Welcome to my new blog page. Today I am interviewing Jim Carey, who wrote a truly terrific novel called “Echoes from Home”. My husband is a Civil War history buff, and he really enjoyed the book too.
So without further ado, let’s see what is going on with Mr. Carey:
What inspired you to write this book?
It was early in my writing career when I woke up one morning just knowing that I was going to write a book on the Civil War. At first, I envisioned a grand epic of famous generals and major battles, but very early into the writing process I realized that was not the story I was going to tell. I felt it was my calling to tell the tale of the common soldier. With each rewrite the characters became more alive and more real to me. It was my privilege to share their experiences.
And you certainly did a good job of it. Your characters were very real. I am curious though–why is the Confederate point of view used?
All I can say is this is the story that presented itself to me and Josh Miller was the character who told the story. It was from his very Southern perspective that the story came to be. In my experience of writing I have found that sometimes I choose the story and other times the story chooses me.
So very true–anyone who has written books can agree on that. Please tell us more about Josh Miller, your “muse”.
Joshua, to me, was essentially an every man’s soldier. I do believe that his story could be almost any soldier’s story in any war. He was an average young man who came of age during those incredibly tumultuous times in our country’s history. His life, and therefore his future, was forged by these events that he experienced during the “Great War of Northern Aggression”. During this war he experienced triumphs and great personal tragedies which collectively not only molded the character of the soldier, but the character of an entire nation.
I felt that when I was reading the book. Almost every page could have been written in any war ever fought.
Have you always been a Civil War buff?
I’ve not been just a Civil War buff, but rather an American history buff in general. To the best of my memory, my interest started when I was six years old. That was when my mother took me to see “Shenandoah”, a Civil War movie starring Jimmy Stewart. Looking back, that movie seemed to grab hold of my soul and never let go.
Have you been to any of the Civil War battle fields?
Yes, I have been to several over the years. I have been to Gettysburg, Shiloh, Chattanooga, and Chickamauga. All of these were powerful places to visit, but I found Gettysburg to be truly sacred ground.
My husband and I went to Gettysburg too. I have to agree–that is hallowed ground.
Have you been to any Civil War reenactments?
Yes, I have been to several Civil War reenactments over the last year doing book signings at most of them. Much to my wife’s dismay, I even purchased “period clothing” (civilian) to better get into the spirit. At those events, I met many people who share my love and passion for American history. Before writing my book, I never would have imagined the number of annual events and the interest that remains in a war that ended 150 years ago.
My husband and I were re-enactors, and it is a very big thing. But the organizers will tell you: the re-enactments are not to glorify war, they are to help us never to forget the sacrifices of that time.
Do you plan to write more in this genre?
Yes, my next book is finished and it will be a collection of short stories based on the Civil War. The stories were written from many different perspectives. It is tentatively titled “The High Price of Freedom”. After that I plan to publish several books on World War II and then I plan to move on to another genre, quite different from historical fiction. I have always enjoyed classic horror stories and I have two zombie themed books written.
Marvelous on all of them!
Was it difficult to write historical fiction?
In all honesty, it was not. I simply let the story tell itself in the first draft, using nothing more than a Civil War timeline to guide me. Then with each rewrite I filled in more and more of the historical detail. The final step before publication was to have a local history professor who is also a Civil War re-enactor do an historical edit to ensure that I had accurately represented the facts.
Yes, my husband could find nothing misrepresented. And he is a fanatic for detail when it comes to history. Great job!!
What do you believe is the true message of this story?
In my heart, I believe that after all is said and done, Echoes from Home is not just a “war story”. It is Josh Miller’s warning from a distant time to the present not to be seduced by the imagined glamor or glory of war. Caught up in events that quickly grew bigger than could ever be imagined, Josh and his friends and family soon found themselves to be nothing more than pawns in a grand game where no one ever wins. The story is tragic yet sadly has been repeated many times since. And until humanity can find a better way, this appears to be our fate.
We don’t seem to learn from history, so we repeat it constantly. Some day…
It’s been great hearing more about what it took to write such a terrific book, and your aspirations for the future. Where can we find more about you?
ECHOES FROM HOME
Set in the time period of the Civil war, this historically edited novel follows a young man named Joshua Miller who, along with his best friend Monte, decides to show loyalty to the South by joining the Morgan County Scouts, a small cavalry unit based out of Alabama. Certain that the boys of the Confederacy would beat the Yanks and be back home in no time, Joshua leaves behind his mother, his beloved fiancée Missy Sue, and his boyhood dog named Blue to seek the adventure and glories of war. As this coming of age story unfolds, the readers follow the characters through both the human and the soldier’s perspectives of the main battles of the Western theater of the Civil War. Letters sent between Joshua and Missy Sue at first share excitement and anticipation and then ultimately the disillusionment, heartache and true horrors of this time in American history. As the war dragged on and the imagined glorified life of adventure turned into the harsh realities of war, the boys became conflicted with the very concept of what exactly they were fighting for. What started out as a grand adventure became a series of very powerful lessons in hardship and courage, love and loss.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Echoes from Home is the first novel published by author Jim Carey. A social worker, then a chiropractor by training, writing has been a passion for Jim for the past twenty years. Jim describes himself as a story teller. His interest in the Civil War started early. After seeing Jimmy Stewart’s movie Shenandoah at the age of six, Jim became fascinated with the Civil War. As the years passed, playing with toy soldiers became part of his past, but his interest with the Civil War continued. For years Jim planned to one day write a book that would be a typical civil war story filled with names and places, battles, dates and divisions, but shortly after the writing began, the character of Joshua Miller started to fully develop and he began to realize that the Civil War was to be the backdrop for the life story of this young man and his friends as they journeyed through these powerful events in American history. Jim’s next project will be a collection of short stories based on the Civil War, tentatively entitled The High Price of Freedom.