Today I’m delighted to host a new writer friend, Kathleen Maher! We have connected through being regular contributors on the Heroes, Heroines, and History blog, as well as a common interest in Native American history and racial reconciliation, which all weave into our stories. I hope you enjoy getting to know her as much as I have! Make sure to read to the bottom for a chance to WIN a copy of one of Kathleen’s books, as well as participate in a raffle with a variety of prizes!
Author Kathleen Maher, guest blogger
Writing inspiration can come from almost anywhere. People-watching, past experiences, family history… I have written from all of the above, but one influence has dominated—my hometown history. Elmira NY is rich in unexpected ways, historically. From the indigenous people who lived here, to the area’s prolific activity on the Underground Railroad, and through the many ways this little town was a forerunner in women’s advancement, a common theme emerges. The progressivism of the nineteenth century—advancements in equality and minority rights—was fostered in interesting ways here, but some epic fails also coincided. My hometown’s march through history has left footprints in each of my stories.
Iroquois history was and remains a vital part of NY public school curriculum. I recall visiting museums with dugout canoes, arrowheads, metadis and corn grinders, and learning about the Iroquois’ matriarchal society and brilliant system of government, even building replicas of long houses. What they didn’t teach in grade school was the genocidal campaign during the Revolution under General Sullivan at Newtown battlefield—where the Continental Army wiped out the Iroquois under Joseph Brant for siding with the British. In my Christmas novella, “Love Brick by Brick,” my hero’s British grandfather served for King and Country at the Battle at Newtown. I have given my hero’s side of the family a very colorful backstory involving a common law marriage to an Iroquois woman with whom the grandfather had fallen in love as the British forces and the Iroquois fled together to Niagara after the battle. This affair sets up tensions between the hero and his father, and the resolution to my hero’s conflict comes partly through the mysterious native woman.
Elmira was also something of a sanctuary city in the days of the Fugitive Slave Law. Many of the town’s notary citizens, such as Jervis Langdon, Simeon Benjamin, Reverend Thomas K. Beecher, Dr. Nathaniel Smith, and Judge Ariel S. Thurston, were either abolitionists or sympathetic to emancipation. The city hid a very active Underground Railroad network.
In fact, an escaped slave named John W. Jones came to settle here and is reported to have helped over 800 people to freedom through the city and on to Canada. The people of Elmira were known to run bounty hunters and slave catchers out of town. A particular story tells of a business owner names Silas Haight. He operated Hathaway House and employed an escaped slave named “Colonel” Isaac Bird. Haight reportedly hid the Colonel from slavecatchers on numerous occasions.
In my Civil War romance The Abolitionist’s Daughter, some of these characters make a cameo appearance, such as John Jones and Reverend Beecher. The heroine is a bit of a crusader, attending Elmira Female College, an institution famous for being the first college to offer women the same bachelor’s degree as men. Marietta Hamilton shares her father’s passion for breaking the bonds of slavery, and in summer 1860 she attends a slave auction. Plans to purchase a soul’s freedom sets her on a collision course with Ethan Sharpe and his brother. Their horse-trader father has tasked them with purchasing a stable boy, and a bidding war commences. Outbid, Marietta schemes to win the boy’s freedom by any means necessary, even beguiling Ethan with feigned romantic interest. She loses her heart in the bargain but gains the hero’s steadfast allegiance. When war breaks out, she must face the consequences her meddling has set in motion. Is tearing apart one family worth reuniting another?
****I am delighted to offer a copy of one of my books to one lucky commenter. I would love to hear of a time in your life when you or someone you know tried to be a “social justice warrior”, and if your efforts had the outcome you hoped. Please be sure to leave your email in your entry so you can be notified if random.org selects your entry. Extra ways to enter: follow my author page on FB, sign up for my newsletter which can be found on my author page; follow me on Pinterest (see below), share my book trailer on social media (see below) and finally, share this post! Let me know how many you did. 😉
In addition, I am hosting a rafflecopter to be drawn at the conclusion of my blog tour just before Thanksgiving, with several prizes, including Ammy gift cards, books, and a Christmas goodie basket. Be sure to follow each stop on the tour to increase your chances of winning! (US residents only.)
Link to rafflecopter: http://gvwy.io/48sxkxc
Thank you, Kiersti, for being such a lovely hostess and allowing me to share about my upcoming releases.
Kathleen L. Maher has had an infatuation with books and fictional heroes ever since her preschool crush, Peter Rabbit. She has a novella releasing with BARBOUR in the 2018 Victorian Christmas Brides collection, featuring her hometown of Elmira, New York. Her debut historical, Bachelor Buttons, blends her Irish heritage and love of the American Civil War. She won the 2012 ACFW Genesis contest for her Civil War story, releasing this summer under a new title The Abolitionist’s Daughter. Kathleen shares an old farmhouse in upstate New York with her husband, children, and a small zoo of rescued animals.
on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KLMaherAuthor/
on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Mahereenie
and on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/kathleenlmaher
Book Blurb for The Abolitionist’s Daughter
The Abolitionist’s Daughter by Kathleen L. Maher
1860-1864 Shenandoah Valley, and Elmira, NY
The crusading daughter of a Washington politician comes between twin brothers as the country plunges toward Civil War. Horsemen from Virginia, the twins would defend their livelihood from her meddling kind. When love ignites, friends become enemies. Can the very girl who divided bosom brothers unite them again?
The Abolitionist’s Daughter book trailer link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Brp28ZTOWHo
Love Brick by Brick by Kathleen L. Maher
1857 Elmira, New York
SarahAnn Winnifred overcomes orphanhood apprenticing with pioneering doctors. Rufus Sedgwick, relocating his English estate, seeks help for his ailing Mum. Christmas reveals the secret wish of both hearts—for love.
Pinterest board for Victorian Christmas Brides Collection: