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The Devastation of War

Andrew Tweeddale Author Interview

Of All Faiths & None is a coming-of-age tale focusing on the relationships of the characters and how they fall victim to the tragedy of a needless war. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I marched against the Iraq war and wanted to write a novel that showed the needlessness and brutality of war. The following year I visited Castle Drogo on Dartmoor. There is a room in the castle that is a shrine to the memory of Adrian Drewe, the eldest son of the tea baron who commissioned the castle in 1910. It seemed to me to be the perfect setting to tell a story about war. I wanted to introduce the reader to characters they would grow to like and then have each of these characters deal with the effects that war has on people’s lives. I therefore created a fictional story set around Castle Drogo that led up to the final tragedy of a lost generation.

Your characters are intriguing and well developed. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Thank you. I did not want to create stereotypes but rather rounded characters with flaws. I wanted to take ideals such as faith, duty, conscience and honour and see what would happen to characters when faced with the devastation of war. In many cases the ideals that the characters believed in are questioned or lost by the effects of the war on their lives.

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

The necessity of war and its consequences on those caught up by it. However, I also wanted to look at what drove people to enlist and how people dealt with tragedy.

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

The book I am currently writing looks at the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya and considers whether it is ever right to use torture and oppression to stop an enemy who uses the bloodiest tactics imaginable. It has a working title of ‘The Nuremberg Paradigm’ and should be completed within the next two years

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In the autumn of 1910 the famous architect, Edwin Lutyens, receives a letter from Sir Julius Drewe for the commission of a castle on Dartmoor – Castle Drogo. The design for the castle focusses on both the past and the present and reflects Britain, which at that moment is in a state of flux. Lutyens’ daughter, Celia, becomes enamoured with the project dreaming of chivalry and heroism. The following year Lutyens and his family are invited to a stone laying ceremony at Castle Drogo. Celia meets Sir Julius’ children: Adrian, Christian and Basil. Adrian has an unbending sense of duty and honour and is seen as a hero by Celia when he rescues a farmer from a fire.

The novel moves to 1914, and the start of the Great War. Christian Drewe returns from Austria where he has been working as an artist. He has reservations about joining up, unconvinced that the war was either necessary or right. He meets a nurse, Rose Braithwaite, when he is stuck at a railway station by fog. They subsequently meet again when Rose invites Christian to a party she is having for her birthday. Despite them being of different classes, there is a mutual attraction and during the evening they kiss. However, Rose is engaged and a fight breaks out between Rose’s fiancé, who arrives much later, and Christian. Both Rose and Christian decide never to see each other again. Christian’s moral conflict about enlisting comes to a head when he is handed a white feather – the sign of a coward. Eighteen months later, during the war, Christian is injured and is treated by Rose at a hospital on the front line. Both realise their mistake of following their heads rather than their hearts. Christian is sent back to a rehabilitation hospital in England where Celia is now working.

Adrian, when on leave, visits Christian and again meets Celia. The relationship is now one of equals. Celia, a headstrong young woman, decides that she must try and develop the relationship or risk losing Adrian. Adrian is torn between his desire for Celia and his need to protect his family, who are now having financial problems. The story moves from the battlefields of Flanders to Castle Drogo, where the characters are reunited for brief periods. Faith and love are stretched to their limits as each character is affected by the relentless brutality of the war. Of All Faiths & None is the story of a lost generation. It is a novel that focuses on the relationships of the characters until those relationships are shattered. It is a coming-of-age tale and a social commentary on the tragedy of a needless war.

Wasn’t That a Time

Wasn’t That a Time by Chip Hannay is riveting military romance novel set during the Vietnam War that touches on many aspects of life and struggles, including duty, passion, love, and camaraderie. The heart of the story focuses on Gid Bubchek, a Marine chopper pilot, and Ginger Lee, an enigmatic feminist, and the complicated emotions they experience together, in their respective positions, and within their relationship. The author candidly covers many challenging aspects of preparing for war and living in dangerous conditions while exploring diverse characters, their storylines, and their sense of humor.

Author Chip Hanny, a war veteran himself, gives the reader an authentic and unique perspective into soldiers’ lives leading up to the war and how they support each other the most during uncertain and challenging experiences. The author provides vivid details of overhead military helicopters and combat scenes amid the intense humanity throughout the story, despite the battle’s unfortunate circumstances and horrors. The book focuses heavily on character development, which carries most of the plot, and allows readers to get a close-up and raw look into their lives.

This is an excellent romantic thriller that is perfect for readers looking for a military fiction novel with a heart. I especially enjoyed this story because of its particular view of the Vietnam War and the way the story shows how it had a lasting impact on the generations of people that followed. This thought-provoking story gives readers a lot to reflect on about war and its effect on society. I recommend Wasn’t That a Time for the author’s ability to relay his experiences as a veteran into an entertaining book that contains a personal reflection on the impact of war. It’s a raw and explicit but thoughtful story that delivers a powerful message on the importance of camaraderie.

Pages: 253 | ASIN: B0B5HMFVHQ

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The Nephilim Project

The Nephilim Project: A Demon’s Chronicle is an intriguing historical/biblical fiction novel that focuses on demonic attempts to corrupt mankind throughout the ages. Starting at creation, we follow a servant of Satan, named Utoneious, as he records the events of early Old Testament figures like Noah and Moses, or more accurately, their less-famous family members who succumb to demonic temptation in one way or another. Over the course of Utoneious’s chronicles we are introduced to the Nephilim, creatures begotten by the mating of a demon and a human woman. The story eventually moves on to events of the New Testament, and then the Knights Templar of the Crusades.

The Nephilim Project is a visionary novel. The attitude of Utoneious is of someone who has a job to do, as opposed to someone hellbent on being evil for evil’s sake. As he observes mankind he also takes part in bureaucratic meetings with other demons, who are aptly described in horrific and beastly ways, but also have a certain diplomacy to them. The juxtaposition of the business-as-usual demonic conversations overlayed with something like the death of Christ is jarring, but amusing and entertaining.

I felt that author Steve O’Dell’s writing is a bit esoteric at times, but the story is still fascinating. The humans of the story are often driven by a loyalty or faith in God, but are corrupted through demonic interference, usually through an ancient relic. The demons themselves assail mankind with temptation rather than brute force more often than not, making their influence more subtle as man falls to greed, war, and other vices.

This is a spellbinding Christian fiction novel. I enjoyed the unique and fascinating mythology of this world and reveled in it’s creativity. Readers who enjoy historical fiction with a supernatural element, especially history centering on the time of the Crusades, will really enjoy The Nephilim Project.

Pages: 389 | ASIN: B01N2WJ4I9

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I Live Its Evolution

J. Arthur Moore Author Interview

Blake’s Story follows a boy who sets out on a quest for revenge but unknowingly embarks on a transformative journey instead. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

On a visit from his home in South Carolina, at age 10, my great-grandson, Bryson Brodzinski, asked it I would write a story he could be in and help to create. I agreed and we went out in the back yard for a photo shoot. This became the back cover of the book.

The following year on the weekend of his eleventh birthday, I went down to visit him and his family. He sat down at my computer and typed in the plot line for the story. That afternoon we went to Historic Brattonsville, a southern plantation at McConnells, South Carolina, for a photo shoot. This became the front cover for the book.

Thus, the setup for the story was created by Bryson. While it was intended that we would develop the story together through email, his schedule precluded this and I agreed to research and write the story based on his plot line, and include those pieces he had written the first time he came up with the request that I do the story.

Blake is an interesting character that I enjoyed watching develop throughout the story. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

I was guided by Bryson’s plot line with additional influence from my research into the history and the units involved in the story. Preconceived driving ideals are not so much a part of my writing. When I sit down with my manuscript my mind focuses on the story and I live its evolution and write what comes to mind. I have mentally gone into the world of the story and it evolves accordingly. I write as it evolves. There is little preplanning. Therefore, as the story evolved, Blake’s character evolved. There are times when something after the fact influences the story. In the case of Blake’s Story, that happened as a result of the photo shoots. Eight boys, in addition to Bryson, came to represent major characters within the story. My neighbor’s older boy became

Matthew. His brother became Tyler. All boys had connections from my neighbors who mowed my lawn to brothers who were Civil War musicians, to brothers who were members of the train club, to a boy who was the grandson of fellow member of the friends board for a National Historic Site, to another who was a volunteer persona at the site. The photo shoots took place after the book was first published and resulted in a minor character becoming a major character, thus resulting in a rewrite of part of the book. A second printing included the character photos and a rewritten story.

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

The most important “theme” was to stay true to Bryson’s plot line. Otherwise, I focused on the main character, Blake [Bryson’s middle name, by the way] and how he interacted with those around him and with events as they unfolded. I have been faulted by reviewers for not delving more into slavery. True, slavery was part of the culture in which Blake lived, but I chose to leave out any political issues and focus on family and the relationships that were more common to the times. Blake’s family and their slaves respected one an other and accepted their stations in life as the way things were during their times. By the nature of the story, revenge and forgiveness were driving themes from the beginning. It was up to me to see that they developed and the story evolved in a fulfilling manner. I am honored that some reviewers agree.

“Despite the relatively simple plot, the greater strengths of this book include the resonant theme which emerges from the book, and the stirring revelation that the common threads which bond the boys (and humanity) are far greater than the temporary divisions of war.” Hollywood Treatment “This well-crafted collaboration is engrossing, memorable and an excellent conversation-starter about the war’s ills, the drive for revenge, and the profound power of friendship and forgiveness.” Blue Ink Review

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

My most recent work has included the release of Summer at Stewart Creek, written 40 years ago and recently published December 1st 2020. It is a train themed story, which takes place in the imaginary realm of the Virginia and Truckee Railroad of West Virginia. The setting is recreated in miniature through my model railroad with photography of it being used to illustrate the book. A 40-page photo album of the railroad is included in the back of the book. Two other books have followed, both from manuscripts begun 40 years ago and related to the same setting and to another book, previously published in 2014 and republished in its 3rd edition in 2019, Summer of Two Worlds. Twelfth Winter, the sequel to Summer of Two Worlds was published June 1st 2021, followed by Stranded in Snow Shoe, the prequel to Summer of Two Worlds, on June 1st 2022. Both take place in the same setting as Stewart Creek and include overlapping characters. No new projects are planned for the foreseeable future.

Blake learns of his father’s death at the battle at Shiloh. He has to do something about it and decides to go to the war and kill the soldier who killed his father. But it’s not as simple as he thinks. Entering the war during the Kentucky Campaign of 1862 with the 2nd Tennessee under Brigadier General Patrick Cleburne, he later finds himself with the 31st Indiana under Brigadeer General Charles Cruft when he falls at Perryville. Friendship with an enemy soldier has unexpected consequences.

A War That Will End War

J.L. Feuerstack Author Interview

Over the Breadth of the Earth is the second book in your Saga of Fallen Leaves series. What were some new ideas you wanted to explore in this book that were different from book one?

Volume II sees the conflict between Heaven and Hell move into the modern era. I wanted to explore the interconnectedness of the past century and the changes that accompanied the world becoming ever smaller. In continuing the existential theme of the series, I wanted to explore if modernity is more or less isolating for the individual, as compared to previous eras of history. I also wanted to consider the desire for a “war that will end war” and the notion that a lasting conflict-free world could be established. This is the goal of humanity at the outbreak of the Great War and both sides of Celestial characters throughout the saga. In this volume, I really wanted to examine the compromises and sacrifices one is willing to make toward reaching such an end.

Did you plan your character’s development or did they grow organically as you wrote the story?

I started with a loose outline of how I wanted the characters to develop. However, I also left room for the situations they endured and their shifting motivations to guide them. In some instances, I was surprised by the growth of the characters. Many of the big decisions Schitz and Zinc made were not set in stone until I got to the critical point in their story.

What scene in the book did you have the most fun writing?

I really enjoyed writing the scene set to the folk song High Germany. The song has such contrasting emotions. In one stanza it mentions drinking in ale houses and getting married. In the next, it curses the “cruel wars” for sending England’s sons far from home. It felt like a perfect fit for the scenes of battle juxtaposed with the medical advancements associated with the outcomes of the battles. It was also very enjoyable because the song fits so well with the saga,which stretches over many eras. I love tying together different ages. High Germany was written either about the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714) or the Seven Years War (1756-1763), but it fits perfectly for the scene set during the Second World War. It was a lot of fun to incorporate the song into the story.

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

I’m currently editing And They Marched Up, Volume III of The Saga of Fallen Leaves and writing Volume IV. These volumes fit together with I & II like pieces of a puzzle. They’ll give insight into some of the minor characters from Volume I & II and expound upon many of the subjects from the series. And They Marched Up, Volume III should both be available in January 2023.

Author Links: GoodReads | Website | Twitter

Over the Breadth of the Earth presents the continuation of the eternal struggle between Angels and Demons. The story follows the on-going battle as God and Satan pit their armies against each other on an ever increasingly complex and global scale.

Lord Zinc II and Schizophrenia “Schitz” Incenderos Nervosa continue balancing their intricate existence while battling the enemy, coping with duplicitous elements within their own ranks, and trying to ensure their survival. Their rivalry stretches across the vast globe from the killing fields at Gettysburg to the barren steppe of Kursk and even into the treacherous streets of Fallujah.

Throughout, these bold cavaliers interact with some of the modern era’s fiercest fighting units (the Waffen-SS, the Viet Cong, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and more). Utilizing a myriad of ever evolving weaponry and coordination, Zinc and Schitz attempt to stay one step ahead of friend and foe alike.

Yet They Went to War

Author Interview
James D Nealon Author Interview

Confederacy of Fenians follows multiple characters through an alternative historical telling of the Civil War. I think this original idea is intriguing. How did you come up with this idea and develop it into a story?

I’ve always thought it was interesting to explore historical events from multiple points of view. I remember wondering long ago what the Galls thought of Julius Ceasar. It’s especially interesting during the American Civil War since culturally and linguistically northerners and southerners were so similar, yet they went to war and over 600,000 people died. The idea for this book came from combining my lifelong interests in the Civil War and Irish history, and my penchant for asking “what if?”.

With each chapter having a different point of view, were there any characters that you especially enjoyed writing for?

I love all my children equally. That said, I enjoyed writing from the perspective of John Lane since he was my real-life ancestor. I knew the bare outlines of his life so I found it rewarding to fill in the blanks. I also very much enjoyed writing the repartee between women and men – Viola and John Lane; Varina and Jefferson Davis; and Nelly and George McClellan. Those were some of the most satisfying parts to write.

How much research did you undertake for this book and how much time did it take to put it all together?

I’ve been reading about the Civil War since the early 1960s and about Irish history since the early 1970s, so it’s fair to say that 60 years of research went into the book. That said, I did almost no research specifically related to the story.  

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

I have a sequel to “Confederacy of Fenians” sketched out in my head, but I’m currently working on a collection of (hopefully humorous) essays and an unrelated screenplay, so the sequel will have to wait in line.  But if the public demand is strong enough…!

Author Links: GoodReads | Website

IN THE WAKE OF THE CONFEDERATE VICTORY AT GETTYSBURG, Britain declares war on the United States and invades from Canada. Seizing opportunity, Irish patriots in the Union Army ally themselves with the Confederacy and the British in exchange for a promise of Irish freedom following the war. Can Lincoln and the Union hold out against this powerful alliance? Success or failure rests on the shoulders of an unlikely but well-known figure.

What is The Way?

Corrine Ardoin Author Interview

A Place called The Way tells the story of a settlement in Pine Valley that has a holy and mysterious power that can bring healing and peace to those who call the valley home. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I had heard that Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” I wanted to explore that, asking the question, “What is The Way?”

Your characters are intriguing and well developed. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

I grew up in a small, rural community and loved the quirkiness of many individuals, everybody knowing one another and the history of the town. I wanted to create a place that was believable, as if you could really go there and meet those people and walk in that town. I wanted to create characters that were like people we know, not good guy, bad guy, but real people with real issues leading a many-faceted life, and to engender a sense of compassion for them.

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

Self-harm behaviors and what might cause that. Racism and what that experience is like for children going to school and growing up with neighbors who might harbor those types of feelings for them. Spirituality and healing, sexuality and young people, to explore these in a realistic and intimate manner.

Are you planning to write another novel in the Pine Valley series, or are you working on something different next?

I am currently working on Book Four of the Pine Valley series, The Valley of Dreams.

Author Links: GoodReads | Website

Little Jimmy Hart tosses handfuls of hay, watching them shine in the sun and scatter on the wind. Tears dry, yet the awful memory remains. He stomps his tiny cowboy boots, crushing the ants beneath his feet, when his mother quickly picks him up and hurries across the field. Outwardly, the four-year-old looks like the sweet child his mother knows, but within himself, something is lost. Marked by his abusive uncle, he turns angry and destructive. No one understands him except his grandmother. She’s the medicine woman for a tribe driven out of Pine Valley nearly one-hundred years ago. She knows the source of recurring tragedies befalling the Hart family. But, she’s not the only one…

A Place called The Way tells the story of a small settlement founded in Pine Valley. While generations have pondered its name, few realize it is more than just a town. It is a power both holy and mysterious that can bring healing and peace to all the wounded souls who call Pine Valley home. In their individual struggles to find their place in the world, the mystery of their untold secrets lead them at last to each other and, ultimately, to The Way.

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.
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