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Thursday, 21 April 2022

ℚ One April After the War: Louisville to Cumberland: M. Warner Annals [1] - G.S. Boarman

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about One April After the War: Louisville to Cumberland (first published 10 January 2019, this edition , Bowker, 342 pages), a Historical Fiction, book one in the M. Warner Annals series.

"With its ongoing investigation, clues, and clashes between personalities and property, One April After the War becomes a compelling study in not just intrigue, but a feisty woman's ability to confront her world and her traveling companions." ~ Midwest Book Review

|| Synopsis || Teaser: Excerpt || The Series || Author Q&A || About the Author || Giveaway & Tour Stops ||

A very warm welcome to G.S. Boarman; thank you for joining us on BooksChatter!

What was the inspiration for One April After the War: Louisville to Cumberland?

"There were three separate events, occurring years apart, that eventually coalesced into the idea for a book, which then developed into a series of books. They are, in chronological order:
  1. My mother told me long ago, before she passed, that she had bought a book that traced the ancestry of our family. I was indeed able to trace our family history through my father’s mother. As I got closer to our time, I noticed that there were a lot of Mary’s in each family; often several sisters were named Mary and apparently “went” by their middle names.

    One such Mary stood out to me. She was one of my paternal grandmother’s cousins, with several sisters named Mary, but this Mary, whose middle name I will withhold for the time being, had noted off to the side “Lally.” I thought that was the sweetest nickname I’d ever heard. I decided then and there, that if I ever wrote a book, my character would be Lally. (Those of you of a certain age may be able to guess her middle name, the diminutive of which is Lally.)

  2. My older daughter has endured a kind of cascade of emotional/behavioral challenges, beginning almost from day One. Severe separation anxiety lasted well into her teens; the problem was so severe, she would vomit and cry if I had to leave her. She did not sleep through the night until she was 11 years old.

    But the real problems began in third grade when she suddenly had trouble with schoolwork, where before she had shone. The next year I began home-schooling her and her younger sister. She is incredibly smart – plays the piano by ear, has dabbled with the violin and guitar, can draw with the same accuracy as a camera takes a picture, writes, and has taken up painting. But getting her to do her homework was like pulling teeth; she just could not focus to do it. Finally, at age 17, she was diagnosed with ADD.

    By this time, she was just done with doctors and counsellors and perceived failures, and she just broke down one day and asked why this happened to her. Among other things, I said to think of the children whose parents could not afford the testing or the medication or even had the resources to research the problem. Then I said, “Think about the children who had this problem before anyone had a name for it.” It made me research the history of ADD.

  3. My younger daughter asked me what the Secret Service did. I am ashamed to say that I knew nothing more than that they protected the President. It made me research the Secret Service, and then counterfeiting.
Almost like a thunderclap, everything came together, and I had the germ of a story. After that it was research, research, research."
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"I have thought about this on occasion; I worry that too much of me has bled into the story. However, I think I have sorted it out. I like to think that Lally (or M, as she is generally known in the books – M for Mary) is an amalgamation of my older daughter and myself, but generally speaking, all of M’s good qualities or assets come from my daughter – the musical and drawing talent, the height and thin build, the long-staring inward journeys; all of M’s less desirable qualities come from me – easily angered, willing to challenge and combat, neglectful of certain social expectations. M’s gardening and physical pursuits are also closer to my proclivities than my daughter’s, though she has grown up helping me to landscape our yard."
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover. Can you tell us about your cover for One April After the War: Louisville to Cumberland - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"The current cover is not the original, which was a design of my own and did not do well when I polled friends (as I have said, all the art talent is with my daughter). I did, however, like the original as reminiscent of books in the late 19th century – dark and aged-looking.
I turned the cover problem over to a professional, Richard Ljoenes Design LLC (WWW.RICHARDLJOENES.COM), who exceeded all my expectations. He took the time to ask about the story and asked me to send him any images that would reflect the story. The images on the cover are just a few of those that I sent him. He pulled everything together and picked the colors for the titles, author name, and backgrounds.

I had Richard design the covers of the first three books as a unified project and it was Richard who encouraged me to make the titles also “match” as regards length, so that what was originally simply titled Turntable (Book III), became The Will of the Turntable: The Way Home. This fell in line with the rhythm of the titles of the first two books, One April After the War: Louisville to Cumberland and One April After the War: Cumberland to Louisville."
Why should we read One April After the War: Louisville to Cumberland and the M. Warner Annals; what sets it apart from the rest? What makes your series unique?
"I believe that, at least in the character of M, that I have created a believable and relatable female character, despite her acknowledged differences and challenges.

She is not a raving beauty, she is not charming or desirable (according to the criteria of her time), she is indifferent to these social criteria, but not because she is some kind of rebellious iconoclast. She wants to be herself because that is what is most comfortable for herself; in this respect, she is lazy.

I have also worked hard at seamlessly integrating the research I have conducted – the items I have found during that research – into the narrative, without the annoying and, I think, artificial, exposition I have seen in some books and a lot of TV programs."
Can you tell us something quirky about One April After the War: Louisville to Cumberland, its story and characters?
"By sheer coincidence, this April is exactly the same as April 1870, the year of the book. That is to say, April of both years begin on a Friday and Easter of both years is on the 17th. The full moon of both years in April is only 24 hours apart.

I have appended a calendar especially designed for this quirk of timing. In this way, readers can follow the characters in “real” time, reading a chapter a day (each chapter corresponds to one day in April). So, if this interests you, have a copy of the book on hand and ready to start on April 1."
Who would you recommend One April After the War: Louisville to Cumberland to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"I hope that anyone who is interested in a story with serious historical fidelity would like this book and its sequels. There are no racy scenes and violence is only implied (but this will not hold for future books).

The book takes place in 1870 in Kentucky, a border state during the Civil War where slavery was permitted. Black characters are referred to as ‘colored’ and the proposed 15th Amendment as the “nigger vote.” This was a word that was freely used in the press and became even more prevalent in the coming years. It is impossible to write about this time, in this country, in this state without using certain terms, without visiting certain actions. That they are reprehensible is a given, but it can’t be pretended that these words weren’t used or that certain events did not happen."
If you could / wished to turn One April After the War: Louisville to Cumberland and the M. Warner Annals series into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"I just don’t follow films enough – nor can I remember names of directors or actors – to offer an suggestions. I would, however, really push to have filming be done in the appropriate places: Kentucky (Louisville and Covington), Ohio (Cincinnati, Athens, Belpre), West Virginia (Parkersburg, Grafton) and Maryland (Cumberland). It is my hope that some of these towns or cities get a little play from the books."
What do you like to write about? Do you stick to a particular Historical Fiction or do you like to explore different ones?
"I think I will prove to be a one-story writer, but that story covers the decade of 1870-1880 and will take at least 12 books to do so."
What is your writing process?
"Once I had the basic plot and had determined the characters, I simply researched the era. Each time a new subject presented itself (counterfeiting, family inheritance, trains, etc) I dived into researching that.

As I researched, if something appealed to me and I thought it could be used in the story in some way, I made notes to myself within the text of the story or, if the idea was more developed, I inserted new text.

I also keep detailed copies of my research, including the sources. In this way, I have been working on several books at one time, adding to each book as I find material."
What is in store next?
"The first three books in the series are completed and together they cover the year 1870. I consider them an inaugural trilogy to the series. After this trilogy, I plan on one book per year in the decade 1870-1880.

I am currently working on Book IV, which is in less state of readiness than Book V. I got so enthusiastic about the research and writing for 1872 and subsequent years that I ended up skipping over 1871. I am working hard to rectify that."
And as a final quirky thing, to get to know you a little bit better... do you have a pet or something that is special to you that you could share with us?
"My older daughter and I currently have one dog, two cats, three turtles (one we found just after it hatched several years ago), and a corn snake.

This list is sadly diminished from just two years ago, when we had four dogs (a true pack), three cats, and the turtles and corn snake. We have always had pets and in the past we had a ball python and two guinea pigs, who lived an incredibly long time.

Of the dogs, we had only one female, named Lally, like the main character in One April. She was our queen. We said goodbye to her just last month after 15 years."
We are very sorry for your loss; we understand how hard it is (we lost three of our cats in less than three years, and the last one at the end of February 😿) We'd love to see some pics of your pets - especially the turtles and the snake! 😃

Thank you for taking the time to be with us today. We hope you are having a great tour!

I cannot thank you enough for allowing me the opportunity to answer your questions and to hopefully connect with your followers. If even one of them picks up my book(s) and enjoy the adventure, I will count myself successful. Excerpts from the first three books may be found at

And unforgettable train ride rooted in America's past explores mental illness and sexism

One April After the War: Louisville to Cumberland
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