G.S. Boarman is the author of the historical fiction One April After the War, which takes place just after the Civil War. Today we have an excerpt with us plus the opportunity to get to know him better in an interview. Download your own copy and then follow the tour for even more and some bonus chances to enter the giveaway. Best of luck to you!
When Mary Warner is requested to attend a meeting with her estranged godfather, President Ulysses S. Grant, she quickly finds that an invitation from the office of the President is an offer she can’t refuse.
Fresh from concluding a counterfeiting sting in Cincinnati, Secret Service agents Merritt and Argent are tasked by the President to convince Miss Warner to return with them to Washington, D. C. For the two Treasury agents, this simple assignment to escort the socially awkward and willful young woman on an 800-mile railroad journey from Louisville, Kentucky to the White House proves far more interesting and difficult than the men could have ever thought possible. And, in the face of danger, it may just turn out that Mary is more of an asset than a problem for the two agents.
For Mary Warner, the trip begins to take on a sinister meaning as she finds herself virtual prisoner to Merritt and Argent. Madness, morality, and murder all swirl in a strange April storm at midnight turning this odd odyssey into something so much more than a mere trip between cities.
Read an excerpt:
She was always slow to realize the magnitude or importance or sacrifice of any kindness or gesture, and now she realized, years too late, that in the middle of a war, with sons dying and stretched between the demands of both the farm and his duty to the Union, her father had stopped for a moment to collect this picture for her. More and more, with each year added to her age, she was beginning to see herself as perhaps others had always seen her – selfish and ungrateful and incapable of natural feelings.
Read another excerpt at Andi’s Book Reviews.
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Describe your book in one sentence or fewer than 25 words.
Two men come to know a strange woman amid mysterious mishaps and the usual delays during an epic Reconstruction-era train journey on an iconic railroad.
What was the inspiration behind this book?
Three separate occurrences, years apart; old, remembered conversations and stories from childhood; random family heirlooms I’ve held on to for decades; the ever-present sound of train whistles my whole life.
The three separate occurrences happened years apart, but it was the last that seemed to be a catalyst, and everything came together to form a germ of a story:
My older daughter was diagnosed late with ADD, after several other developmental diagnoses. I wondered what it was like for children in the past, before ADD had a name much less any treatment, so I began to research the history of ADD.
My mother had given me a book on the family history of my paternal grandmother. There was a lot of interesting material in this book, but especially I found the name of my protagonist: Mary Eulalia, or Lally.
My younger daughter, after watching a show that mentioned the Secret Service, asked me what the Service did. I began to research the Secret Service.
What kind of research did you have to do for it?
I read every book I could find on counterfeiting and the Secret Service, on Reconstruction, on railroad technology of the 19th century in general and on the B&O (Baltimore & Ohio) Railroad in particular. I also researched ADD (though it was not known as that) but that is not specifically addressed until Book III. I obsessively read the newspapers of the time, to get a feel for the language and what was important and of interest to Americans at that time, to get the weather just right for each day and in each town, to find the RR schedules and to follow the counterfeiting cases.
What was one of your favorite scenes?
When in Cincinnati, Lally (or M, as she becomes known) inadvertently insults one of that city’s most revered spaces at that time – Spring Grove Cemetery. She is arrested for what was considered indecent behavior (wearing trousers; though under her skirt, it became known that she had them on). It is nearly impossible to understand what so much fuss could be about trousers, but it was considered indecent and even immoral (i.e., against God’s will). The scene follows her through the arrest process and her admittance to the Hamilton County Jail; from there she was to be sent to the workhouse, if she could not pay her bail. This is the first of three crises that M (and her escorts, Secret Service operatives Merritt and Argent) must pass through on their journey from Louisville, KY to Washington, DC. This scene shows the nearly complete lack of power women at that time had and the complete lack of respect some women at that time could expect from society at large.
Why should we read your book?
I hope that I have written a book that is both thought-provoking as well as exciting, one that appeals to both men and women. I believe I created a female character that a lot of women will find relatable, or anyone who does not quite fit in the pigeon hole that society has made for them. She is not some kind of iconoclast, bent on reshaping the world, or changing opinions; she is simply someone who struggles with her place in the world, with how much she is willing to bend to fit and just what she absolutely refuses to submit to.
On what are you currently working?
The first three books in the M. Warner Annals are complete and available (Amazon):
One April After the War: Louisville to Cumberland
One April After the War: Cumberland to Washington
The Will of the Turntable: The Way Home
I am currently working on Book IV in the series (as yet unnamed).
What does your upcoming release schedule look like?
The first book and its companions will be available for purchase in mid-March. This is to give prospective buyers a chance to have the book in hand to begin on April 1 (each chapter corresponds to one day in April).
When not writing, what can we find you doing?
My other passion is gardening and landscaping. I learned from a brother (everyone’s favorite, who has already left us) that the yard you have doesn’t have to be the yard you’re stuck with. I have completely transformed my yard, terracing it into three different levels, a pond and another water feature we call The Canal, rooms marked off with fencing and retaining walls, and, of course, flowers – thousands of jonquils and other perennials and annuals.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
A very fortunate happenstance is coinciding with the release of One April After the War that I would like to point out: April 1870 (the time of the book) and April 2022 are exactly the same. That is, April in both years begins on Friday, Easter of both years is April 17th (this is an important date in the book), and the full moon in April of 1870 (the 15th) is only 24 hours different from April 2022 (the 16th).
If anyone has any questions, please visit my website, gsboarman.com, and leave a message.
About the author:
After the death of G. S. Boarman, a great niece cleaned out the old Kentucky family farmhouse and in the attic, amid the rusting coffee mill, the rickety outdated furniture that was still awaiting repairs, and the stacks of vermin-eaten Harper’s Weekly’s and Police Gazette’s, she found a curious box marked simply “M”.
On the kitchen floor, the metal hasps were flipped back and the top pried off. Lying on the top of a very neat and orderly collection of things was a scrapbook and lying loose inside the scrap book was a note that said simply, “Please finish the story.” The scrapbook itself contained a rough outline of a narrative with sometimes undecipherable glosses and cryptic references to mysterious sources.
From letters and notebooks, ledgers and calendars, train schedules and stockholders’ reports, the story was slowly extracted and pieced together, and the small treasures, carefully wrapped and preserved in the box, took their place in the narrative.
Boarman’s will had already been read, probated, and executed, but the niece, as executrix, felt obligated to fulfill Boarman’s last wish — to breathe life into the long-ago story of a woman who held some importance to Boarman.
G.S. Boarman will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.a Rafflecopter giveaway