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

Here are the upcoming WWK interviews for the month of July!

July 4th Christopher Huang, A Gentleman's Murder

July 11th V. M. Burns, The Plot Is Murder

July 18th Edith Maxwell (Maddie Day), Death Over Easy

July 25th Shari Randall, Against The Claw

Our July Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 7/7--Mary Feliz, 7/14--Annie Hogsett, 7/21--Margaret S. Hamilton, 7/28--Kait Carson.

Our special bloggers for the fifth Monday and Tuesday of July--Kaye George and Paula Gail Benson.

Please welcome two new members to WWK--Annette Dashofy, who will blog on alternative Sundays with Jim Jackson, and Nancy Eady, who will blog on every fourth Monday. Thanks for blogging with us Annette and Nancy!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Annette Dashofy's Uneasy Prey was released in March. It is the sixth Zoe Chambers Mystery. The seventh, Cry Wolf, will be released on September 18th. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Annette on September 19th.

Carla Damron's quirky short story, "Subplot", was published in the Spring edition of The Offbeat Literary Journal. You can find it here: http://offbeat.msu.edu/volume-18-spring-2018/

Tina Whittle's sixth Tai Randolph mystery, Necessary Ends, debuts on April 3, 2018. Look for it here. Tina was nominated for a Derringer Award for her novelette, "Trouble Like A Freight Train Coming." We're all crossing our fingers for her.

James M. Jackson's Empty Promises, the next in the Seamus McCree mystery series (5th), was published on April 3, 2018. Purchase links are here. He's working on Seamus McCree #6 (False Bottom)

Dark Sister, a poetry collection, is Linda Rodriguez's tenth published book. It's available for sale here:

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.

Shari Randall's second Lobster Shack Mystery, Against the Claw, will be available in July 31, 2018.


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.


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.

Anonymous 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.