Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Get Lost in the 1893 World’s Fair with Red Jameson!

Or, how America’s first serial killer inspired my writing…

My Glimpse Time Travel Series is a unique spin on the time travel genre. Instead of just skipping back in time to one location, one era, I have two mischievous muses who bring couples together in different lands and in different periods. Why would I do something like that? Well, I’m an historian, so, of course, I would find a way to jump through diverse times and write about it. I love doing the research for every single one of my books, one set in America during the War for Independence to another set in the Highlands of Scotland during the time when Oliver Cromwell had taken over the monarchy, etc. However, what I’ve never shared before was that my latest release, Duchess of Mine, Book 4 of the Glimpse Series, was written years ago, before I’d even envisioned the muses flinging couples around.  

See, about a decade ago, I found the author, Erik Larson. I have such a crush on this man’s writing! He writes historical books that I can’t put down, and the first book I read by him was The Devil in the White City: A Saga of Magic and Murder at the Fair that Changed America.  In a nutshell, The Devil in the White City is about America’s first, well-known serial killer, Dr. H. H. Holmes and the World’s Columbian Exhibition of 1893, or simply called the Fair.

Already the globe was atwitter with Jack the Ripper (1888-ish), but in 1893 Dr. Holmes built a labyrinth of a hotel outside of Chicago where he ushered in then killed anywhere between 27 to 200 victims.

So maybe it’s time to share more about the World Fair. It was the pentacle of American success in the 19th century. It showed how the once isolated (although, some historians would argue that we still carried on with the tradition of isolation until WWII) country had blossomed into a global contender who could rival even the likes of Britain. The Ferris Wheel was on display—the first ever built; modern skyscraper architecture held audiences captivated; there were peoples from all over the world representing their cultures; as well as Buffalo Bill made appearances, Susan B. Anthony, and even Thomas Edison was there. Hence, the World Fair of 1893 in Chicago drew in a big crowd. And there was Holmes, ready and waiting for the people with his charismatic charm and low hotel rates. 

Holmes had built the hotel through a scheme of credit frauds, and the contractors and builders who were owed thousands of dollars, by the end of the Fair, wanted to make good on that debt one way or another. No one knows how, but Holmes escaped the contractors and their death threats. But the contractors, in turn, hired the Pinkerton Detective Agency—the eye that never sleeps—to track down Holmes. It will never be understood why, but Holmes, while living on the lam, took three children with him. The children’s father was an accomplice of Holmes’s who had helped with life insurance frauds from time to time and died as a consequence of one such scheme.

For three months, Holmes had the children with him in the winter of 1893 – 1894. Then the children vanished before Holmes was arrested. A year and-a-half later one of America’s least known but most heroic detectives, Frank Geyer, tried to track down the last known whereabouts of those little children.

The Ferris Wheel at the Fair
The story of the children and of Detective Geyer captivated me. And I started to wonder about the detective being followed himself—followed by two characters who wanted to help him solve a mystery, help him because the detective was enduring overwhelming personal grief (he’d just lost his wife and daughter to a house fire) while a nation watched him do his job. Talk about pressure. So, I started writing about a couple who wanted to help Frank Geyer during the now infamous case of his. I’d written feverishly for a little over a month, finished the book, and, at that time, thought I’d have it buried under my bed until the end of time. 
  
However, that story never left me but haunted me, until, at last, after I’d created the Glimpse Series, I could finally dust that story off, rewrite a few things, and see if others liked Duchess of Mine, where a couple tried their hardest to help a tired and sad detective find three missing children. It was my way of rewriting history.

Now, I’m curious: if you could rewrite an historical event, what would it be? 

Note from Regan: Be sure to leave your email when you comment as Red is giving away a copy of Duchess of Mine to one lucky winner! 

Red Jameson is a military historian by day, sometimes she feels a bit clandestine when she writes romance at night. No one knows that while she researches heroes of the past and present, she uses everything for her characters in her books. Her secret has been safe... until now. She lives in Montana with her family and far too many animals.

You can find Red at her Website, her Blog and on Facebook. And you can buy Duchess of Mine at Amazon, B&N and iBooks.

30 comments:

  1. I do love time travel stories.

    If I could choose just one, I think I would be saving the Titanic.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Mary! So glad you enjoyed the post.

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    2. Oh, that's such a fantastic time and such a noble deed! You're my hero, Mary! Thanks for visiting!

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  2. Gosh, this sounds FASCINATING Red! I can't wait to read it. I loved Erik Larson's book, too. I've always been intrigued by the 1893 World's Fair, and you've honed in on a fascinating story. Thanks for sharing this with us!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by E. E. Love to see you!

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    2. Oh, thank you, E.E.! I'm intrigued by the Fair too and the era was filled with so many historical events! Thanks for visiting! Hugs!

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  3. the Titantic

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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    1. Hi, bn100! Thanks for commenting. You're entered to win.

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    2. Another person who would like to be aboard the Titanic! Wow! You're my hero too! Thanks for visiting! Hugs!

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  4. OMG, I have to read Duchess Of Mine! I have always been fascinated by the story behind the story. I always wonder how the outcome of history would have changed if one moment, or decision had never happened. Would you and I even exist if Abraham Lincoln had bent over to scratch his knee at the exact moment John Wilkes Booth pulled the trigger? Something to think about!!

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    1. So glad you enjoyed Red's post, Diane.

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    2. Oh, thank you, Diane! I think similarly about history. It's amazing how something so trivial, like if Abraham Lincoln had bent over for a scratch, might have changed the whole world. I like the way your mind works! Thanks for visiting! Hugs!

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  5. Okay - I'm a historian too so the event I would change is way out there. I would have Sally Webb not relinguish her mother's papers to Silas Deane but follow her mother's instructions and give them to her brother. Nice article. Wicked interesting.

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    1. Ha! I should have known you'd pick something from the American Revolution! I love it! Thanks so much for visiting! Hugs!

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    2. Thanks so much for stopping by, Ashley. Interesting idea bout Silas Deane.

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  6. I think I would like to have Benedict Arnold not be offended and become a traitor. Would it have shortened the war?
    Enjoyed the article! Did they ever find the children? That would make a great story!

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    1. Thanks, Babette, for dropping by! Interesting idea about Benedict Armold. I thought the same thing after seeing the TURN series.

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    2. Oh my, Babette! I have researched Benedict Arnold and his role in the war for years! Such an interesting man.
      Thanks! I hope it did make for a good story! Hugs!

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  7. Happy day! And welcome to get lost in a story. You always have great tidbits to dhare. Hugs

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  8. Fascinating post! Just as fascinating at those mystical muses!!

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    1. Thanks, Angela. So glad you liked Red's post... I thought it was fascinating, too!

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  9. Awesome to have you with us today, Red !!

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  10. A wonderful premise for a book...time travel books are such fun. Gosh, I really can't hone in on one particular event I would rewrite...there's so many. The assasination of Abraham Lincoln mentioned brought to mind another...what if JFK hadn't been assasinated? How different might the world be today?

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  11. Oh yes...and my e-mail...gshefty@gmail.com

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    1. Glenda, You are the winner of Red's book! Red will contact you directly! Congratulations!

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  12. LOVED the post, Red! Thank you for sharing. :0)

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  13. That hotel brings to mind Hotel California, the Eagles' song where you check in but never leave! Yikes! I adored this book. The history behind it makes it all the more fascinating. Thanks for sharing, Red!

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  14. Congratulations to Glenda Hefty! Glenda has won Red's book!

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