Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Eileen Clymer Schwab on SHADOW OF A QUARTER MOON and Giveaway!

"Eileen Clymer Schwab’s captivating novel of pre-Civil War southern plantation life, Shadow of a Quarter Moon (NAL Trade Paperback Original; July 2011; 978-0451233288; $15.00), is highly researched and captures a turbulent time in the South with pitch-perfect accuracy.

In1839 North Carolina, Jacy has been raised in privilege as the daughter of a plantation owner. But when her father suddenly dies, her cold, unfeeling mother, Claudia, schemes to marry Jacy off to a well-positioned but lecherous suitor. In a fit of fury over Jacy’s protests, Claudia calls her a “foolish, infernal quadroon”—and reveals that Jacy is the offspring of a dalliance between her father and a slave. Furthermore, her biological mother and brother are still slaves on the plantation. After these revelations, Jacy’s sense of who she is and where she belongs in the world is destroyed and, starts to see herself and the South with fresh eyes.

Inspired by the countless stories of courageous people who risked their lives to find freedom on the Underground Railroad, Eileen Clymer Schwab’s Shadow of a Quarter Moon brings to life their harrowing journey and tales of heroism. Please let me know if you’d like a review copy of the book or to schedule a guest post or Q&A with Eileen Clymer Schwab".

Please welcome author Eileen Clymer Schwab to Historically Obsessed with a guest post today on her latest release Shadow of a Quarter Moon which hit bookstores everywhere July 5, 2011. Eileen has also graciously offered up an exciting giveaway of an autographed copy of Shadow of a Quarter Moon. With out further delay please take it away Eileen.

"Imagine fleeing the only home you know, alone, with nothing but the clothes on your back. Without shoes or a map, you tread through murky nights along landscape you have never seen. You have no idea where you are going or where you will end up, yet what you are escaping makes the treacherous journey the lesser hell. In the 1800’s the secret network of escape known as the Underground Railroad was the perfect example of the best of America in the worst of America, and it serves as a vehicle of transformation for the main character in my novel, Shadow of a Quarter Moon.

Early in the book, an unimaginable secret changes the course of Jacy Lane’s life; not once, but twice. First, when it is hidden from her, and then when it is revealed. As the daughter of a plantation owner, Jacy has been raised in privilege until she discovers that she is the offspring of a dalliance between her father and a slave. Amid the shock and complexities of her mixed heritage, Jacy is simply a woman longing for love, happiness, and a sense of wholeness; however the 1800s are not a simple time and Jacy begins a treacherous journey of denial and self-discovery that is fraught with danger and life-altering choices. She soon discovers that what she chases is as elusive as the secret network she hopes can save them.

Writing a novel against an historic backdrop requires a great deal of research. For me, research is a process of discovery – not just of historical facts, but of tendencies, beliefs, undertones, and nuances of the time. Through this process I become better acquainted with my characters and the world around them. I wanted to touch and see as much as I could, beginning at the library, as well as visiting places like the Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati and other historic sites found within our National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. So often the surprises discovered in research shift plotlines or shape characters in unexpected ways. For example, while doing some research in North Carolina, I came across Dismal Swamp. As a writer, I could not overlook a name so vivid and descriptive, and I knew it would be mentioned in my story. At the time, I had no idea that the bleak sounding region was so rich and storied in Underground Railroad history, or that it would play such a significant role in my novel.

My ability to breathe life into the characters of SHADOW OF A QUARTER MOON and my previous novel, PROMISE BRIDGE was aided by the voices I “heard” while reading the Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers’ Project of 1936-38. During FDR’s New Deal, the Works Progress Administration sent writers out to find and chronicle the thoughts and memories of former slaves, many of whom were well into their eighties and nineties. The narratives are an important piece of history that can never fade away with the passing of time. Some of the dialect and phrasing found in the narratives gives credible voice to my characters. The research phase was lengthy and often appalling. Yet, at other times, it was awe-inspiring.

As an author, I am inspired by the strength and courage of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. It was an honor to look back and give voice to a generation deserving of acknowledgment, tribute, and literary life. Remembering and discussing their trials and triumphs can be one way of paying respect for their role in our social evolution. My hope is that the spirit of the Underground Railroad will never be forgotten.

For more on Links:

The giveaway is for one autographed copy. This one is only open to the US. Giveaway ends August 16th 2011 at midnight west coast time.
For 1 entry enter your name and email
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Shadow of a Quarter Moon


  1. This book sounds amazing! Thank you for the contest!

  2. Lizzy,
    I would love to review it!
    kaiminani at gmail dot com


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