writing the fictional story I was telling my own story in the memoir.  I was a writer coming to terms with my psychic ability and trying to figure out why it was that I had been drawn to this sleepy old town.  I wanted to be free of it, to do what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it, but I didn’t understand then the importance of the path I was on.

What is one thing that people point out after reading your book that surprises you?

Well, there isn’t one specific thing that readers have said that surprised me.  What surprises me is just how enthusiastic and over the top their reactions have been to it.  One person told me she regularly reads all the bestsellers, but she enjoyed Honor in Concord more than any of them.  Another called me her favorite author ever.  I am always taken aback by that kind of praise, but I think that has more to do with the message of the book and how it makes people feel than it does with me or the way I write.  Many people seem to come away from Honor in Concord feeling better about themselves and their own lives.  In this world where values are constantly being challenged, in Honor in Concord I am giving a nod to that sector that I believe is the majority who do understand that there is a higher power and a purpose to our lives and who strive every day to live their lives with principle and honor.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Initially, I wanted to capture the magic of Concord’s literary past but, as the story developed, I began to realize that the book wasn’t just about sharing that special feeling that visitors to Concord experience when they walk through the old homes and hear about the lives of the writers who once lived here.  The characters in Honor in Concord who represent those writers from the past would still be struggling with some of the same issues they had faced in their past lives.  So the theme explored first is reincarnation, what might we experience if we had lived before, and then love, trust, freedom, devotion and honor, along with feminism that comes up in both the fictional story and the memoir.  The honor in Honor in Concord is about honoring ourselves, who we are, what we value, how we choose to live our lives, the commitments we make. It is about learning to trust the inner guidance that is available to all of us and to conduct ourselves accordingly.  By doing that we honor ourselves.  It is an ideal that is based on the transcendental philosophy followed by most of the Concord writers.  Ed, who represents Bronson Alcott in the fictional story, longs to tell everyone, “We are all, each one of us, infinite.”  I believe he is right.  We are spiritual, not physical beings. We have all lived before and we will live on after this life, and who we are now and how we treat ourselves and each other while we’re here matters.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

The book I wrote and published after Honor in Concord is called The Thoreau Whisperer and it is currently available from all the usual internet booksellers.  It is a sequel to the memoir portion of Honor in Concord, as it picks up my story 6 years later.  I am still a reluctant psychic but following a visit from my mentor, who was an eminent Thoreau scholar, eleven days after his death, I realize the time has come for me to accept my gifts, hone my psychic abilities, and prepare for what was to be a remarkable collaboration that allowed Thoreau’s words to be heard once again in our time.  As fantastic as it may seem, The Thoreau Whisperer is a true story.

Currently, I am at work on a novel, a spiritual love story, that is set in the seaside town of Marblehead, Massachusetts. 

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | LinkedIn | Website

In Honor in Concord, Cathryn McIntyre tells the story of the first year she lived in the historic town of Concord, Massachusetts in an antique home she calls “Quiet House” on a street named for Henry David Thoreau. One day she sets out to record the images of Concord’s past that are always on her mind and what results is a fictional story told within the pages of memoir in which the writers of mid-19th century Concord (i.e., Hawthorne, Emerson, Thoreau, Fuller and Alcott) are living new lives in Concord in present day.

Honor in Concord is set at all the historic locations in Concord, including The Old Manse, The Emerson’s Home, Orchard House, The Wayside and Walden Pond and there are short vignettes throughout the story that open up like windows into Concord’s literary past. One moment we see Julie watching her young daughter performing at her dance recital and the next we see her as Sophia Hawthorne walking in the yard of the Wayside as her children run about in play and her husband, Nathaniel looks on. One moment we see Sarah having a flirtatious lunch with Richard at the West Street Grill in Boston, the place where the Hawthornes once wed, and then we see Sarah walking across the same floor where she had stood as Margaret Fuller conducting her “conversations” about the conditions faced by the women of her day.

Richard and Julie Hazzard are happily married but one day Richard wakes up feeling bored. On the train into Boston, he meets Sarah and what begins as an innocent flirtation soon becomes the catalyst that prompts Richard’s self-reflection. Will he risk losing all that he has to break the monotony of his life and satisfy his desire for Sarah? Not if his friend, Ed, has anything to say about it. Ed lives a life of honor and Richard admires that, but he doesn’t believe he can live up to the code that Ed lives by. Julie is an artist who has set her art aside and devoted herself fully to Richard and their children. Now she wonders if in doing so a part of herself has been lost. She envies her friend, Emma, who in her past life as schoolteacher, Martha Hunt chose to drown herself in the river in Concord rather than live her life in the way Julie does now.

The themes of love, trust, freedom, devotion, history, ghosts and reincarnation are there in the memoir as well, as McIntyre also struggles with her desire for freedom and her inability to trust her instincts that have led her to Concord and to a destiny that hadn’t yet been fully revealed.

Honor in Concord

Honor in Concord by Cathryn McIntyre is a combination of memoir and fiction. The book takes place in Concord, Massachusetts, and is a story about history, love, reincarnation, and living our lives with truth and honor. While retelling the actual events in the author’s life, there are some fictionalized elements in the story. For example, the scenes that show famous writers from Concord’s literary past are fiction based on historical facts. There is also a third storyline, focused on honor, interspersed with scenes of Concord’s historical and literary figures.

This was an exciting and enjoyable book to read. I liked the inclusion of writings from historical, literary individuals from the 19th century at the beginning of the book. The author writes about their daily lives and families and the descriptions of the homes where they resided, which were shown through house tours of the historic sites taken by the author or fictional present-day characters. I enjoyed reading the scenes of life from the perspective of historical, literary figures.

The past and present are woven together in an interesting way in this book. One example is when the author imagines the historical figures in places found in present-day Concord that they had visited during their own lives in the 1800s. I enjoyed all the bits of history that were included throughout the book, especially the places where parallels were shown between what historical Concord residents were feelings contrasted against people living in the present time who were feeling the same kind of emotions or thinking similar thoughts. In addition, I found the scene where the author tries to reason with Dr. Roland’s ghost rather humorous.

My favorite parts of this book were the pieces of the author’s own life and the historical information. The story’s subplot with Richard Hazzard and Sarah Simon was an interesting addition to this novel. However, I felt that these sections sometimes took away from the most exciting aspect of the story, which was the author’s spiritual and writer’s life in Concord and the everyday lives of Concord’s famous historical writers.

Honor in Concord: Seeking Spirit in Literary Concord is a unique combination of historical fiction and memoir that will enchant readers with personal stories and interesting historical facts. The author’s ability to combine these different writing elements into a cohesive and entertaining storyline makes this a must-read for those interested in authors like Hawthorne, Emerson, Thoreau, Fuller, and Alcott.

Pages: 240 | ASIN : B0B4G8LVL2

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