Author Interview: J.D.R. Hawkins
I would like to introduce Author J.D.R. Hawkins, the winner of the BRAG Medallion for her book, “A Beautiful Glittering Lie.”
Read the entire interview at:
Your story takes place during a crucial time in our history. Could you please tell me about your story?
In the spring of 1861, a country once united is fractured by war. Half of America chooses to fight for the Confederate cause; the other, for unification. In north Alabama, the majority favors remaining in the Union, but when the state secedes, many come to her defense. Such is the case with Hiram Summers, a farmer and father of three. He decides to enlist, and his son, David, also desires to go, but is instead obligated to stay behind.
Hiram travels to Virginia with the Fourth Alabama Infantry Regiment. Although he doesn’t intentionally seek out adventure, he is quickly and inevitably thrust into combat. In the meantime, David searches for adventure at home by traipsing to Huntsville with his best friend, Jake Kimball, to scrutinize invading Yankees. Their escapade turns sour when they discover the true meaning of war, and after two years of service, Hiram sees enough tragedy to last a lifetime.
A Beautiful Glittering Lie addresses the naivety of a young country torn by irreparable conflict, a father who feels he must defend his home, and a young man who longs for adventure, regardless of the perilous cost.
Who or what inspired you to write this story?
The story inspired itself, so to speak. I took a trip to Gettysburg a few years ago. It was the first Civil War battlefield I had ever seen, and I was so impressed that I was inspired to write a novel. Not about commanding officers, or warfare tactics, but about a typical Southern soldier. He doesn’t own slaves, and he brings his horse with him to enlist with the cavalry. This book, A Beckoning Hellfire, led to two more sequels and a prequel. A Beautiful Glittering Lie is that prequel. It is the first book in the Renegade Series.
What was some of the research involved?
My research was extensive. I spoke to numerous authorities on the Civil War, delved into hundreds of old tomes at the library, requested books from other libraries, researched online, and travelled to various battlefields to get a first-hand look at the terrain and speak to park rangers about the battles. My primary resource for this particular novel is the journal of R. T. Cole, who was an adjutant with the Fourth Alabama Infantry Regiment.
Could you please tell me a little about the fictional aspects to your story?
Although the book is based on one soldier’s journal, most of the main characters in the story are fictitious, including the Summers family and their friends. In my opinion, writing fiction is more interesting, because the characters are able to converse, therefore enabling the reader to become a part of the story and get inside each character’s head.
What advice would you give to someone who would like to write about this period of time in our history?
My advice is to thoroughly research your topic first. Many people out there are avid Civil War fans who won’t hesitate to call you out if you make a mistake!
Your book cover is stunning! Who designed it?
My book cover was designed by my publisher. However, I found the artwork for it myself. The painting is entitled “Up Alabamians!” by Don Troiani.
What book project are you currently working on?
At the moment, I am working on several projects. I just finished a nonfiction book about the Civil War, as well as a novel set in the 1930’s. My next project will be a memoir, which takes place in Ireland.
Will you self-publish again?
I would consider self-publishing again. It is a quick, effective way to get your book in print, and you have a lot more control over the finished product. Self-publishing is slowly developing acknowledgement and respect in the book world. Many authors use both traditional and self-publishing companies simultaneously.
How did you discover IndieBRAG?
I was alerted to the contest through Writers Market.