Author Interview: Lindsey Fera Muskets and Minuets
JMR- Hello Lindsey, welcome to the Book’s Delight. Tell us where you live and what you do for fun. What does the perfect day look like?
LF- Hi, Jeanie! Thanks so much for hosting me! I live in the New Hampshire Seacoast, but I’m from the North Shore of Boston. For fun, I’ve always loved listening to music and singing, I use to perform in musical theatre, I’m also a big karaoke fan. I really enjoy cooking, and of course, I’m always down to read a good book. Because of the rich history of where I grew up and where I currently live, I love researching history and attending re-enactments; it gives me insight and inspiration for writing historical fiction.
The perfect day, that’s a tough one! I’d have to say it depends on the season. If it’s spring, it has to be 70 degrees, no humidity, the grill is on, and I’m drinking a Sam Adams summer ale. If it’s fall or winter, I’m curled up by the fire with a good book or my lap top, and I’m lost to some historic place!
JMR- We have a lot in common! I was once an ICU nurse; I was born in Boston and I wrote a book set during the American Revolution! Why do you think so many nurses end up writing books? How did growing up in the epicenter of the American Revolution influence your love of history and writing?
LF- I love it!!! I think as nurses (as well as other healthcare professions), we deal with a lot of hard, emotional, sad realities—as well as joyous ones, too! But to combat the harsh truths, I think writing is a way of escape; it’s a way of processing grief and the difficult things we see and do in our jobs. As far as growing up in the epicenter of the American Revolution, it has always been at the foreground of my life. The house I grew up in is situated on old farm land for the house next door, a house built in the 1780s. I’ve lived in and around historic places, such as Ipswich, and Danvers (old Salem Village) and Salem, both made famous for the 1692 Witch Trials (hint, my second book for which I’m researching). These are the places I would go shopping, meet up with friends to go out, etc. It was modern day meets history, and I loved that. I remember in 5th grade we did the freedom trail in Boston for a field trip; another year we went to Sturbridge Village, another year we did Salem. So, it’s always been a part of my life, and I’ve always been drawn to it. So, in my junior year of high school, I decided to finally write about it, and my first original novel, Muskets and Minuets, was born.
JMR- Is it safe to say that Colonial America is your favorite historical setting? Is there any other time period that really catches your attention?
LF- Yes, by far, from the 1670s through the Revolutionary War, is my favorite. I am intrigued by how people were back then; coming to this land they deemed as “new”, which we all know was inhabited for thousands of years by the Native Americans, and their relationships with the native peoples of America, followed by the Witch Trials, and the wars. It’s all very fascinating to me, and I think it’s an important time in history for us to be informed, particularly from a Native American standpoint. The history we learn is school is very white-washed, for lack of a different term, and we need to see and hear the history of that time period from many sides and perspectives to truly understand and know what it was like back then. Another time period that catches my attention is the Regency period in England. I am also very interested in ancient Rome.
JMR-Who is your favorite historical female and why?
LF- That’s such a hard question! There are so many. I think for the purpose of loving the American Revolution, I’d say Deborah Sampson (Abigail Adams and Lucy Flucker Knox being second and third). Sampson disguised herself as a man and fought in the war, and I adore that about her. I admire any woman of history willing to break the mold of her position in society, and plow a new path for herself and other women. But I must say, Jane Austen is my muse, and I absolutely love her for the way she wrote books, never married, and lived by her pen—something women did not do back then.
JMR-You wrote a very impassioned blog post for Independence Day 2020. Tell us a little bit about that.
LF- I did. I’ve always celebrated Independence Day with a particular lens, and this year I wanted to address several things that are often overlooked. I will always respect and honor those who fought and died for the birth of this country during the American War for Independence. But I cannot ignore the genocide of the Native American peoples of this land, lives that were taken needlessly and senselessly; the black and brown peoples forced into slavery who are still experiencing a racist society hundreds of years later; the women who did not get the right to vote until the 20th century and who were expected to vote the same as their husband, no matter their opinion—women have been considered as men’s property in many societies for a very long time. So, it was hard for me to celebrate without acknowledging these truths—and there are still many not listed here, or even in my blog post. I think it’s important for us as Americans to realize fully our whole history, and not just the parts that are flowery and make us look good and feel good to the rest of the world. There are a great deal of ugly truths to go along with the utopian ideals of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” that all Americans should learn, recognize, and know.
JMR-What is one thing you think most American’s don’t know or understand about the American Revolution.
LF- That the Americans were as brutal as the British. We tend to portray ourselves as the innocent little revolutionaries who just wanted freedom from big, bad Britain. Not the case. The Sons of Liberty in Boston were a rowdy, radical bunch of “terrorists”. They ransacked the governor’s mansion. They instigated brawls with the king’s soldiers, and threw ice and oysters and rocks at them, which turned into the Boston Massacre. We were not thrilled about taxation with no representation in parliament, that is true, and rightfully so; and the king was deemed ‘mad’. A lot of conflict could have been avoided, but we weren’t so willing, and neither was the king, particularly at the beginning of the conflict (1768-1775). Most Americans, notably in Boston, were moderates—they were unhappy about taxation laws, but did not wish to sever ties with England, and they certainly did not wish to go to war. They still saw themselves as British citizens, which is true for most colonists throughout America at this time.
JMR-Tell us about your upcoming book, Muskets and Minuets. When will it be available?
LF- Muskets and Minuets is a coming-of-age story set in Massachusetts 1770-1775. It follows a young girl named Annalisa Howlett, who learns to shoot a musket and joins the local militia, dressed as a boy (sound familiar? Deborah Sampson was my inspiration!). When Annalisa meets and falls in love with Jack Perkins, a wealthy, young lawyer from Boston who is destined to marry her older sister, Annalisa finds herself pulled between two worlds—one of muskets, and the other of Minuets. All of this is set during the beginning conflicts of the war, and the reader will find themselves immersed in pivotal historical events such as the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, Lexington and Concord, and Bunker Hill. The book has been contracted by an indie publisher, and is currently undergoing edits. It will be out either late next year (2021), or early 2022. I don’t have a release date yet, but readers interested can check my website for the official date!
JMR- It might surprise your readers to know that there really were women who fought in the militias for their country, Deborah Sampson not only fought but received a pension for her actions, albeit begrudgingly. Did you base your character on any one woman or is purely a figment of your imagination?
LF- Ha! I love it! And yes. Annalisa was inspired by Deborah Sampson, but also, strangely, Fa Mulan. I love the idea of a woman masquerading as a man and fighting in battle, especially at a time when it was so important for a girl to be a woman and marry well. What does that even mean for us today? Back then, it was paramount, and so for a woman, let alone a girl at the precipice of womanhood, to question what it means to her is unfounded. I wanted Annalisa to break the mold, but I also wanted her to have her own story and journey, and to find her own place within 18th century society. I couldn’t break the rules too much—it wouldn’t have been believable, which I find to be the biggest challenge of writing historical fiction.
JMR- Lindsey, tell us what’s next? Are you working on another project?
LF- I am! I’m in the researching/plotting/writing phase for my next book, set during the Salem Witch Trials. It’s called the Candlemas Massacre, based on an event that took place in York, Maine in February of 1692, only a few weeks after the girls were first inflicted in Reverend Parris’s home in Salem Village.
JMR-In this crazy year we call 2020, how has Covid and the pandemic affected you as a writer?
LF- COVID has changed everything for everyone, and for me, it’s been particularly grueling. I haven’t found the will to write much. I’d been so preoccupied by taking care of COVID patients in the ICU back in March, April and May, that I’ve not had the energy to think clearly and write when I’m home. I thought I’d be able to ignore it and immerse myself into different times and places, but I find I’m so emotionally drained and exhausted. I’m not even up for doing research, which is imperative for my next book. I am hoping I’ll get through this rut soon!
JMR- What question were you hoping I’d ask but didn’t?
LF- You’ve asked me everything! It’s been such a pleasure, and I so very much appreciate it.
JMR- Well thank you Lindsey for stopping by. It's always a pleasure to talk to another history lover! Good luck with your writing. Readers if you would like to follow Lindsey, here are her social media/website links: