Interview & Giveaway: The Night is Done by Sheila Myers

Happy Monday, dear readers! Today on the blog I have an interview with Sheila Myers, who is currently touring the blogosphere for The Night is Done! She stopped by today to answer a few questions for us, and we also have a giveaway so be sure to enter!

Hello Sheila and welcome to Passages to the Past! Thanks so much for stopping by today to talk about The Night is Done!

To begin, can you please tell us a little about yourself and your writing?

I am a professor at a small community college in Upstate, NY where I teach ecology and coordinate the honors study program. I’ve published four novels and have a few in progress. The Durant family saga was my first foray into historical fiction and I believe my background in science assisted in my research. I also have an affinity for writing about the natural world and a majority of the setting for the novels is in the Adirondack mountains during the Gilded Age. People were flocking to the region to escape the pollution wrought by the industrialization of eastern cities.

The Night is Done is the 3rd book in your Durant Saga series. What inspired you to write the series?

I started to research the Durant family saga - after staying in a cabin hidden in the wilderness that was supposedly built by William West Durant for trysts with his mistress. What I thought would be a one book love story/romance, turned into a four-year research journey. This folklore about William and his mistress started me down a path of clues that shed light on the lives of the Durant family and had me visiting the New York Public Library, the Library of Congress, Winterthur Museum, the Adirondack Museum, and England. My one book idea turned into a trilogy.

What research did you undertake when writing the Durant Saga series?

I visited many libraries and museums combing through primary material consisting of letters, papers, and news articles. The most interesting find, however, was a sealed Durant divorce file from 1898, which I was able to find in a Manhattan courthouse and unseal. I was the first to discover the true reason for the Durant divorce which is revealed in The Night is Done.

What would you like readers to take away from reading the Durant Saga series?

How we choose to live our lives is our legacy. Money and prestige won’t matter in the end. What matters is how you treat other people and your family.

What was your favorite scene to write in The Night is Done?

The end when William, in his 80s, meets the people who used to work for him years earlier.

What was the most difficult scene to write?

The court scenes were difficult. I thought about times I’ve watched court scenes on tv and in books and what made them interesting was how people reacted to the questions from the lawyers. I tried to keep the pace moving along and I hope I did that well.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I think I’ve always wanted to be a writer but it took some prodding from a book club friend.

What does your daily writing routine look like?

I do most of my writing in the summer when I am off from work. Throughout the year I spend time doing research and writing ideas in journals. It takes me about a year to think a plot through and another few months of writing to get to a first draft. And then there is the travel. For my novel on submission, I visited the Great Smoky Mountains National Park a few times to gather material and a sense of location. I did that over breaks. It was a beautiful place to visit.

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

Mostly the time and resources it takes to conduct research. I am lucky that I have a primary job that pays well and allows me the time to do these things.

Who are your writing inspirations?

I enjoy Ann Patchett, James Michener, and one of my favorite books of all time is City of Thieves by David Benioff.

What was the first historical novel you read?

Probably Roots.

What is the last historical novel you read?

Daisy Jones and the Six – what a fun read.

What is one thing people may not know about you?

I open water swimming in a cold Finger Lake in the summer months.

What appeals to you most about your chosen genre?

I think my background in science leads me to be naturally curious and I like discovering new things about people and the world.

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

Lately, it has been the 1970s because I have a work in progress set in this time period. I was pretty young then so it is interesting to realize how much I didn’t know about what was going on around me. For example, I don’t recall the Vietnam War being discussed in our house or impacting us in any way. I don’t remember it being on the tv all the time. But everything I’ve read about tells me this is how it was. This goes to show how oblivious we are in youth.

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

Yoga and swimming.

Lastly, what are you working on next?

Two novels in progress: The Truth of Who You Are is out on submission. It explores the secrets families keep to protect what they hold dear. Ben Taylor narrates the story of his life, beginning when he is thirteen years old and growing up in the shadow of the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. His family are farmers who own most of Taylor Valley—land coveted by lumber companies, who want to exploit it, and the U.S. government, which is trying to buy up properties for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Ben’s father clings to what he owns, including a large patch of old-growth hickory and chestnut trees.

Chapter 29 is a novel set in dual timelines: the 2020s and 1970s. While sorting out the family estate, thirty-two-year-old Eve Preston discovers her deceased mother's novel on a social media writer platform called Author's Pad. Her mother's novel, set in the early 1970s in a fictional town that hosts an Ivy league college embroiled in protests, reveals dark secrets that Eve suspects may be true. But until she can find the missing chapter 29, she and her mother's online fans won't know whether the death depicted in the first few pages of the novel was an accident, or planned.
Based on the movement to launch female study programs on the campuses across the U.S., the novel explores the impacts of the Second Feminist Wave on women both past and present.

The Night is Done by Sheila Myers

Publication Date: August 11, 2017
eBook & Paperback; 260 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: Durant Family Saga, Book Three

William and Ella Durant, heirs to a bygone fortune, are recounting the events that led to the Durant family downfall during the Gilded Age. In 1931 William returns to visit the estate he once possessed in the Adirondacks to speak with the current owner, copper magnate Harold Hochschild, who is writing a history of the region and wants to include a biography of William. Simultaneously, Ella is visiting with an old family friend and former lover, Poultney Bigelow, journalist with Harpers Magazine, who talks her into telling her own story. William recounts the height of his glory, after his father’s death in 1885 when he takes control of the Adirondack railroad assets, travels the world in his yacht and dines with future kings. However, his fortune takes a turn during the Financial Panic of 1893 and amid accusations of adultery and cruelty. Ella’s tale begins when she returned from living abroad to launch a lawsuit against her brother for her fair share of the Durant inheritance. The court provides a stage for the siblings to tear each other’s reputation apart: William for his devious business practices and failure to steward the Durant land holdings, and Ella for her unconventional lifestyle. Based on actual events, and historic figures, The Night is Done is a tale about the life-altering power of revenge, greed and passion.

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"Myers writes with skill and has chosen well in deeply researching the Durant saga, which remarkably parallels Greek tragedy. It's a truly engrossing story, and Myers does it justice." - Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

"Myers satisfyingly concludes her historical trilogy set in the Gilded Age by presenting the detailed downfall of ruthless real estate mogul William West Durant; his exasperated wife, Janet; and his estranged sister, Ella. In 1931, the penniless Durant recounts his tragic life. After inheriting his father's vast wealth and interest in the Adirondack Railroad, William immediately begins to make bad investments. He squanders money on yachts, panders to princes, and builds mansions he can't afford to run, all while hiding assets from Ella. She sues him for her rightful inheritance and tries to overcome discrimination to become a novelist. Meanwhile, Janet, verbally abused and infantilized by William, begins an affair with her doctor. Myers expertly depicts a precarious era soaked in vicious gossip, stained reputations, and ostentatiousness. Readers will enjoy the historical details that bring this Gilded Age soap opera to life." - Publishers Weekly

"While the covers of Myers's trilogy are done in subdued pastels, the pages inside flash with forbidden romance and a family torn apart by greed." - Betsy Keepes, The Adirondack Explorer

"The trilogy of the Durant family is capped by the fascinating final volume, The Night is Done. In a vein of nostalgia, the story ends in William West Durant's last years and closes out a saga of tragic proportions as the vast Durant wealth and privilege is reduced to impoverished circumstances." - Harvey H. Kaiser, author, Great Camps of the Adirondacks

"The builders of the first "Great Camps," the Durant family defined the Adirondack experience during the Gilded Age. Sheila Myer's trilogy of novels chronicling their saga combines great historical research with compelling writing. The Night is Done is the capstone novel of the saga and takes the story to the end of the Durant fortune where bankruptcy and retribution dominate the family's relations. The book is a great read for those interested in American history or the Durants." - Garet D. Livermore, Exec Director, Sagamore Institute of the Adirondacks

About the Author

Sheila Myers is a Professor in Upstate New York and an award-winning author of four novels. When she's not teaching, she spends her spare time writing and enjoying the outdoors. Her essays and short stories have appeared in the Adirondack Life Magazine, History News Network, Crossing Genres, and Women Writers Women's Books blog.

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Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, April 20
Review at Passages to the Past

Thursday, April 23
Feature at I'm Into Books

Monday, April 27
Guest Post at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Wednesday, April 29
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books

Friday, May 1
Review at History + Fiction + Adirondack Spirit

Monday, May 4
Interview at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, May 6
Review at Books and Zebras


During the Blog Tour, we are giving away 6 signed copies of The Night is Done! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on May 6th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open to the US & UK only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

The Night is Done

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