I’m pleased to welcome Eileen Clymer Schwab, author of Shadow of a Quarter Moon, to Peeking Between the Pages today. This book sounds fantastic and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy. Any time you mention plantations, slavery, and family secrets to me, I’m in! So sit back, relax, and let’s see what Eileen has to say on her inspiration for Shadow of a Quarter Moon…
Imagine fleeing the only home you know, alone, with nothing but the clothes on your back. Without shoes or a map, you tread through murky nights along landscape you have never seen. You have no idea where you are going or where you will end up, yet what you are escaping makes the treacherous journey the lesser hell. In the 1800’s the secret network of escape known as the Underground Railroad was the perfect example of the best of America in the worst of America, and it serves as a vehicle of transformation for the main character in my novel, SHADOW OF A QUARTER MOON.
In the book, an unimaginable secret changes the course of Jacy Lane’s life; not once, but twice. First, when it is hidden from her, and then when it is revealed. As the daughter of a plantation owner, Jacy has been raised in privilege until she discovers that she is the offspring of a dalliance between her father and a slave. Amid the shock and complexities of her mixed heritage, Jacy is simply a woman longing for love, happiness, and a sense of wholeness; however the 1800s are not a simple time and Jacy begins a treacherous journey of denial and self-discovery that is fraught with danger and life-altering choices. She soon discovers that what she chases is as elusive as the secret network she hopes can save them.
While I do not profess to be an expert on the Underground Railroad, I am an admiring believer in its power to unite for a common cause and awed by the courageous men and women who drove it forward in the changing face of a nation. Its veins began in the South, flowing northward to the Free States, and sometimes continued all the way into Canada. One of the questions I often hear from readers is, “Do you find it difficult to write novels that are set in such a brutal period of American history?”
Let me confide to you that I am a “happily ever after” kind of gal. So the fact that I’ve written two novels against the backdrop of slavery in the 1800s may seem like a highly unusual choice. After all, what good can be gained by stirring old ghosts? For this reason, there is not a lot of adult fiction written about this period. I suspect this is because it is not a time we are proud of or wish to reminisce over. Instead we hide it from sight like an ugly scar. Readers and writers alike often avoid revisiting these pre-Civil War years because of the horror and shame it stirs in our moral conscience. In keeping the door closed on this period, we miss the chance to celebrate and marvel at the incredible acts of courage and daring deeds that were the genesis of social change in the United States.
The main characters in SHADOW OF A QUARTER MOON are composites of countless heroes, both black and white, who provided aid to runaway slaves in one way or another. I love that my characters pass through Philadelphia. The city is rich with Underground Railroad history which allows Jacy to cross paths with some true life leaders of the time.
As an author, I am inspired by the strength and courage of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. It was an honor to look back and give voice to a generation deserving of acknowledgment, tribute, and literary life. Remembering and discussing their trials and triumphs can be one way of paying respect for their role in our social evolution.
Thank you so much for this wonderful guest post Eileen. Like you, I am inspired by people who have the courage to make it through extremely trying times. I really can’t wait to read your novel! Thank you for being here at Peeking Between the Pages.
About the Book
Shadow of a Quarter Moon is the suspenseful and moving story of Jacy Lane, the daughter of a wealthy North Carolina horse breeder in 1839. After Jacy’s father is killed in a suspicious accident, Claudia (the woman Jacy knows as Mother) reveals a secret that shatters her world. Jacy is not the well-bred woman she believes herself to be, but rather she is the light-skinned offspring of a dalliance between her father and a slave.
The shocking revelation destroys Jacy’s sense of who she is and where she belongs in the world. If her secret is revealed, she will be cast out of “white” society. But as she tentatively gets to know her true mother and brother, as well as a protective slave named Rafe, Jacy begins to see life in the South with fresh eyes. To secure their wealth, Claudia tries to manipulate Jacy into marriage with a well-positioned but lecherous suitor. Claudia threatens to sell Jacy’s newfound family, forcing her to make a decision that will take her on a treacherous and life-altering journey.
About the Author
If you like being swept away by a touching, layered saga with memorable, moving characters then we have something in common. I love discovering characters who seek out the best in each other and in themselves; resonating with the reader long after the book has been finished and set aside. Men and women, who in the face of danger and adversity, hold tight to their beliefs trusting that love and decency will empower them.
Long intrigued with the transitional periods before and after the US Civil War, I find inspiration in the courage of those who sought freedom, as well as the spirit of joined purpose developed with those who provided aid during their struggle. What amazing stories of love, loss, and bold beginnings come alive against the backdrop of this volatile period in history! My hope is you will be swept away by these amazing and perilous journeys of courage and self-discovery.
I have one ‘autographed by the author’ copy of Shadow of a Quarter Moon by Eileen Clymer Schwab up for giveaway. To enter…
- For 1 entry leave me a comment with an email address to contact you should you win (no email, no entry).
- For 2 entries, follow my blog. If you already do, thank you, and please let me know so that I can pass the extra entry on to you as well.
- For 3 entries, blog or tweet this giveaway and spread the word!
This giveaway is open to US & Canadian residents only (no PO boxes) and I will be drawing for the winner on Saturday, August 13/11. Good luck everyone!
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