Spotlight on Linda Pennell

I’m happy to feature Linda Pennell and two of her novels: Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel and Confederado do Norte. Both books will be on sale for 99 cents, starting May 20th. I’m including an excerpt from a recent interview with Shelley K. Wall.

Here’s Linda!

lindapennellpixWhy do you write?

I write because I find the creative process to be pure joy. Writing allows me to play “let’s pretend” all day. What’s not to like?

What’s your favorite genre? Do you have a favorite author?

I have three favorite genres: mysteries, historical fiction, and women’s fiction. I don’t have a current favorite author. It changes with whomever I’m really enjoying at the moment.

To be successful as an author, what do you see as the main goal?

Sometimes the simple answers are more difficult in the execution. The main goal for me is to write the best novel I am able. Easy to say, but damned hard work.

What advice would you give to the youth of today (not just authors)?

Reacting spontaneously and in the moment can be great fun for the casual portions of life. When it comes to life altering decisions and major events, however, reviewing all of the facts, considering and evaluating all of the options, planning for the future, and understanding that failure is a normal part of life are critical to one’s mental and emotional well-being. There is no such thing as overnight success. Success requires hard work and tenacity.

On sale for 99¢…May 20 to May 27!

alcaponebookAl Capone at the Blanche Hotel tells a story of lives unfolding in different centuries, but linked and irrevocably altered by a series of murders in 1930.

Lake City, Florida, June, 1930: Al Capone checks in for an unusually long stay at the Blanche Hotel, a nice enough joint for an insignificant little whistle stop. The following night, young Jack Blevins witnesses a body being dumped heralding the summer of violence to come. One-by-one, people controlling county vice activities swing from KKK ropes. No moonshine distributor, gaming operator, or brothel madam, black or white, is safe from the Klan’s self-righteous vigilantism. Jack’s older sister Meg, a waitress at the Blanche, and her fiancé, a sheriff’s deputy, discover reasons to believe the lynchings are cover for a much larger ambition than simply ridding the county of vice. Someone, possibly backed by Capone, has secret plans for filling the voids created by the killings. But as the body count grows and crosses burn, they come to realize this knowledge may get all of them killed.

Gainesville, Florida, August, 2011: Liz Reams, an up and coming young academic specializing in the history of American crime, impulsively moves across the continent to follow a man who convinces her of his devotion yet refuses to say the three simple words I love you. Despite entreaties of friends and family, she is attracted to edginess and a certain type of glamour in her men, both living and historical. Her personal life is an emotional roller coaster, but her career options suddenly blossom beyond all expectation, creating a very different type of stress. To deal with it all, Liz loses herself in her professional passion, original research into the life and times of her favorite bad boy, Al Capone. What she discovers about 1930’s summer of violence, and herself in the process, leaves her reeling at first and then changed forever.

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Take a look at the real Blanche Hotel and other actual locations featured in Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel here!

On sale for 99¢…May 28 to June 3!

confederatobookConfederado do Norte, 2015 Honorable Mention in the RONE Awards, is on sale for 99¢ May 27- June 3!!

Set during the aftermath of the American Civil War, Confederado do Norte tells the story of Mary Catherine MacDonald Dias Oliveira Atwell, a child torn from her war devastated home in Georgia and thrust into the primitive Brazilian interior where the young woman she becomes must learn to recreate herself in order to survive.

October, 1866.

Mary Catherine is devastated when her family emigrates from Georgia to Brazil because her father and maternal uncle refuse to accept the terms of Reconstruction following the Confederacy’s defeat. Shortly after arrival in their new country, she is orphaned, leaving her in Uncle Nathan’s care. He hates Mary Catherine, blaming her for his sister’s death. She despises him because she believes Nathan murdered her father. When Mary Catherine discovers Nathan’s plan to be rid of her as well, she flees into the mountain wilderness filled with jaguars and equally dangerous men. Finding refuge among kind peasants, she grows into a beauty, ultimately marrying the scion of a wealthy Portuguese family. Happiness and security seem assured until civil unrest brings armed marauders who have an inexplicable connection to Mary Catherine. Recreating herself has protected Mary Catherine in the past, but this new crisis will demand all of the courage, intelligence, and creativity she possesses simply to survive.

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See scenes from Brazil and other locations featured in Confederado do Norte here!

Bio

“I 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.”

Linda resides in the Houston area with one sweet husband and one adorable German Shorthaired Pointer who is quite certain she’s a little girl.

Where to find Linda…

Website | Facebook | Twitter


When Change Means Survival

Welcome to my Second Acts Series!

Today, we have a different kind of second act. A character in Soul Mate author Linda Bennett Pennell’s novel, Confederado do Norte, is sharing her reinvention story.

Here’s Mary Catherine!

Confederado-Soulmate 105_105x158 (2)Set during the aftermath of the American Civil War, Confederado do Norte tells the story of Mary Catherine MacDonald Dias Oliveira Atwell, a child torn from her war devastated home in Georgia and thrust into the primitive Brazilian interior where the young woman she becomes must learn to recreate herself in order to survive.

Mary Catherine’s first recreation began when she was just a child of 10. Here is a mature Mary Catherine sharing that first recreation in her own words.

My story began at the end of a long war in which many lives and much property were destroyed. After all these years, I can still smell the acrid smoke coming off the ash heap that was the farmhouse where my parents and I once lived. It is as though no time at all has passed since Sherman’s March to the Sea. The only thing that Mama, my beloved nurse Bess, and I could do was watch from our hiding place and wish that Papa wasn’t so far away fighting.

When Papa finally found his way home from the war, it was as a changed man – bitter, lost, and given to unpredictable rages followed by deep melancholia. Even so, we were happy to have him home because we believed he would one day return to himself. If it hadn’t been for a newspaper article and a handful of advertisements my life would have turned out quite differently. As it was, it took little to convince Papa that leaving home was the only solution left to defeated Southerners. Emperor Dom Pedro II’s promise of free land in Brazil’s heartland and subsidized passage sealed our fate.

Shortly after we immigrated, my mother died of galloping consumption, leaving me in the care of my father and my mother’s only surviving brother, Nathan. Papa’s mercurial nature coupled with Nathan’s hatred of me left me uncertain and confused. You see, Nathan blamed me for my mother’s death. The fear that he might be right haunted me, but when I learned Nathan was demanding I be returned to family in Georgia, I became determined to do everything possible to prevent it. I had already lost Mama. I couldn’t bear being separated from Papa as well. At the age of ten, I became a self-taught housekeeper – cooking, cleaning, washing the clothes, tending the vegetable garden, preserving food – nothing was beyond my scope.

By age twelve I decided to pile my long auburn hair up on my head as I had once seen Mama do. It was safer and cooler when I did the housework. Nathan said I was too young to flounce around like a grown woman, but Papa said I did the work of two women so to leave me alone. It came as a shock when I realized that I really didn’t feel like a girl anymore. Somewhere between lifting wet clothes out of the wash pot and cooking on the wood fired stove, I had made the transition from little girl to young woman. Somehow all that I had experienced made that little girl seem like a stranger, as though I were a different person completely. Before I was twenty-one, I would recreate myself two more times because my life and freedom would depend on it.

Bio

lindapI 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

Where to find Linda Pennell…

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon

Joanne here!

Linda, thanks for giving us insight in Mary Catherine’s early life. I’m putting Confederado do Norte on my TBR list.