Friday, 22 June 2018

Leah's Story: A #LiteraryFiction #Novel by C.M. Huddleston

Connie M. Huddleston loved history and dreamed of writing a book even as a child. However, she got sidetracked. She became an Army wife, a mother, an elementary school teacher, an archaeologist, and a historic preservation consultant, before publishing her first book! In 2018, she published her eleventh and twelfth volumes, all dealing with her first love, our nation’s past. Five are fiction, four for children and one for YA/Adult, all under the name C.M. Huddleston. Her other works are histories for adults on a variety of subjects including three about President Theodore Roosevelt’s maternal family.

Now a full-time author, Connie resides in a log cabin near Crab Orchard, Kentucky, with her husband and their Australian Shepherd Katie. They all enjoy the quiet of rural Kentucky. Except when Katie barks at deer, turkeys, and of course, the UPS truck!

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About the Book

Leah's Story tells of an African-American girl born on a rice plantation, who grows up serving her rich owners in Georgia. Her life, like so many others, could have ended there were it not for a bit of education and Emancipation, which gave her, and later her children, opportunities to fulfill their dreams. Told in journal form, taken down by the mysterious “Miss Elliott,” Leah’s personal history comes to life like the tiny birds she carves, revealing a lifetime of love and opportunity amidst a culture filled with hardship, pain, and loss.

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Keep reading for an interview with the author:

Why did you decide to be a writer?

Writing was my childhood dream. I think many avid readers dream of putting their own characters in a book, telling their own story, and becoming known for making people want to read their books. Despite this dream, life got in the way, and I was almost 60 when I printed my first book. Now I have twelve in print!

Did you have a hard time sharing your work with the public?

Not until this most recent book, Leah's Story. I was told I was the wrong color to write about slavery. However, I felt that more than twenty years of archaeological and historical research into the South's African-American slave plantations gave me the necessary background to address the subject. My own imagination could fill in the rest.

Where are you from?

Currently, I live in rural Kentucky. I just recently discovered the very rich writing community in nearby Berea, a town and college known for its artistic ventures and support. I am now working to join that community.

Do you have a "day job"?

I'm a retired school teacher, archaeologist, and historic preservation consultant. Now I get to write full time!

What genres do you write?

Nonfiction history for adults. Middle grade, time travel historical fiction and historical fiction for teens and adults - Can you see I love history?

Is there a genre that you've been wanting to experiment with?

I think I'd just better finish up all the books I have started. No new genres for me, although, I joke with my daughter, a science-fiction author, that I'm going to write a steamy romance just so I can make some money!

If you could be one of your characters for a day, who would it be and why?

Oh, I would be Rose, the female lead in my Adventures in Time books. Rose and Greg can time travel into history. I think that's really every historian's and archaeologist's dream. What better way to explore and learn history than to see it happen.

What is the oddest thing you've ever researched for one of your books?

How to harness oxen to a wagon! Thank God for YouTube videos!

What is the most difficult thing you've ever researched?

Slavery. Even after twenty years of reading first-hand accounts and scholarly research, I often find the information to be heartbreaking.

What authors have most influenced you?

Robert Morgan's "Boone: A Biography" Morgan was/is a novelist and his biography reads like a novel. It showed me how you can transform history into a readable subject.

When did you first consider yourself an author?

Before my first book, I was the author/co-author of over twenty archaeological reports. But I truly felt like an author when, in 2014, I published "Greg's First Adventure in Time." Of, course, winning a gold medal from Literary Classics in 2016 for the book certainly re-enforced that feeling.

What are you working on now?

I am finishing the edits of "Greg's Fourth Adventure in Time" and working on two new historical novels, one middle-grade and one adult.

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