I have to confess Mari is a 'new to me' author and having just returned from a 6 week jaunt to the USA, and steeping myself in history (as I do), I am particularly interested in the subject of her new book BLIND TRIBUTE, the moral dilemma of the impartial reporter, oddly resonant in today's political situation.
As I do with all my guests I asked Mari to share a particular piece of interesting research with us and if you scroll to the end of this post, Mari is giving away a quill pen (like Harry's) and powdered ink, a swag pack including Harry's Editorials Collection, and a e-copy of the book to one winner.
Who was Harry Wentworth?
Percival Huntington Whaley (Percy to friends, P.H. to readers, and not incidentally the caricature on the cover of Blind Tribute), is the man from whom Harry inherited his profession, his Charleston ancestry, his barrier-island plantation, his beloved (but not enslaved) black nursemaid, and his writing career (to say nothing of his monogram). He is also the man whom I credit with indirectly giving me my love of letters.
Educated at Hobart and Kenyon, P. H. Whaley was a reporter and editor for the Charleston News and Courier beginning in 1909, the first Executive Editor of the Philadelphia Evening Ledger from 1914 to 1918, and Publisher of the Whaley-Eaton Service, an international newsgathering organization based in Washington, D.C., from 1918 to 1957. He died in 1964 at Prospect Hill Plantation on Edisto Island, South Carolina, on land owned by his family since the 1700s.
Analogous to Wentworth and Hoyt Business Service in Blind Tribute—although almost 60 years after Harry’s venture—Whaley-Eaton had offices, at various times, in Washington, London, Paris, and Tokyo. As well as private research on behalf of business clients and multiple periodicals through the years, Whaley-Eaton published bimonthly Whaley-Eaton Pamphlets on matters of interest to businessmen, and the Whaley-Eaton American Letter and Foreign Letter, the first widely circulated investment newsletters in the United States. These weekly publications were precursors to, and friendly competitors with, The Kiplinger Letter, still in circulation and often wrongly cited as the “first business newsletter” in America.
About BLIND TRIBUTE
As America marches toward the Civil War, Harry Wentworth, gentleman of distinction and journalist of renown, finds his calls for peaceful resolution have fallen on deaf—nay, hostile—ears, so he must finally resolve his own moral quandary. Comment on the war from his influential—and safe—position in Northern Society, or make a news story and a target of himself South of the Mason-Dixon Line, in a city haunted by a life he has long since left behind?
The day-to-day struggle against countervailing forces, his personal and professional tragedies on both sides of the conflict, and the elegant and emotive writings that define him, all serve to illuminate the trials of this newsman’s crusade, irreparably altering his mind, his body, his spirit, and his purpose as an honorable man. Blind Tribute exposes the shifting stones of the moral high ground, as Harry’s family and friendships, North and South, are shattered by his acts of conscience.
Read an excerpt...
“Far be it from me to keep you from suicide, Palmer, for I shall be a very merry widow, but you cannot expect me to uproot my children over a minor conflict about which you have a bad feeling. You would have me leave everything I know to assuage your fears for our safety, when you refuse to stay and ensure it yourself?! I have family here, and a home, and two girls to present and marry. There is no chance the fighting will reach Pennsylvania before the insurrection is put down, and I’ll not disrupt everything for you, or for this ridiculous war!”
Instead of backing away, he stepped forward. “I married you because you read the newspaper, Anne, and because you do not usually speak drivel. Can you be so short-sighted? You would refuse to take our children to safety, simply because it is I who suggest it?” He raised his voice for the first time since their argument began. “No, Anne! I will not hear it! I have chosen the safest course for you and the children, and the only course for myself. Stop screeching about something you should have expected. I’ve had enough argument from you for one evening. The decision has been made.”
Her tone lowered from a shriek to a loud yell as she took a step backward. “I never believed you could do such an awful thing to your wife and children! Tearing us away from everything—our whole lives—so you can stand on some ill-defined principle! It’s inhuman!” She stomped her foot again, retaking the ground she had lost, shaking the pictures on the blue silk walls and the curios interspersed among the bookshelves. An Argentinean mask toppled off a shelf, but didn’t break on the Persian carpet.
He saw the tears well up, and hoped sincerely he would ultimately be allowed to soothe her when he won the disagreement, rather than watch her walk away from the fight, lock the door to her rooms, and prepare herself for continued battle until she’d won her point. Unfortunately, Anne’s tears in such a situation could portend anything—except surrender.
Meet Mari Anne Christie
Under the name Mari Christie, she has released a book-length epic poem, Saqil pa Q'equ'mal: Light in Darkness: Poetry of the Mayan Underworld, and under pen name Mariana Gabrielle, she has written several Regency romances, including the Sailing Home Series and La Déesse Noire: The Black Goddess. Blind Tribute is her first mainstream historical novel. She expects to release the first book in a new family saga, The Lion’s Club, in 2018.
She holds a BA in Writing, summa cum laude and With Distinction, from the University of Colorado Denver, and is a member of the Speakeasy Scribes, the Historical Novel Society, and the Denver Press Club. She has a long family history in Charleston, South Carolina, and is the great-great niece of a man in the mold of Harry Wentworth.
Author Website & blog: www.MariAnneChristie.com