In 1912, in the midst of the powder keg atmosphere of The West Virginia Coal Mine Wars, Ellie Cline arrives in Charleston on the arm of John Havers, a top lieutenant to Tom Felts himself. Ellie becomes the envy and talk of Charleston high society. But Ellie has a past—and secrets. A husband on the run for killing her lover. A baby daughter living with her cousin back in Matewan. A new lover she sneaks into her bed while Havers is away. And her biggest secret of all—
Ellie is a spy.
Uniquely positioned to know the battle plans of both sides, Ellie straddles two worlds—the sparkling, high society life of Charleston and the family roots that still twine deep into the coal dust of Matewan. Now Ellie must choose between luxury and loyalty, between escape from drab small town poverty and love for her family.
Blood Creek not only touches on an often overlooked time in history but also an ignored perspective within this time.
I grew up in Matewan, West Virginia—home of the Hatfield & McCoy feud and the legendary Matewan Massacre that sparked right in the middle of downtown in 1920. It’s been many years since I’ve lived in West Virginia. But I do go home as often as I can. I lived in Knoxville, Tennessee, for a number of years and then moved to the Washington, DC, area for 17 years. Currently, you can find me back in Knoxville.
Tell us about your book? How did it get started?
Blood Creek is the first book in my series, Mingo Chronicles. The story weaves love, betrayal, and murder, through complex relationships set against the backdrop of the West Virginia mine wars, which took place in the early 1900s. The mine wars in West Virginia ultimately resulted in one of the largest armed insurrections in US History. I’ve set out to tell this story from the female perspective.
I had wanted to tell the story of the mine wars for a long time. It is a part of American history that has been grossly ignored and forgotten. I grew up hearing the stories about the mine wars; however, they were always told from the male perspective. A few years ago, my cousin told me a story about my great-grandmother and some horrible things she went through after the Matewan Massacre. I knew in that moment I must tell the mine wars story from the female perspective.
How do you create your characters?
Most of my characters are inspired by historical figures, people I know, or people I meet. I ponder what leads people to certain situations and jump from there and create an entire backstory for someone I might have seen on a busy street for less than one minute. Usually, my characters tell me who they are as I’m writing.
What inspires and what got your started in writing?
I’ve been writing for as long as I could string two words together. It’s the one thing I’ve never lost my passion for. The one thing I always knew I must do. There isn’t any one thing I can put my finger on for inspiration. It can show up through the most random events or encounters—a place, people, animals, death, conflict. I want to know what motivates people to do the things they do. What causes them to make certain choices that can change the trajectory of their lives.
Where do you write? Is there something you need in order to write (music, drinks?)
Oddly, I do my best writing when I’m in an atmosphere with lots of people and chatter around—but no one talking to me. The local coffee shop, bar, or an airport are great writing places for me.
How do you get your ideas for writing?
My writing ideas come from everywhere. I like to focus on the details of seemingly insignificant events that change people’s lives. A moment in history. A town. Great ideas are all around us, we just have to be open to them.
What do you like to read?
Mysteries, crime, suspense. I like to solve the puzzle when I’m reading. I also have a penchant for young adult paranormal fiction. I enjoy reading it and writing it.
What would your advice to be for authors or aspiring in regards to writing?
Sit down and write. You must put pen to paper. Don’t worry about anyone reading it. Just write it. Then edit it. Then edit it again.
Anything else you’d like to share?
“She always wanted more than she had. Would it ever be enough?”
In 1912 West Virginia, starving coal miners are arming themselves and threatening to strike. Wealthy coal operators have hired the Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency to protect their fortunes and crush the rebellious miners by whatever means necessary—no matter how violent. Long-smoldering resentments are about to erupt into one of the largest armed insurrections in US history: The West Virginia Coal Mine Wars.
In the midst of this powder keg atmosphere, Ellie Cline arrives in Charleston on the arm of John Havers, a top lieutenant to Tom Felts himself. Ellie becomes the envy and talk of Charleston high society. Young, breathtaking, and, as the gossips whisper behind her back, a kept woman. Ellie doesn’t mind the gossip. She adores being the center of attention. She loves the parties, the fine dresses, the jewelry. This is the life she always believed she deserved. Could it at last be enough?
But Ellie has a past—and secrets. A husband on the run for killing her lover. A baby daughter living with her cousin back in Matewan. A new lover she sneaks into her bed while Havers is away. And her biggest secret of all—Ellie is a spy.
Uniquely positioned to know the battle plans of both sides, Ellie straddles two worlds—the sparkling, high society life of Charleston and the family roots that still twine deep into the coal dust of Matewan. Now Ellie must choose between luxury and loyalty, between escape from drab small-town poverty and love for her family.
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