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?
Purchase link: https://www.amazon.com/Abolitionists-Daughter-Kathleen-L-Maher/dp/1718026242
The Abolitionist’s Daughter book trailer link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Brp28ZTOWHo
Book blurb for “Love Brick by Brick” one of nine novellas in the Victorian Christmas Brides collection
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:
Thank you, Kiersti! I’m so blessed to be here today.
Congratulations on your recent Genesis Award win for your historical fiction! So exciting.
I look forward to interacting with your readers.
Thank you so much, Kathleen, and for being here! It’s a blessing to have you. 🙂
Great blog! I didn’t know that about the Iroquois and thought it was very interesting. The only “social justice warriors” that I know are my dad, who is a pastor and my disabled friend in college who was determined to get a degree no matter how many roadblocks people put in front of her. She was bound to a wheelchair, had trouble speaking, and moving her arms. Yet she was braver than anyone I knew, and she succeeded. And my dad has always stood up for people who face prejudice. He had a Jewish friend in school who he fought a group of boys over because they were making fun of him for being Jewish. They are my heroes!
I love this story Candace. Your dad sounds like an awesome guy.
And kudos to your friend for having the perseverance and determination to overcome. Thank you for sharing!
Thank you so much Kiersti for having me. I’m looking forward to interacting with your readers!
And a big congratulations on your Genesis Award! Praying that it opens wonderful doors to your exceptional historical fiction.
Both of these books are on my TBR. Thanks for the chance to win.
Thank you Susan! So awesome to hear.
Loved Brick by Brick. There was so many good stories in that one book. 9 wonderful stories. I can’t think of anything done like helping slaves in my family. Most i know i have stood up was for Babies rights. No abortion. I will continue to take a stand for it.
That is as righteous a cause as I know of, Diana. Life is sacred. I believe pro-lifers are modern day abolitionists. Thank you for sharing
I can’t think of any social injustice incident at the moment. Looking forward to reading both of these books. Thank you for sharing about them.
I shared your post, shared your trailer, follow you on FB and Pinterest and get your newsletter. Thanks again.
Hi Anne, thank you so much For visiting and for sharing! That is terrific. Sometimes heroism looks like holding the door for someone, or advocating for a child when they can’t make the right change at the grocery counter. I’ll bet you have been a hero many times over and don’t even realize 🙂
Yay!!! Kathleen is such a wonderful author and her writing will just make you all feel like your right there in the time period ! I just loved her first book set in the Civil War Period and I am sure these will be delightful !
Linda Marie Finn
Faithful Acres Books
Thank you Linda. You have been a faithful encourager through my writing journey. You are a blessing!
Social Justice… wow that would be my friend Lorinda, she is ever on a campaign of a cause or an election with a candidate that really wants to help the people. When she is not on that she is a mother to 3 she homeschools or some health-related reading… She really impresses me with all she does.
Linda Marie Finn
faithfulacresbooks @ gmail. com
Wow Linda, it sounds like your friend is a passionate advocate.
I would love to win either of these books. I love the cover of the abolitionist daughter.
Thank you Virginia. Good luck in the drawing!
I can’t think of anyone that was a social justice warrior that I know. I’ve always lived pretty rural. I enjoyed reading this. I loved The Victorian Christmas Brides Collection.
Hi Lucy, when I asked if anyone knew a social justice warrior I asked it a little bit tongue-in-cheek. Everyone knows someone who has looked after someone else. Whether a neighbor looking after an elderly neighbor, or speaking up for someone with disabilities, or protecting someone from being bullied. I bet you are a hero like that yourself.
I am currently engrossed in The Abolitionist’s Daughter. The descriptions and use of language bring to mind works not only written of the Civil War era but written in that era. Too much of today’s writings show the decrease of vocabulary that has occurred since the 1800’s. Kathleen has shown us what many have lost by her use of 19th century English. Thank you for making her writings available to wider audience through your blog.
Beej, that is so kind of you! Thank you. I’ve had to tone it down considerably over the years – – I am afraid I’ve been guilty of what other writers call “purple prose”. I hope I have made my narrative a little more accessible LOL
I’m so glad you are enjoying my story 🙂
I have always took up for the underdog regardless of the situation. I guess it’s just in me. I can’t stand to see someone take advantage of or make fun of someone. I have these books but if I win one of them I have two reading buddies that I pass my extras to.
Atta girl Brenda! That’s what I’m talking about. I think it takes all of us looking out for each other in this world. God bless you. And good luck in the drawing
I would never call myself a “social justice warrior,” so I don’t really have any stories to tell. Right now I am reading The Abolitionist’s Daughter. It’s great and hard to put down.
Thank you Kay. I use the term SJW with humor. I think really anyone who looks out for their fellow man is concerned with social justice. It’s the gospel after all to love our neighbors as ourselves. I think Jesus calls us all to be that. Our culture likes to put these funny labels on things, but Jesus was the original SJW 🙂
Drawing a blank on any particular social justice sort of event. I don’t really get out much. I’ve made a point in voting in every election since I turned 18. Counts for something to vote for laws and candidates that support what you believe in, right?
Amber, absolutely! Voting is a wonderful way to promote justice in our culture.
And I bet there are examples you’re not even aware of, like telling a child or grandchild not to pick on their younger siblings… It all counts 🙂
Not commenting to enter here since I’m the hostess :), but just wanted to join the conversation…I love hearing people’s stories, and I love your question of sharing about social justice warriors, Kathleen! Several friends come to mind who have taught me a lot in this area…my friend and critique partner Sandra Barnes, who always brings in multicultural issues and relationships through her YA stories and has taught me a lot about the diverse African American community and the power of friendship and spiritual battle in racial reconciliation…Mark Charles, who is a powerful advocate across the country for Native American issues and understanding our history and how it impacts us today, as well as racial conciliation and Jesus…and Delonte Gholston, another friend and now pastor in DC who continually challenges me with his calls to search our hearts for our own complicity in injustice, and yet equally his emphasis on the centrality of Christ and loving and accepting one another. There are many others, but these are definitely a few of my current social justice heroes! I look forward to hearing more of your stories, everyone! Blessings. 🙂
Hi Kiersti. I’m so glad you weighed on this. Your friends and associates sound like amazing people. I love especially the part where we are challenged to examine our own hearts for injustice. It’s so easy to allow experience and culture to overrule what Jesus has written on our hearts – – to love one another as he has loved us. I fall short At times.
One of my special passions is advocating for those with disability. Not in any professional sense. Probably more as an armchair hero, sharing information on social media. Just being a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves as an act of love and heroism.
“So easy to allow experience and culture to overrule what Jesus has written on our hearts”…so true and convicting, Kathleen!
I love your heart for those with disability. Those “little” ways of raising awareness can be so big, I think, gently and slowly affecting how we see and think. Social media, for all its flaws, can really have power in that way. Bless you, friend, for being a voice for those who often don’t have one! I know you bless the Lord’s heart. 🙂
I think of my sister who is fostering two sisters. It has not been an easy journey but I see the progress she is making in teaching the girls to become beautiful young women.
wow, Arletta. That’s a beautiful cause. God bless her and those sweet little girls.
Hi! Thanks for the opportunity to enter a giveaway! Would love to win a print copy of The Abolitionist’s Daughter! Thanks, again, and God bless!
Thank you Lual. Good luck in the drawing!
This book looks like a winner, and thank you for offering it. Social justice….well, a missionary acquaintance of mine in the Ukraine helped small children and orphans of that area, so two years in a row, I knitted about 80 mini Christmas stockings for her to give away to the rejected children, and I sent candy along in the package from the US to the Ukraine. The second year, the Ukraine was at war, but she said she received the box intact, praise the Lord! I also am in agreement with learning to read, and reading, and have participated in Friends of the Public Library’s book sales by handing out flyers to parents and children. In connection to the library, several times I’ve offered free knitting classes at the library, and have donated boxes of yarn to both the knitters and the local Salvation Army charity thrift store.
So, I hope those qualify as social justice warrior deeds.
Thanks again for this offer. Romans 10:8-13; John 3:16-21
Wow, Nancy. You have been busy doing wonderful works of kindness in your community! What a blessing you are. Every act of kindness is a mercy in our world. Good luck in the contest!
They look like great books! I would love to win one. But I definitely want to come to the next signing. Good for you for writing a great book.
hi, Bonnie! Thank you for coming by.
I hope to have a signing Dec 2 at the Under the Dome fair, and possibly one at the Arnot Mall on the weekend of Black Friday. I’m thrilled you would like to come! Thank you.
Good luck in today’s drawing here.
Thank you to everyone who came out to the blog hop this week. It’s been a fascinating discussion on helping others and being a “Social justice warrior” like my heroine, Marietta Hamilton. You all are wonderful, generous souls.
I have the winner, drawn by random.org, and it is Bonnie Schilling. Congratulations, Bonnie. I will get a hold of you today and arrange for you to receive your signed copy.
Most special thanks to Kiersti for having me as your guest this past week. You are a blessing! Congratulations once again on your recent good news, and enjoy the Genesis Award limelight! You deserve it. 😉
Thank you so much for being here, Kathleen, and to everyone for participating! It’s been a joy to have you, and I’ve loved reading these stories, from past and present, of people truly being Jesus’ hands and feet in this world. 🙂 <3
They look wonderful! I can’t wait to read them!