As a fan of 20th century American history, I recently was privileged to interview author Ramona Flightner and to learn how her Banished Saga series goes back in time to depict Boston around 1900. In particular, her writing reflects the status of women and immigrants in New England more than 100 years ago. The interview follows.
Wichita Snake is a planned novella (or novel, I really don’t know yet) about Glen Marshall, a former miner from Monongah, West Virginia who, in 1907, arrives in Wichita, Kansas shortly after his wife, Abigail Maris, is murdered at the hands of a cold-blooded crime syndicate. The syndicate manages a significant amount of business that occurs in temperance-era Kansas under the presumptive sponsorship of the Wichita Chamber of Commerce. The Wichita Snake himself, Old Smokey Jones, has established himself as a leading member of the chamber’s membership committee.
Glen Marshall, who will later become William Maddox, Arizona Ranger and great-grandfather to Billy Maddox, has fled the mining life in Monongah just after an unspeakable mine explosion that killed hundreds of men and boys.
Four days ago, CNN reported on an unexpected rise of families and children crossing the southwestern border. “Unexpected”, as in, border enforcement and statisticians were caught by surprise.
This is a far cry from a little over a year ago when, at the end of May 2014, CBS Houston reported that the Border Patrol had arrested more migrants in Texas’s Rio Grande Valley in the last eight months than they had made in the previous twelve.
This is a slightly edited blog post from one originally published in early June 2014, shortly after the CBS Houston report appeared.
If it’s true that everything is politics then I made a political move when I volunteered with Humane Borders in Tucson, Arizona in July 2003. It wasn’t my intent to be political. I was simply doing research for my Border Patrol novel, Billy Maddox Takes His Shot, on the U.S.-Mexican border.
As I have written elsewhere, the primary source of research for my novel came from that two-week trip to Arizona. Before I left my home in Washington, DC, I had reached out to the faith-based outfit, Humane Borders, which had been founded in 2000 to stem the tide of migrant deaths in the Sonoran Desert. Humane Borders places water jugs at pre-selected locations throughout the desert, claiming to meet a humanitarian need for those crossing the brutal, scorching terrain. It does not specifically endorse the migrants’ journey; the organization simply feels it would be nice if people didn’t unnecessarily die.
This post originally appeared in Summer 2014 for a now-retired blog called The Write Place.
I slipped off to the theater one night last year to check out the horror film, Oculus, starring Karen Gillan as Kaylie Russell and Brenton Thwaites as her younger brother Tim. As the film opens, Tim has just been released from a mental institution following the deaths of their parents ten years ago. By the time I left the theater, I realized the story in Oculus is a lot like the stories of families in other horror movies. Think Poltergeist, The Amityville Horror or The Conjuring.
Both Kaylie and Tim are in their early 20s now and, upon Tim’s release, Kaylie offers him a quick, welcoming hug before reminding him of the promise they made to each other just before he was stuffed into a police car and carted away for the murder of their father.
I was excited to recently connect with and interview Lisa Ann O’Kane whose debut young-adult novel, Essence, was released on June 3, 2014. I have known Lisa (virtually) since 2011 as we both, on different occasions, belonged to the same close-knit writers group in Denver, Colorado. Lisa has since moved to Florida and I to Maryland. However, we became friends through a mutual love of writing and it has been my pleasure to watch her exciting though sometimes challenging journey to publication.