Interview with Author T.J. London & Giveaway


Hello T.J. and welcome to Passages to the Past! Thanks so much for stopping by today to talk with us!

To begin, can you please tell us a little about yourself and The Rebels and Redcoats Saga?

Well… where to start. It really was not my intention to write a historical book, much less a saga. It was all a bit happenstance. Does anyone ever actually admit that? I guess I just did. To be quite honest, I dawdled as a writer but never did anything serious. How I ended up writing the Rebels and Redcoats series, I think, is rather interesting, and perhaps a bit inspiring. In the real world I am a pharmacist PhD with a specialty in neurology, and I used to work in a neurosurgical intensive care doing research and treating patients. That was my true passion. Not so very long ago, tragedy struck my life and I was forced to leave my job and my research behind. In one moment my whole career went from being amazing to shambles just because I was asked to speak on behalf of a patient and a co-worker that had been harassed. It’s a long story, and much too long to tell here. Suffice to say, I walked away from everything I’d worked my whole life for and my reputation was trashed in the process. I started going to counseling, unable to deal with the irreparable damage I did to my career and my future by just speaking the truth. I just couldn’t understand how this happened when I did the right thing. My amazing and rather un-orthodox councilor suggested I take up journaling; she thought it would help me cope. But I just couldn’t, so instead she recommended I do creative writing to help me find an outlet for my anger and frustration, hence the birth of The Rebels and Redcoats Saga. Week by week, I would come with pages and together we would pick apart scenes and get at the heart of my internal pain. So in truth, hidden underneath John and Dellis’s story is mine, though not quite as exciting or steeped in drama. Through this process I learned to make peace with what happened to me and inevitably move on, but in a healthy way.


What other research did you undertake when writing The Rebels and Redcoats Saga?

It took me five years to write and release The Tory and The Traitor, and during that whole process I was researching and adding facts with each round of edits. At one point both my copy editor and concept editor had to make me stop. I am a researcher by profession, so it’s in my blood to overdo it, and I am a perfectionist too so that doesn’t help. Art is never truly finished it’s merely abandoned, so they say, well I have a hard time abandoning. I traveled to all the sights listed in these books from Fort Stanwix to Fort Niagara and Colonial Williamsburg, just to name a few locations. I read a plethora of books about the time period and I met with historians from Fort Stanwix, Niagara and at Colonial Williamsburg. I also spoke with the historian at the Oneida Nations Museum which was absolutely fascinating.


Did you come across anything in your research that surprised you or sent you down a research rabbit hole? 

YES!!! I didn’t know about the Iroquois Nation and the political wrangling between the British and the Americans that ultimately led to the dissolution of the three hundred year old confederacy. I had no idea about the Battle of Oriskany and how many natives gave their lives to help our new nation be born. The Oneidas were our first allies before the French, yet why aren’t they celebrated for their sacrifice? This was hidden history and I felt I had stumbled on an incredible jewel our teachers neglected to tell us about. So I decided to take it on, but in the backdrop of my love/revenge story. Fiction always makes a sad truth more palatable yet it also provokes us to question. We need to ask the hard truths of our nation’s history so that we learn from them or we are doomed to repeat.

What is it about the American Revolution that fascinates you?

All of it. It was the Age of Enlightenment when everyone was questioning the so called God-given-rights of Kings and Queens. That all men are created equal is a beautiful idea, now if we could only exercise that as our amazing fore fathers intended. It was a time of complex thinkers and incredibly brave men willing to fight for the idea of being free. But to boil them down to one simple view does an injustice to the dichotomy of their character. I love to research the Revolutionary War because we see the complexities of these men, not the flatness that the media and books often portray. This was not a war of simply bad Redcoats against good Rebels. Many of the Redcoats were hired, and fought to pay for their lives and their families. Too often we portray war as us against them, but in truth it is really us against us.

Now off my soap box with a bit of girly author confession, I love the hairstyles and the look of the Georgian Era. What’s not sexy about a man with long hair and waistcoats? LOL.


What would you like readers to take away from reading The Rebels and Redcoats Saga?

There were good people on both sides of war. Any war! That the same values and truths we hold dear are universal to all people and time periods. If we look into history, the true history, not the mocked up happy version we want to see, and all things can be explained. And love really does conquer all if we open our heart to it.

How much of the books are fact and how much is fiction? Do you try to stay as close to the historical record as possible? 

John Carlisle and Dellis McKesson’s story is fiction, but what was going on with the Oneidas and the Six Nations is all true. The meetings with John Butler, the political wrangling between the American’s and the British, and the indecisiveness of the Oneida is fact. In The Turncoat, I actually used documentation and real life accounts to stage some of the battle scenes as well as the final outcome of the story. But you must stay tuned to see what that is.

What was your favorite scene to write?

Ohh… How to say this and not spoil anything? Let’s just say it took place in a whorehouse in Book #2 The Traitor. Yeah, that was fun. It results in a very heated yet playful argument, and John Carlisle is his deliciously, naughty scoundrel self to the extreme. Poor Dellis, my heroine, so many secrets revealed at one time it’s mind blowing. But she’s a tough cookie and in the end she triumphs in that scene. Watching how these two lovers duke it out was tons of fun for me as an author. They told me how they wanted that scene to go, and I just followed along.

What was the most difficult scene to write?

Gonna have to pass here don’t want to spoil the scene. But it was scary and sad, and all too real.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

When I was a little girl I was plagued with nightmares. My mother told me to replay a movie or a favorite book in my head and then create my own ending to it, the one I would like to see. That's when I started really being creative. Hence I wrote like five versions of Mary Poppins in my sleepless childhood nights. LOL. Still love P.L. Travers today. I wrote my first book when I was fifteen, but again, I never pictured myself publishing and being an author.


What has been your greatest challenge as a writer? Have you been able to overcome it? 

I had many industry individuals shake their heads at me and tell me this saga just wouldn’t work the way I wrote it. It needed to be softer, more romantic, less graphic. More tropes. Yadda Yadda. The woman should be the primary protagonist. The story is too dark. John must switch sides from being a Redcoat to a Rebel. It goes on and on. And I am not kidding.

I have learned that just because someone tells you something isn’t good, doesn’t mean that it isn't. Everyone has an opinion and they will give you it whether you want it or not in this business. But it’s your art—your art. And for better or worse, it’s the story this author, me, had to tell. So, I looked high and low and found people I trust to guide me through this process. That’s what helped me overcome, and continue to overcome. I can be my own worst critic and my hardest reviewer. My team keeps me grounded and focused by giving me the hard truths and the appropriate praise when I need it.

So here I am. T.J. London, an author. Who would have thought?

Who are your writing inspirations?

John Jakes-The Kent Family Saga was my favorite as a girl. Hence my love of the Revolutionary War.

Kathleen Woodwiss-Her prose just moves me to tears and I love her long, drawn out love stories.

Kerrigan Byrne-Her books are so good she makes me cry. I just love her stuff. Her characters are so real, and her writing is so visceral. Perfection in a historical romance.

Donna Thorland-I love her Revolutionary War books. They just make my revolutionary author heart smile every time I read one, and she packs so many facts into her books its awe inspiring.

What was the first historical novel you read?

John Jakes’s The Bastard. I still have that copy and I still love it to this day. I chose the American Revolution for my time period because of this series. I even love the TV show from the 70’s. LOL. Roger DeLancie’s name was chosen in homage to John DeLancie who appeared as a character in the Kent Family Saga. And in the current book I’m writing, I named a character Phillip Kent in honor of this series. It made a huge impression on me as you can see.

What is the last historical novel you read?

The Royal Navy during the Seven Years War. I know, heavy duty, but it’s for my next book.

What are three things people may not know about you?

1. I am afraid of shaking hands. I have an a phobia. So if I meet you and don’t shake your hand it’s not personal.

2. I am a method writer. (not actor) I actually will try to mentally become a character before I write them. Often I can only write one full scene a night, especially if it’s mentally draining. I draw from my personal pain to try to reach the emotional in my readers.

3. I call my writing brain John. I chose the name because he was the first main character I ever wrote that really spoke to me. LOL. When I sit down to write I always ask him, “What shall we write today, John? Tell me your story. Give me your beautiful words.”

What historical time period do you gravitate towards the most with your personal reading?

Definitely Colonial American, French Revolution, Civil War, War of the Roses and Tudor.

What do you like to do when you aren't writing?

I love to travel and my current job has me everywhere. I’ve been all over the world which is just amazing. I love to work out: barre, cycling, lifting. I do it all. Also, I love to spend time with my friends. They were the lifeline that got me through the hard times, and they’ve kept me going on this writing/author journey.

Lastly, what are you working on next?

So exciting! Man of War, my prequel to the mystery of The Tory, The Traitor and The Turncoat. But I can’t say much here or I’ll spoil it. After that I will be writing Alexei McKesson’s story The Rebel.

Sounds fascinating! Thank you for being here, TJ! I wish you the best on your blog tour!


The Tory by T.J. London

Publication Date: April 11, 2018
Peperback & eBook; 517 Pages

Series: The Rebels and Redcoats Saga, Book #1
Genre: Historical Fiction


It is the winter of 1776, and Captain John Carlisle, one of His Majesty’s not-so-finest, has gone back to the scene of the crime to right a wrong so dark it left a permanent stain on what was once an illustrious career and left a man broken, defeated, in search of justice…

In an effort to win back his commission, he must discover the true nature of the relationship between the Six Nations of the Iroquois and the Colonial Army. Undercover as a war profiteer, John travels to the treacherous Mohawk River Valley and infiltrates local society, making friends with those he’s come to betray.

But a chance meeting with a beautiful half Oneida innkeeper, whose tragic history is integrally linked to his own, will provide him with the intelligence he needs to complete his mission—and devastate her people.

Now, as the flames of war threaten to consume the Mohawk Valley, John has the chance to not only serve King and country, but to clear his name. When the truth he uncovers ties his own secrets to those in the highest positions of the British military and threatens the very life of the woman he’s come to love, he will be forced to make a choice…

"The pages fly as you immerse yourself in this fantastic adventure." - RT Book Reviews

Available on Amazon

The Traitor by T.J. London

Publication Date: October 26, 2018
eBook; 574 pages

Series: The Rebels and Redcoats Saga, Book #2
Genre: Historical Fiction


Spy. Liar. Scoundrel. Redcoat.

Provocateur and spy for His Majesty, Captain John Carlisle returns to Fort Niagara with the secrets he stole in the arms of the beautiful Oneida innkeeper, Dellis McKesson. Determined to complete his mission and clear his name, he’ll see justice done—and damn the consequences. Now, he finds himself drawn into political intrigue as the British prepare to launch a three-pronged attack that will bring the Rebels and the Mohawk River Valley to its knees.

A dangerous revelation finds Dellis as whispers of intrigue insinuate her beloved is not all that he seems. Unwilling to wait for her lover’s return, she sets out in search of the truth as the Onieda begin negotiations with the Rebels, breaking the neutrality agreement with the crown. A bold move that will stoke a fire between the brother tribes and lead to a bloody inter-confederacy war—one Dellis predicted, and one John incited.

While war between the colonies and the King smolders, the punishing winter of 1777 allows the perfect opportunity for old enemies to settle scores, lying in wait, ready to exploit John’s one weakness—his heart. John is not an innocent man. The truth he’s long tried to hide from can no longer be ignored, the ghosts of the past seeking justice, and karma wanting payment for sins so dark they cannot be forgiven.

Available on Amazon

About the Author

T.J. London is a rebel, liberal, lover, fighter, diehard punk, and pharmacist-turned-author who loves history. As an author her goal is to fill in the gaps, writing stories about missing history, those little places that are so interesting yet sadly forgotten. Her favorite time periods to write in are first and foremost the American Revolutionary War, the French Revolution, the French and Indian War, the Russian Revolution and the Victorian Era. Her passions are traveling, writing, reading, barre, and sharing a glass of wine with her friends, while she collects experiences in this drama called life. She is a native of Metropolitan Detroit (but secretly dreams of being a Londoner) and resides there with her husband Fred and her beloved cat and writing partner Mickey.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, November 5
Interview at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, November 6
Review at For the Sake of Good Taste (The Tory)

Wednesday, November 7
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books
Feature at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Thursday, November 8
Review at Hoover Book Reviews

Friday, November 9
Review at Pursuing Stacie (The Tory)
Excerpt at Donna's Book Blog (The Tory)

Tuesday, November 13
Review at Jorie Loves a Story (The Tory)
Review at For the Sake of Good Taste (The Traitor)

Wednesday, November 14
Excerpt at Spellbound By History

Thursday, November 15
Feature at Donna's Book Blog (The Traitor)

Friday, November 16
Review at LadyJ's Bookish Nook (Both)
Review at Pursuing Stacie (The Traitor)
Review at Jorie Loves a Story (The Traitor)

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away 3 sets of both books in Paperback, 3 sets of both books in eBook, and a $50 Amazon Gift Card! To enter, please see the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on November 16th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to readers in the US & Canada only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

TJ London


No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails
 

Passages to the Past
All rights reserved © 2013

Custom Blog Design by Blogger Boutique

Blogger Boutique