Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Laurie's Thoughts and Reviews: Fair Wind to Bahia by Tom Thorpe - Interview : Featured Author

Genre: Historical fiction, Mystery
Price: $16.95
  Published: Black Rose Writing
Release Date: February 2013
  Inventory Status: Ingram distributor 
ISBN 978-1-61296-163-7
Format: Paperback, 221 pages

When I managed Mars Missions for NASA, I was often asked, “do you believe in the face on Mars?” A fellow by the name of Hoglan made lots of money speculating on the possibility that the face was constructed by aliens. Such imaginings are not all crazy and have spurred the investigation of canals on the planet for hundreds of years. People strive to understand their environment and nothing excites the mind like solving a good mystery. Mankind seeks enlightenment, answers to the unknown, it is in his nature. No matter if you’re a scientist trying to understand the universe, a police detective solving a life or death case or just someone looking for missing car keys, we learn from the process and recover from our mistakes. So my answer to “do I believe there’s face on Mars” is, no, better camera resolution  shows it to be a mesa covered with rocks, but then again, what about those microbe fossils in the Allen Hill meteorite and traces of methane in the atmosphere?

I write historical mystery thrillers set around the world in the first half of the nineteenth century. The era was interesting and turbulent. Nations struggled with self-government, having emerged from colonialism or repressive monarchies. Word of the French and American revolutions spread worldwide. Tensions flared between traditional royalists and young radicals who promoted new ideas of democracy to free themselves from repressive social classes. As a result, conspiracies abounded and murders were common.

Into the mix, are thrust the Darmons, who solve mysteries occurring worldwide between 1820-1845. William and Elizabeth, her sister Emily and brother-in-law Charles and youngest sister, Victoria. They’re world traveling aristocrats whose money provides access, but encounters with other cultures make them truly “fish out of water.” The six novels are set in  England, America, Egypt, Canada, Brazil, Russia and India. 

 Finding a publisher for a select audience can take as much time for a new writer as writing his novel. Research is the key to publishing any historical book and today's Internet provides a wealth of sources. Publication of my first book came from shopping it around along with the ten thousand other writers seeking publication in this country every day. The now defunct PortTown Publishing Company originally published the first four novels of the Darmon series. However, they went out of business in 2006. Consequently, Black Rose Writing began releasing the new series in reverse order, starting with the previously unpublished Book 6: Without Redemption (2009) set in India and Book 5: Desperate Crossing (2010) set in Russia of the 1840’s. Book 4: Fair Wind to Bahia set in Brazil and Book 3: Patriote Peril (2011). Book 2: The Forth Conspiracy came out January of this year. 

After publication is secured, marketing began. Prior to a book’s release, advance work included setting up reviews, writing press releases, scheduling book signings, and seeking ways to create publicity. Agents and publicists can help, but chances are one has to work their way up the sales ladder to get noticed by major catalogs. Once a paperback is published, an author should be prepared to meet and greet at bookstores over the following year. This can be fun, as said on the TV show, Pawn Stars: “You never know what is going to come thru that door.” Recently, a father and two teenaged sons passed by my table. I asked, “How about a mystery?” to which he responded: “No thanks, I’m here for a specific book, something like How to Coach Soccer for Dummies”. One of his sons, looking perplexed, burst out: “So you think we’re dummies?” Another question I often get is: My son reads everything, is this book appropriate for an 8 year old?”

In conclusion, let me say that historical events are often ignored when presented in textbooks. People sometimes think our ancestors were primitive and uneducated because they lacked today's technology. Unless one experiences the reality of past circumstances thru historical novels, their true relevance may be missed. I hope the Darmon series enlightens readers to challenges of the time.

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