Friday, November 21, 2014

Interview with an Author: Elaine Cougler and "The Loyalist's Luck"

02_The Loyalist's Luck
Publication Date: October 2014
Peache House Press
Formats: eBook, Paperback

Series: The Loyalist Trilogy
Genre: Historical Fiction

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Today on the blog we have Elaine Couglar, who is touring the blogosphere to celebrate the release of her novel "The Loyalist's Luck". Here's a synopsis:

When the Revolutionary War turns in favor of the Americans, John and Lucy flee across the Niagara River with almost nothing. They begin again in Butlersburg, a badly supplied British outpost surrounded by endless trees and rivers, and the mighty roar of the giant falls nearby. He is off on a secret mission for Colonel Butler and she is left behind with her young son and pregnant once again. In the camp full of distrust, hunger, and poverty, word has seeped out that John has gone over to the American side and only two people will associate with Lucy—her friend, Nellie, who delights in telling her all the current gossip, and Sergeant Crawford, who refuses to set the record straight and clear John’s name. To make matters worse, the sergeant has made improper advances toward Lucy.

With vivid scenes of heartbreak and betrayal, heroism and shattered hopes, Elaine Cougler takes us into the hearts and homes of Loyalists still fighting for their beliefs, and draws poignant scenes of families split by political borders. The Loyalist’s Luck shows us the courage of ordinary people who, in perilous times, become extraordinary.

CW: Thanks for joining us, Elaine. First off, tell us how you discovered your love for writing?

EC: Words in all their forms and languages have held me in thrall for my whole life. I’ve loved to read them, write them, and savor them from the first time I sneaked my mother’s books off her shelf and hid myself away to read. My school lessons about spelling and stories, printing and then writing words, and finally mastering my own stories were the jewels of my childhood. Not until grade twelve, though, did I realize I might actually have an affinity for writing stories of my own. My personal essay placed second in our high school literary contest. I was hooked.

CW: “The Loyalist’s Luck” is set during the American Revolution and features British sympathizers. Tell us why you were drawn to the Loyalist point of view.

EC: We are all products of our personal history and mine is Loyalist. My father’s family originated in England and my direct ancestor crossed the water around the time of the American Revolution. He sided with the British. I've always known I was of Loyalist descent so that finding out more about what might have happened to my own people intrigued me. I was interested to go back in time to when relations between Americans and Canadians were not so friendly. Finally, much has been written about this time period from the American point of view. I wanted to explore the other side. Having researched the dissenting points of view I’m now doubly glad that our two countries peacefully share the longest undefended border in the world.

CW: How did you conduct your research? Any favorite sources?

EC: I’d have to say the most exciting book I found was Elizabeth Simcoe’s diary about the five years she was in Canada (1792-1796) with her famous husband, Governor John Graves Simcoe. She talked about dipping baskets in Lake Ontario and pulling them out full of fish, and of salmon in the lakes and rivers where I now live. I was shocked to realize how modern life has depleted these resources.

As for other research my computer is so convenient that I use it for a lot of my queries and searching sessions. Libraries and museums near my settings are amazingly well stocked with great books and maps. Sometimes, though, my husband and I just get in the car and take a road trip, especially out of tourist season so that I can have lots of uninterrupted time to walk the dirt tracks around forts, smell the baking bread in an army kitchen, and monopolize the time of the knowledgeable people working in these places.

CW: Do you have any favorite books or authors?

EC: Oh, my gosh, does a musket have a barrel? I love a book that keeps me turning the pages, involves me so deeply in its characters that I feel their joy and sadness in my own heart. I love a great plot that keeps moving and I particularly like chapter endings that just will not allow me to quit reading. Many, many authors do that. I remember reading Herman Wouk’s War and Remembrance books and just having to stop because his characters and the catastrophic events in their lives were affecting my own life. I just couldn’t stop thinking about them. I stopped reading to save myself from mourning the whole Second World War! A couple of years ago I picked them up and reread them, this time finishing.

So many authors have pleased me, affected me, and, yes, even changed me that I hesitate to start naming them lest I forget one. I have done posts on them on my writing blog, On Becoming a Wordsmith, but I like to look forward rather than back to the next great read I’ll find.

CW: Finally, I always like to ask, if you could go back in time, which era would you pick?

EG: Reading and writing about earlier times is so much fun for me that I’ve spent much of my life doing just that. By learning about people and places in our history I can better understand and empathize with situations in my own time. So, yes, I love studying past times and even imagining what life was like then for my own books. Do I want to go back? No. I like my creature comforts, my solid walls, my rights, and even my obligations in this time. Without a doubt our times could be better and I hope one day will be, but go back in time? That’s only for the likes of Claire who steps through the rocks into warring Scotland and finds the lovely and inimitable Jamie. Don’t you just love the Outlander series? 

CW: Thanks again for joining us, Elaine! For more information on "The Loyalist's Luck" including additional tour stops, scroll on down.

About the Author

Elaine Cougler

A lifelong reader and high school teacher, Elaine found her passion for writing once her family was grown. She loves to read history for the stories of real people reacting to their world. Bringing to life the tales of Loyalists in the American Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 is very natural as Elaine’s personal roots are in those struggles, out of which arose both Canada and the United States.

For more information please visit Elaine Cougler's website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Goodreads.

The Loyalist's Luck Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, November 10
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Tuesday, November 11
Guest Post at The Writing Desk

Wednesday, November 12
Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection

Thursday, November 13
Guest Post & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Friday, November 14
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Connection

Monday, November 17
Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Thursday, November 20
Guest Post at Just One More Chapter

Friday, November 21
Interview at Caroline Wilson Writes

Monday, November 24
Guest Post at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Tuesday, November 25
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

Wednesday, November 26
Guest Post at So Many Books, So Little Time

Friday, November 28
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for having me on your blog today, Caroline! It's been a pleasure. And getting the word out about the second book in the Loyalist trilogy through this blog tour has been most interesting. I love to see what questions I'll get asked next.
    All best