On Suite Harmonic

Could you tell us about the writers who have influenced your fiction most and if their presence is evident in Suite Harmonic?
Eileen Hunter, Marine on St. Croix, Minnesota

 I have a very long list of favorite writers, but I’m honestly not sure which of them have influenced my work except to say that every writer is created by other writers. We learn to write in part by reading and, whether or not we make a conscious study of a writer’s technique and style, those things are as intrinsic to the work as whatever it is that thematically draws us in as readers. Maybe something does rub off. Read more…

As the author of Suite Harmonic, if you could be reincarnated from the past to the present time, what famous New Harmony person would you be, and why?

—Jim Stinson, New Harmony, Indiana
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How do you feel about the 25th Indiana as a regiment in the Civil War?

—William Emmick, Evansville, Indiana

This is a particularly challenging question coming from you, Bill, given your deep knowledge of the 25th Indiana and your work in writing their history. Read more…

Your main character in Suite Harmonic is an Irish immigrant. As a writer raised in the segregationist South and interested in racial history, I wonder if the fact your protagonist had experienced his own form of subjugation in his native country affected the way you approached the issue of race in a book about a war fought largely over slavery.

—Paulette Bates Alden, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Since my original source material for Suite Harmonic, John Given’s Civil War letters, had a couple of oblique race references, I was attuned to this question in an unusual way right from the start, Read more…

John Given was in the Siege of Atlanta as a Union soldier.  Do you find it ironic, or at least interesting, that a number of his descendants live in the Atlanta area?

—Pam Greer, Carrollton, Georgia

Pam, I think John Given might be more surprised than I am that some of his descendants, including you and your children and grandchildren, are Georgians. But it does feel ironic to me that he went to Atlanta to fight against the South, while a number of his descendants now actually live there. Read more…

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