Today we have a special guest, Author Lori Benton! Interviewed and reviews by Paula, along with a super giveaway!
Paula: What sparked your interest in Early American History?
Lori: Right about the time I saw the Revolutionary War movie The Patriot (Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger), in the early 2000s, I happened to be reading several novels set during the mid-18th century that presented aspects of frontier settlement, plantation slavery, and Native American culture that intrigued me. But what cemented my fascination with that era was the fashion choices of men at the time, as portrayed in The Patriot. I just really like knee breeches! When I decided to try my hand at a historical novel the first thing I researched was the date knee breeches went out of style. I quickly learned I’d need to set my story sometime during the 1700s if I wanted my male characters wearing such garments. It was nothing more profound than that to begin with (apart from those tantalizing glimpses in those novels of what would become my writing passions). But little did I know what a treasure trove of history I was about to uncover. I haven’t stopped exploring the 1700s since.
Paula: When did your journey as a writer begin?
Paula: How long does it take you to write a book?
Lori: Each book presents unique challenges and some can be overcome more quickly than others. There have also been times that life presented a few extra challenges that impacted a novel’s journey. Therefore it’s varied from eight months (The Wood’s Edge) to four years (an as yet unpublished novel). The usual is more like eighteen months.
Paula: What does your writing day look like?
Lori: It can vary and has changed over time. Right now I work from about 8:30am to 10am most often on anything needing to get done that isn’t the actual novel I’m writing (research, social media, bookkeeping, promotional writing, correspondence). Then I break for breakfast. Next I’ll write from 10:30am to around 1pm, when I break for a bike ride and lunch. The afternoon depends on what life has thrown at me that day. I might come back to work a few more hours (if I have a deadline closing in, I absolutely will) or I might get busy in the kitchen, running errands, or work around the house. And in all the interstices, I read.
Paula: Any work in progress you can tell us about?
Lori: I’m continuing to write more stories set during the 1700s, including the sequel to that unpublished novel that took me four years to finish. Hope to have more news to share about those soon.
Paula: Do you have an heirloom or antique that is special to you?
Lori: Not with me in Oregon, aside from a few dishes that belonged to my grandmother that hold fond memories from my childhood. But my mom has a rustic rocking chair my grandfather built (when Hoover was president, I’m told), a basket that I think his father wove, and an old woven blanket someone else back in our family made. Though I don’t have them with me, I like knowing we have them preserved.
Paula: What is one interesting thing you found when doing research? Did it make it into one of your books?
Lori: How to choose one interesting thing from the thousands? I’ll stick to my newest release, The King’s Mercy. I was fascinated to discover how the Jacobite prisoners taken off the field at the Battle of Culloden and imprisoned in England discovered their fates (trial or exile). For many it was by lottery! And yes, I absolutely wove that into the story.
Paula: What was the last book you read for fun?
Lori: I listened to the audio version of L. M. Montgomery’s The Blue Castle on a recent road trip. What a delightful story, which I do believe I enjoyed more than her other classic, Anne of Green Gables.
Paula: What is your favorite genre?
Lori: Historical (bet you could guess that!); historical mysteries, historical romances, or straight-up page-out-of-history type novels. I’m also fond of cozy mysteries and just about anything set in Scotland at any time period.
LORI IS OFFERING A SIGNED COPY OF THE KING'S MERCY! (Comment and tell us you'd like to be in the random drawing! Drawing ends June 10th)
RANDOM GENERATOR CHOSE - Perrianne! congratulations, Deb will get in touch with you and Lori will send you the autographed copy of The King's Mercy!
The King’s Mercy by Lori Benton is a fantastic Historical Christian Fiction Epic tale.
It is set in Cape Fear River, North Carolina during the years 1747 and 1748.
Alex MacKinnon has been given “The King’s Mercy “ in that he will not be executed for treason against the English King but be transported to the Colonies and indentured for the next seven years. He is a Scotsman who found himself on the losing side of a war and has not found mercy in his allegiance to King James, Bonnie Prince Charlie, nor the English King, George II. Can he find mercy from the True King Jesus?
Ms. Benton’s words are poetically eloquent. See what Alex sees as he comes upon a high cove while trying to return to Severn Plantation: “Once he had taken in what the eye could see, he began to see what wasn’t there, but one day might be.......As the mist crept along the creek’s course and kissed the first slant of morning sunlight breaking through clouds, he smelled the clean air and the pines and the autumn leaves, while behind him in the trees birds spoke, and knew...he’d found his place. “
The author evokes the feelings of the hardships Alex goes through. Here his master’s stepdaughter remarks that indenture isn’t the same as slavery. Alex responds: “Is that what ye think? We suffered in more ways than I care to say, Mistress, so believe me when I say that I DO grasp what those slaves yonder feel— a helplessness and rage the likes of which ye dinna ken. Never mind they’ve full bellies, clothes to wear, cabins to sleep in. None of it is by their choosing. LISTEN to them!”
I especially liked the secondary character Rev. David Pauling. Ms Benton used his voice to speak many spiritual truths. He was a steadying, wise influence to the other characters.
The story flowed very naturally. Ms. Benton captured the Scottish brogue and it added nicely to the story.
This is a book to be savored for the beautiful language, the lessons in life and faith and the interesting time in our country’s history. As Alex MacKinnon might say. “The lass has fashioned a braw tale.”
This is an author I will come back to again and again.
BACK COVER BLURB:
For readers of Sara Donati and Diana Gabaldon, this epic historical romance tells of fateful love between an indentured Scotsman and a daughter of the 18th century colonial south.
When captured rebel Scotsman Alex MacKinnon is granted the king's mercy--exile to the Colony of North Carolina--he's indentured to Englishman Edmund Carey as a blacksmith. Against his will Alex is drawn into the struggles of Carey's slaves--and those of his stepdaughter, Joanna Carey. A mistress with a servant's heart, Joanna is expected to wed her father's overseer, Phineas Reeves, but finds herself drawn instead to the new blacksmith. As their unlikely relationship deepens, successive tragedies strike the Careys. When blame falls unfairly upon Alex he flees to the distant mountains where he encounters Reverend Pauling, itinerate preacher and friend of the Careys, now a prisoner of the Cherokees. Haunted by his abandoning of Joanna, Alex tries to settle into life with the Cherokees, until circumstances thwart yet another attempt to forge his freedom and he's faced with the choice that's long hounded him: continue down his rebellious path or embrace the faith of a man like Pauling, whose freedom in Christ no man can steal. But the price of such mercy is total surrender, and perhaps Alex's very life.
Available in digital ebook, paperback and library binding:
Buy The King's Mercy at Amazon
Buy The King's Mercy at Christianbook.com