Thursday, 7 October 2010

Writers interacting with readers

I have an article in the latest issue of America's Civil War magazine. It's a reappraisal of Bloody Bill Anderson, a notorious Confederate bushwhacker who was a tactical genius. It includes a lot of material that couldn't fit into my book American Civil War Guerrilla Tactics.

Within a week of it being out I got an interesting email from a WWII veteran who 65 years ago met a man who claimed to have known Bloody Bill. This fellow said Bloody Bill didn't really get killed by a Union militia in 1864 (a scene in my Civil War novel), but faked his death and laid low for many years in Texas. He even showed my reader a grave with the name "Bill Anderson" on it.

I'd heard about this before, but he supplied some more details I didn't know. That's my idea of a perfect reader! While I believe Bloody Bill really did die in the war--his death photo looks like him and all his comrades say he died--these stories are part of the lore of the Old West. I have an insatiable appetite for stories like this.

I've gotten some nice responses from my Civil War book too. It's a subject that touches a lot of people. I'm always happy when people track me down through this blog and send me personal emails. Writing can be a lonely business and I'm grateful for messages from my readers. So if you like my stuff, feel free to comment or write, especially if you have a story to tell!


irishoma said...

Hi Sean,
Congragulations on your publishing credit. The cover is great--and I noticed your article mentioned at the bottom right of the cover.

Fascinating that the man contacted you. If my memory isn't wrong, I believe a member of MWG wrote about Bloody Bill Anderson. His name is Larry Wood and he's from Joplin. Your post triggered that memory.

Take care,
Donna Volkenannt

Sean McLachlan said...

I've read a lot of Larry Wood's work, including his book "The Civil War Story of Bloody Bill Anderson". He's just come out with two more books I plan to buy! Another good book is "Bloody Bill Anderson: The Short Savage Life of a Civil War Guerrilla" by Castel and Goodrich.

Pat Hughes said...

Hi Sean - how strange that I found your blog by googling "midlist author" & ended up finding another author as obsessed with Civil War Missouri as I am. Even though I was born & raised in Connecticut & now live in Pennsylvania - never had a physical connection with Missouri at all - I've been intrigued by the Border Wars & the guerrilla war since I was a kid. I'm excited to run to Borders (ha!) this morning & try to get this issue of Civil War. BTW I'm also a midlist author, mostly of young adult historical fiction, and my first book back in 2001 was "Guerrilla Season" - a novel of Civil War Missouri! In it, Jesse James is a teenager, still at home on the farm. The book's main character is the fictional Matt Howard, Jesse's best friend. It takes place in the summer of 1863 when the boys are trying to decide whether to "go to Quantrill." Awesome blog, Sean!

Sean McLachlan said...

Hi Pat! I've seen Guerrilla Season on the shelves of the State Historical Society of Missouri. Always nice to meet another student of the Border Wars. What are you working on at the moment?

Looking for more from Sean McLachlan? He also hangs out on the Civil War Horror blog, where he focuses on Civil War and Wild West history.

You can also find him on his Twitter feed and Facebook page.