Friday, August 21, 2015

History: Are You a Patriot?


Back Cover 

DUTY            COURAGE               INTEGRITY
May 1865. All Dan Goodman wants is to marry an uncomplicated girl and have a family, but the war interfered and he became a POW who now believes he’s losing his mind and unfit for marriage. He dreams of Oregon to put the memories behind him. The problem is he owes a debt of gratitude to the beautiful songstress. In addition, Clara Barton wants him to be a witness for the prosecution in the first trial for war crimes in American history.

                        INDEPENDENT     ENTERPRISING    FEISTY
Letty Talbot is a world-weary steamboat songstress, and wants a new direction after sudden loss. Letty decides to run a supply depot for emigrants going out West, and talks Dan into a partnership where he builds the prairie schooners. Letty won’t admit she wants to keep Dan from leaving. Even though they butt heads a lot, no man ever interested Letty as this one did.

                                    TRUST          LOVE            PEACE
If Letty marries Dan she losses her depot, because married women have no property rights. Letty must learn to trust God with her future. Dan must forgive fellow Union inmates who killed for selfish reasons, and face the commandant of Andersonville Prison in a court of law. Allowing his Oregon dream to fade, he can then embrace the future God planned for him.

Ada Brownell’s interview with Diane Kalas

Patriot Heart covers some interesting events and subjects. How long did it take to do the research for the book?

The research was lengthy and the time span even more so. I started with Andersonville Prison and visited the site in 1993. Wrote the first draft and then I had to leave writing for 9 years. Picked it up again in 2004, when I was laid-off. Since then, I’ve balanced writing book 2 and 3 in the Journey Home series to get the ideas down on paper as they came. I also started book 1 of another series. I think God’s helping me get caught up on lost time!

To you, what was the most interesting part of the research and the things you discovered?
Author Diane Kalas
Without a doubt, I learned about the trial of the century. This was the court martial for war crimes, the first in our country, of the Commandant of Andersonville Prison for Union soldiers after the war. I bought an interesting reprinted book in my favorite used bookstore: This Was Andersonville for just $10. Didn’t actually read it for a year or more and when I did – what a treasure in the back! There was an official government transcript (reprinted) for the prosecution of Major Wirz, giving the questions asked of those men who volunteered to be a witness, who’d been captives of the Confederates, and their answers under oath. The format and titles were what I used for those scenes when my hero testifies against the Commandant. God really blessed me with that book.

We’d like to know about Dan Goodman’s POW captivity. Where? When? What did they do to make him think he was losing his mind?

I wanted to write about a strong Christian man, placed in brutal circumstances for a length of time, and hangs onto his faith. Dan was with a squad of his company when they engaged the enemy at Philadelphia, Tennessee on October 20, 1863, where upon the Rebels captured half of the 45th. They were among the first contingents sent to Virginia’s Libby Prison. From there, they were sent to Andersonville Prison in Georgia, in February ‘64. The trauma of witnessing the brutality and death all around Dan made him feel helpless. He couldn’t help himself or his fellow POWs. Their own men attacked and killed fellow POWs. No safety anywhere. What made him think he was losing his mind were the vivid nightmares and hallucinations that he couldn’t control. He thought he was unfit for marriage, his heart’s desire.

Tell us about the first trial for war crimes in U.S. history.

The trial started August 23, 1865, and the verdict was guilty of war crimes against humanity. The Commandant was sentence was death. They hanged him in November 1865, in Washington, D.C. Another interesting aspect to the trial was Major General Lewis Wallace, US volunteers, served on the Commission of the Military Court Martial of the Commandant of Andersonville Prison, Major Henri Wirz. Wallace later became the distinguished author of the famous novel BEN HUR published in 1880. I love learning these kinds of things.

 How did Dan lead Letty to the Lord? Was she upset that he considered her a sinner?

Dan was straightforward with Letty and she rejected the idea that she could ask God to forgive her sins. She was puzzled that he cared enough about her to be concerned about where she spent eternity. Now, I don’t want to give everything away in the story, but . . . Dan just planted the seeds and disappeared from her life. Someone else closed the deal. Want to know how they got back together? I love a gutsy girl with class.

Where do you find material for your Pinterest page on 19th Century architecture, furniture and fashion? Interesting stuff!

I enjoy Pinterest – it’s great fun. I check out museums like Kent State in Ohio and the Metropolitan Museum for clothing. Colonial Williamsburg  and Greenfield Village, in my home state of Michigan, has architecture and furniture. Author’s of historical fiction have fashion boards that I pin. For my history boards, I checked out author’s of Civil War blogs, historical figures like President Lincoln, US Parks Service for Andersonville. The more you pin of a subject, the more come up for pinning when you open Pinterest.

Meet Diane Kalas

 Diane collects antique books written by men and women who lived through the American Civil War, and/or who pioneered out West. With a degree in interior design, she enjoys touring historical sites, especially Federal era homes with period furniture. Diane is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Published writers Pamela Griffin and Gina Welborn have been critique partners and mentors. Diane’s biggest challenge is writing Inspirational Historical Romance. Her biggest distraction is her fascination with historical research.