If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

Our July author interviews: Ellen Byerrum (7/5), Day of the Dark anthology authors (7/12 and 7/19), and Nancy Cole Silverman (7/26).

Saturday Guest Bloggers in July: 7/1--Fran Stewart, and 7/8--Nancy Cole Silverman. WWK Saturday bloggers write on 7/15--Margaret S. Hamilton, 7/22--Kait Carson, and 7/29--E. B. Davis.


“May 16, 2017 – The Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) today announced the finalists of the second annual Star Award, given to authors of published women’s fiction. Six finalists were chosen in two categories, General and Outstanding Debut. The winners of the Star Award will be announced at the WFWA Retreat in Albuquerque, New Mexico on September 23, 2017.”

In the general category, WWK’s Carla Damron was one of three finalist for her novel, The Stone Necklace. Go to Carladamron.com for more information. Congratulations, Carla!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Sight Unseen" in Fish Out of Water, Guppie (SinC) anthology, just released, and "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

Linda Rodriquez has two pending book publications. Plotting the Character-Driven Novel will be released by Scapegoat Press on November 29th. Every Family Doubt, the fourth Skeet Bannion mystery, is scheduled for release on October, 18, 2017. Look for the interview by E. B. Davis here on that date!

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.

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Friday, October 1, 2010

Abraham Lincoln was my Co-Author

Abraham Lincoln for the Defense is not just a mystery I wrote about Abraham Lincoln, it is also I mystery I wrote with Abraham Lincoln. I was sitting in the library reading the Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln when I came across a letter he wrote to his best friend, Joshua Speed on June 19 of 1841 about the murder trial of Henry and William Trailor. Lincoln was one of the counsels for the defense. He told Speed about the “curious affair” and “mystery” that remained at the end of the trial. He laid out the timeline, the characters, the physical evidence, the testimony of witnesses at the trial, and the verdict. I considered the information for some time and reluctantly concluded that so much information was missing, that it was impossible to develop a credible story about what might have happened. At the end of the trial, even after the verdict, some people swore that Henry and William Trailor had committed bloody murder. Henry and William, on the other hand vehemently swore that they were innocent and argued that it could be that no crime at all had been committed. I could not tell, since Lincoln did not know, who had done what to whom.

I was quite disappointed. In 1841, Lincoln was the junior partner in a law firm with a much more famous senior partner. He was not well known. He had only been practicing law for a few years. He was a minor player in local politics. He had broken off his engagement to Mary Todd for unknown reasons. Historians still argue about why.

What I didn’t know was that Lincoln was not through with me yet. I continued to read the Collected Works intermittently and eventually came across an Editorial written on April 15, 1846 titled: The Trailor Murder Case Remarkable Case of Arrest for Murder. I thought - Trailor Murder Case. I’ve heard that name before. Sure enough, it was Lincoln’s reflections on the same case, five years later. By this time Lincoln knew, and spelled out who had done what to whom. But even knowing that only created a greater mystery about how and why the events transpired they way they did. In the editorial, Lincoln thoughtfully provided a long list of unanswered questions and concluded that no one would ever know the truth.

I realized that to create a credible story I would have to answer every question. But I knew if I could answer them, I would have a work based on a real trial conducted by Abraham Lincoln that so interested him that he thought and wrote about it for five years.

With a combination of luck, research and imagination I was able to answer every question in a believable way. I’ll never know if I got the right answers but I did end up with possible answers.

A final gift Mr. Lincoln gave me was advice about writing the novel. Keep in mind that, apart from his importance in politics, Lincoln was one of the greatest American writers of all time. I admit that I did not immediate recognize how valuable the advice was but Lincoln wrote in the editorial, “it is readily conceived that a writer of novels could bring the story to a more perfect climax.”

My first dozen or so attempts at an ending were just awful. A number of years and as Lincoln might say, “a myriad” of revisions later I realized how right he was. I finally went beyond the resolution of the case, which came weeks later than the end of the trial, retuned to the questions Mr. Lincoln had so considerately laid out for me and provided the reader with answers for each one.

I'd like to think that Lincoln would have approved of my speculations and bringing new attention to a case he described as "remarkable." The trade paperback version of "our" novel (now out of print) garnered six five-star reviews on Amazon.com. Of course Lincoln's account of his debates with Stephen A. Douglas during the election of 1858 for Senator from Illinois has never gone out of print.

7 comments:

Pauline Alldred said...

I always think of Lincoln and the Civil War so I was fascinated to picture him as a young lawyer pondering over cases that seemed unsolvable.

Ramona said...

You really can't go wrong taking writing advice from Abraham Lincoln, can you? Sounds like a great story, Warren.

E. B. Davis said...

Fascinating Warren, to have written a book based on facts presented by Lincoln. I hate the time research takes, but love the knowledge and the chain, when one fact leads to another.

evleroux said...

Researching an individual has the means of bringing that individual alive. Working, so to speak, with Lincoln must have been an amazing journey.

Warren Bull said...

One thing about researching Abraham Lincoln was that I enjoyed learning about him. I owe a debt to historians but learned more from reading his writings than from historians who wrote about him. I really did not mind spending years "in his company" and I have developed opinions of my own about Lincoln controversies.

Barb said...

To this day, I think Abraham Lincoln is worth a series. That man was so honest and trustworthy, so intelligent. I'd follow his lead to the ends of the earth.

Warren Bull said...

Barb, I wish you were a publisher. I've finished a second Lincoln novel set with the Lincoln - Douglas debates as the background but I haven't found a publisher.