I Just finished Linda Sittig’s historical novel “Cut From Strong Cloth” and boy was I impressed! Not only is Linda Sittig a fellow Writer’s buddie from my writing group Round Hill Writer’s Group that I belong to but she also belongs to my Pennwriters group. After hearing weekly about her progress with the book I just had to read it. Never mind that I wanted to support her. And she blew me away. I LOVED the book and wanted to have here on my blog.
About the book from amazon:
“Publication Date: November 21, 2014
At nineteen, Ellen Canavan lives for the dream of her late father: to succeed in business. But being a woman in 1861, she finds the path to entrepreneurship blocked many times over. The threat of war, her mother’s disapproval, and even a malicious arsonist threaten to limit the aspiring textile merchant to the status of impoverished Irish immigrant. As she travels from the factories of Philadelphia to the riverfront wharves of Savannah with her business mentor, James Nolan, the Civil War explodes amidst their blossoming love, and the two are separated. Can Ellen’s undaunted, fiery strength guide her through a divided nation, or must she abandon her dream in order to save her own life?”
So let’s ask some questions. I’ll pretend I don’t know her and don’t know anything about her progress or how she came to write it.
Linda? How did you come across this idea and how did you come to write this book?
LHS: While doing some genealogical research on my mother’s family I came across an ancestor buried with only my great-grandfather’s name for identification. I started out just to locate her name, but I wound up with her amazing story of how she and my great-grandfather made this special cloth for soldiers’ uniforms in the Civil War.
What was the hardest part of writing it for you?
LHS: I worked with David Hazard, a great writing coach and he had to convince me to embellish the family story so it could become a full fledged novel.
What was most surprising?
LHS: I didn’t even know that Ellen Canavan had married my great-grandfather because I descend from his second wife, Sarah Brady.
After all the research was done and you began to write was there any time your doubts about it became so big that you almost gave up? Or were you always sure you would go forward and finish it?
LHS: I did have doubts, mostly that anyone else would find Ellen’s story as riveting as I had. But then I was determined to finish the book and get her story out there.
What does your family think about you and the book now that you wrote a book about one of your ancestors? How did you come to know about this ancestor?
LHS: Unfortunately my parents are no longer alive. I know my mother would have loved the book. My dad died about a year before it was published, but he did get to read the early proofs. I think what I like the most was how my two daughters reacted, they were proud of me for writing the book and amazed at Ellen Canavan Nolan’s story.
All in all how long did it take to write this book? And once you got going how long?
LHS: It took me two years to write the book because I kept on going back and revising what I had written.
Did you have a critique group? or beta readers? How many times did you have it edited? And explain that.
LHS: I do! I belong to the Round Hill Writers Group and they critiqued various parts of the manuscript. I also asked 10 different people to become my beta readers. They read the finished manuscript and gave me great insight into any parts that were confusing.
I know that you explain quite a bit about your research in the book but could you go into it a little bit here for my readers?
LHS: I started with as many primary sources that I could find, mostly in Philadelphia and in Savannah. The highlight was when the special map librarian from the Free Library in Philadelphia was able to locate the actual factory schematics for the Nolan Factory. I stood there looking at the 1861 documents and I actually cried.
About the Author:
One Fun Fact You Didn’t Know About Me: I was the Hula Hoop Champion of my 6th grade class in Glen Rock, New Jersey. I finally graduated from spinning hoops to spinning stories.
Born in New York City, and raised in northern New Jersey, I was lured into historical fiction by Anya Seton’s, The Turquoise. Now a spinner of historical fiction myself, I love to weave stories of unforgettable characters set in emotionally charged settings. Combining my passion for history and strong female protagonists, I blog at www.strongwomeninhistory.wordpress.com. My debut novel, Cut From Strong Cloth, pays tribute to the power of one woman’s perseverance.
Thanks so much, Linda! I am honored to have you on my blog.
It has been so much fun having here visiting with us, Linda! Thanks again.
Please send me and Linda your questions in the comments. If there is something I Forgot to ask please ask it. Linda will see your questions and answer them as well. We love comments!!