BOOK REVIEW FRIDAY – I, JOHN CULPEPPER BY LORI CRANE

Culpepper_1I sure hope author Lori Crane (click here for Author Wednesday interview) plans to release the next book in her new historical fiction series on the Culpepper family very soon. When I finished the first book, I, John Culpepper, I felt like I’d lost a good friend. I need to find out what happens in this spitfire’s life after . . . Sorry can’t say anything more than that without giving away a spoiler. Ms. Crane said when she first starting writing about this man (her 10th grandfather), she realized she had stumbled upon more than just one novel.

The author transports the reader back to the early 1600s and straight into the lives of the Culpepper family. Tensions start in the beginning chapter between John and his father, playing an integral part in the overall plot of I, John Culpepper.

While many things seem so different from our fast-paced lives today, universal emotions and relationships show us we have much in common with our ancestors, and learning about them may help us to avoid the same downfalls as them. Ms. Crane says the history of our ancestors is the collective history for us all. And it is clear, through the father and son relationship she tells in this story, that we do share a universal past.

Sometimes I put the book down to simply contemplate what it must have been like to travel two weeks or more to visit the family home by horseback. That trip today might take a few hours out of the day. What did the others do while waiting for a family member to return? Imagine how few books had been published up to that time. They must have memorized the ones they had. Reading this book puts into perspective how far we’ve really come in some areas. However, in others we haven’t grown quite as much. Or perhaps the lesson to take away from reading this book is that the conflicts we face in life provide us with the opportunity to grow and mature.

Beyond what we might learn, I, John Culpepper is simply an enjoyable read that I highly recommend.

Purchase links for I, John Culpepper

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon Canada

AUTHOR WEDNESDAY – LORI CRANE

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She’s back! One of my favorite authors and a dear colleague and friend, Lori Crane (click here for previous interview) visits Author Wednesday to tell us about her new release, I, John Culpepper. Lori is quite popular and famous for her works of historical fiction, and this book is no exception. Here she is to tell us all about it.Culpepper_1

Hello, Lori! I’m so happy to have you return as a guest on Author Wednesday. Let’s get right to it. Give us the one sentence pitch for I, John Culpepper.

I, John Culpepper is a work of historical fiction based on the life of the 17th-century man historians refer to as John Culpepper the Merchant who was forced to rise against his father to achieve his childhood dream.

I know you usually write about your ancestors, so give us the scoop. Are you related to this fascinating man? 

John Culpepper is the progenitor of the modern-day American Culpeppers. He was my 10th great-grandfather.

I’m always amazed at how far you’ve been able to reach back in your ancestry to pull out these characters worthy of a novel. I’m very envious, but mostly I’m in awe. How long did it take you to finish the book, from idea to publishing?

I first had the idea to write his story in August of 2014, but the more I researched, the more interesting tidbits I found and it became four books with four distinct stories: his childhood, his life during the English Civil War, his rise to family patriarch, and finally, his coming to terms with his past, his family, and his beliefs. His story became the Culpepper Saga with “I, John Culpepper” being the first of the four books. From idea to publish, since I ended up writing four books at the same time, took nine months.

So we have more to look forward to. That’s amazing that you wrote four books in nine months. Is there a message in I, John Culpepper for us?

As a young man, John had to stand up to his father. For those of us who have stood up to a parent, we understand the pain involved in that process. At the end, John realized that, perhaps, his father wasn’t the bad guy after all. I think that’s a lesson we all learn when we finally realize our parents are only human.

I can relate as I’m sure many others can as well. I’ve been both the parent and child on that process! What is the best thing someone could say about I, John Culpepper?

I love it when readers tell me how interesting my family is, not realizing these stories are of our collective past. We are all the products of the survivors, the heroes, the brave men and women. I hope they see John as the hero he was. He was a bit of a rebel, but his rebellion is what eventually saves his family…on more than one occasion.

Thank you for saying that. Yes, it’s our collective history. What kind of research did you do to pull off this work of historical fiction?

I started with my family tree. I initially wondered how the Culpeppers of 16th-century England, with their stately manors and vast land holdings, ended up being the modest people I knew in my childhood in Mississippi. Why would they give up that kind of prestige to move to an inhospitable land filled with savage Indians and probable starvation? I also researched the school John attended, the ships of the time, the colonial records of 1630s Jamestown, and I spent a lot of time on the Culpepper family website called Culpepper Connections. In the second book, the English Civil War breaks out, so I researched everything from the timeline of the battles, to the generals and the king, to the transcribed minutes of the House of Commons. I spent three days reading those minutes. Even though I knew I had family serving in Parliament at the time, to read their names on the actual roll call was exciting.

I’m sure it was–history coming to life right before your eyes. Tell us about your favorite scene.

I have a couple. The first is at the wharf the day John is born. John’s father is quite a formidable character. The second is when John sees the product of his prank on his headmaster. I laughed out loud when I wrote it. The third is when John takes his brother aboard his ship for the first time. I can just picture the pride and excitement on John’s face.

When you become that invested in the writing, magic is sure to follow! Is there anything else we should know about the book or about John Culpepper?

John Culpepper was a very, very popular name in English history, and each John had a brother named Thomas. All of those Johns and Thomases had sons also named John and Thomas. Deciphering which John was which from English and Colonial records was difficult, but after reading other theories and putting all of the different names and birth and death dates to paper, I believe I got the family history figured out. I took great freedoms in giving some of the men nicknames, just to keep them straight, but be assured, in historical records they are all named John and Thomas. The nicknames are mine and mine alone. I didn’t take them from any records.

Thank you so much for stopping by today, Lori. I look forward to reading your I, John Culpepper. I’m sure I’ll enjoy it as much or even more than your other books.

1394868_10201454031930551_434799525_nAbout Lori Crane:  BESTSELLING AND AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR LORI CRANE IS A WRITER OF SOUTHERN HISTORICAL FICTION AND THE OCCASIONAL THRILLER. Her books have climbed to the Kindle Top 100 lists many times, including her book Elly Hays, which debuted at #1 in Native American stories. She has also enjoyed a place among her peers in the Top 100 historical fiction authors on Amazon, climbing to #23. She is a native Mississippi belle currently residing in greater Nashville. She is a professional musician by night – an Indie Author by day.

Click here to read my review of Elly Hays.

Click on the links below to purchase and connect with the author 

I, John Culpepper Amazon US 

Amazon UK

Website

Blog

Twitter

Culpepper Saga fan page

Work in Progress Blog Tour

My WIP

My WIP

I’m excited to participate in a different kind of blog tour today. Darlene Jones over at Emandyves tagged me to participate in a Work in Progress (WIP) Blog Tour. Click here to see my interview with her on Author Wednesday. I also reviewed the first novel in here Em and Yves series, Embattled. I’m honored this talented author chose me for this virtual tour. Check out her WIP by clicking here.

There are rules for this tour, and I’ve completed the first step by linking to Darlene’s delightful blog. I love reading her vignettes of her life traveling and living. I hope you’ll visit her site!

Next, I’m to nominate two other author/bloggers to participate in this tour. This way you’re introduced to three other author/blog sites besides mine. I’m delighted to share my nominees with you. They are both talented writers. I first met Christoph Fischer when I read one of his reviews and asked  him if he would review my novel Trails in the Sand. He said he would add it to his TBR list, but within the week, he not only had read that novel, but he’d read all of my books and posted thoughtful reviews for all. Christoph is a prolific writer and the lead man when it comes to supporting Indie Authors. Through him, I met Lori Crane, who has become one of my dear Internet buddies. She’s a gem who writes historical fiction and makes me laugh with her lovely, positive, and humorous approach to life. But don’t take my word for it. Check them out yourself.

922159_10151345337037132_1303709604_oWriter Christoph Fischer – Christoph Fischer is an independent writer from Germany, based in the UK. He is also a reviewer of independent books, and on this site he features interviews and reviews of the books that have most captured his attention and appreciation by genre. He writes historical fiction as well as contemporary fiction that address such topics as Alzheimers, mental illness, and drug companies.

 

w-1-9A Day in the Life of Patootie is Lori Crane’s blog. “Best-selling and award-winning author of Southern historical fiction and the occasional thriller. Dueling pianist. Cute shoes. From Lori: “A Day in the Life of Patootie is named after my puppy. So far, he’s chewed up 7 rugs, 2 pairs of shoes, and every throw pillow in the house. I love him!”

“Lori Crane is a Southern storyteller of the first order.”~Writer’s Digest

I’m so very pleased that these award-winning and bestselling authors agreed to be a part of this tour, but now it’s time for the rest of the requirements. I’m to share the first sentence (or two) from the first three chapters of the WIP.

My WIP is a contemporary romance novella that I’m writing for a box set, Score One for Love, to be released in August. All of the novellas within the set must feature an athlete at the center of the story. Other authors are featuring hockey, football, and soccer stars, along with a race car driver, and lots more. I chose baseball because it’s one of my favorite spectator sports. Most of my novels are set in Florida, which you probably know if you follow my blog. However, I decided it was time to write a story set in Pittsburgh where I now live, and what better way to write a baseball story than to feature the Pittsburgh Pirates who have come from a losing team to almost winning their division this past season. To paraphrase, Leslie Gore, It’s my novellaso I’ll have them win if I want to. The hero, Tomas Vegas, from Puerto Rico hopes to emulate the example set by the Pirates own Roberto Clemente. His love interest, Adriana is young, wealthy, and widowed, but her tight-knit Italian family in Pittsburgh may keep her from getting anywhere near third base, let alone home, with the handsome and talented Tomas.

Chapter 1 – Adriana – Larson made love to me all night, caressing my cheek and rubbing my breasts with his large and rough hands. I woke up smiling, until daylight shot bolts of reality through my psyche. It infuriated me that he only came to me in my sleep now.

Chapter 2 – Tomas – I let the shower wake me. It also took me away from her incessant chatter.

“Why do I have to go to this house today?” Madrid kept asking me as I drank my coffee.

Chapter 3 – Adriana – “I’m honored to be able to turn the key to this new bungalow over to you and your family,” I said, standing on the front stoop of the white two-story home just off Liberty Avenue. I handed the key over to John and Samantha Chapman with tears forming behind my lids.

And there you have it–my current WIP–along with the opportunity to meet three talented authors with interesting blogs.

bb_PBOOK005I’ve been getting emails and messages from folks asking about the second book in the Behind the Love trilogy. I’m thrilled to say that Behind the Bar is in the final stages of production and should be available within the next few weeks. Rest assured, I’ll keep you posted.

I don’t say it enough, but thank you to all stop by my blog, like the posts, and leave comments. You’re all appreciated and virtually hugged.