Publication Date: July 7, 2014
Soul Mate Publishing
Genre: Historical Fiction
After surviving war, young Mary Catherine is torn from her home and thrust into a strange new life when her family decamps for Brazil rather than live with the terms of Reconstruction. Shortly after arrival in Brazil, she is orphaned, leaving only maternal uncle Nathan to care for her. He hates Mary Catherine, blaming her for his beloved sister’s death following a childish mistake. He is also a man with an incredible secret that he will go to great lengths to protect. When the opportunity for Nathan to be rid of her arises, Mary Catherine faces either forced marriage to an unsuitable man or flight into the wilderness containing jaguars and enclaves of people with much to hide. Mary Catherine chooses escape. Finding refuge among strangers who become her surrogate parents, she matures into a beauty who marries the scion of a wealthy Portuguese family. At last, Mary Catherine has happiness and security until civil unrest brings armed intruders with whom she has an inexplicable connection. When the thugs murder her husband for failing to meet their demands, she directs them to her uncle and his secret in order to save herself and her in-laws. With the danger passed, however, her husband’s family demands that she is arrested for complicity in her husband’s murder. Innocent and betrayed by family for a second time, Mary Catherine must now fight for survival. Mary Catherine is rescued from the gallows by friends, but cannot remain in Brazil. She boards a ship bound for New York with little money and without a home to return to, a family to welcome her, or a nation from which to claim citizenship. Her father never took the loyalty oath required of all former Confederates in order to have their citizenship restored. Once again, she must recreate herself in order to survive. In old age, Mary Catherine is still haunted by the long ago events for which she feels responsible. After a lifetime trying to forget, she seeks peace, understanding, and the ability to forgive through writing her story, Confederado do Norte.
Interview with Linda Bennett Pennell
What do you do when you are not writing?
When not writing, you can find me singing with the Texas Master Chorale, working as a substitute administer for the local school district, and volunteering with my church and local arts organizations.
How important is history to your stories?
History is the foundation upon which my stories are built. I always start with real events and/or characters and create my work of fiction around them.
What about that era appeals to you?
My story, Confederado do Norte, takes place from Reconstruction through the beginning of World War II. The last half of the 19th century through the first half of the 20th was a particularly important era in history. It ushered in the modern world, and we in the US, finally began to figure out what we stand for as a nation and who we are as a people.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your stories?
Ideas for stories are everywhere. All one must do is be open to them and be ready to play "let’s pretend” with what one finds. Since I write historical fiction, research is a tremendous part of my process.
Something personal about you people may be surprised to know?
In an earlier portion of my life, I had close personal relationships with true gangsters. They are not the type I wrote about in Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel or my current work in progress, however. Sadly as a school administrator, I had students who were members of street gangs, primarily Latin Kings, Crips, and Bloods.
What do you like to read?
Historical fiction and mysteries, of course!
What’s the best thing about being a writer?
The creative process give me tremendous joy.
What’s the worst thing about being a writer?
Marketing - hands down! If writers could just write, our lives would be sooooo much easier.
If your book went to Hollywood, which actor/actress pair would you want to play your main characters?
Since Mary Catherine had fair skin and auburn hair, we might have to ask English actress Keira Knightly to dye her hair or wear a wig. For Gustavo, I kept visualizing Nacho Figueras, the real life polo player who models for Ralph Lauren. That is one beautiful man!
What type of scene is the hardest to write? Love? Action? Racy? Etc.
I just cannot make myself write on-screen sex. I find having the door closed much more alluring!
Which character that you have created, if any, is the most like you? How?
I suppose there is at least a little bit of the writer in each character she/he creates, though none of my female characters are particularly like me. Meg in Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel and Mary Catherine in Confederado do Norte are based on the strong women in my life who survived very hard times and came out of them triumphant. That list includes my mother, mother-in-law, stepmother, and several aunts. Liz Reams, the main character history professor in the present day chapters of Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel, has grown a lot as she now appears in my work in progress and I suppose comes closer to who I am. She works hard, loves history, and holds family and the man in her life very close to her heart.
If you weren’t writing books, what would you be doing for a career?
I have always been, am now, and always will be an educator.
How many books have you written? Do you have a favorite?
I have completed four books: Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel (2013, Soul Mate Publishing), Confederado do Norte (2014, Soul Mate Publishing), Casablanca: Appointment at Dawn (coming in 2015 from The Wild Rose Press), and The Calling (my first and not yet ready for prime time). I hope to bring out my present work in progress, Miami Days, Havana Nights, in 2016. Just as a mother does not have favorite children, I do not have a favorite book baby. Each is special in its own way. This is probably because, while I write historical fiction, the eras and themes vary from book to book.
Buy the eBookAmazon
About the AuthorI have been in love with the past for as long as I can remember. Anything with a history, whether shabby or majestic, recent or ancient, instantly draws me in. I suppose it comes from being part of a large extended family that spanned several generations. Long summer afternoons on my grandmother's porch or winter evenings gathered around her fireplace were filled with stories both entertaining and poignant. Of course being set in the American South, those stories were also peopled by some very interesting characters, some of whom have found their way into my work. As for my venture in writing, it has allowed me to reinvent myself. We humans are truly multifaceted creatures, but unfortunately we tend to sort and categorize each other into neat, easily understood packages that rarely reveal the whole person. Perhaps you, too, want to step out of the box in which you find yourself. I encourage you to look at the possibilities and imagine. Be filled with childlike wonder in your mental wanderings. Envision what might be, not simply what is. Let us never forget, all good fiction begins when someone says to her or himself, "Let's pretend." I reside in the Houston area with one sweet husband and one adorable German Shorthaired Pointer who is quite certain she’s a little girl. Favorite quote regarding my professional passion: "History is filled with the sound of silken slippers going downstairs and wooden shoes coming up." Voltaire For more information please visit Linda Bennett Pennell's website. You can also connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.
Confederado Do Norte Blog Tour Schedule
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Tuesday, February 24
Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Wednesday, February 25
Review at Book Babe
Interview & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Obsession
Thursday, February 26
Review & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More
Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews
Friday, February 27
Review at With Her Nose Stuck In A Book
Monday, March 2
Character Interview & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Tuesday, March 3
Review at Book Nerd
Wednesday, March 4
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
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