Wednesday, February 3, 2016

FEATURED AUTHOR: KEN METZ





ABOUT THE BOOK

Founding Father is a historical fiction set in 1801's Richmond, Virginia, where one of the founding fathers of our young nation, George Wythe, finds his fine-woven, Old South existence starting to unravel at the hands of treacherous political enemies, conspiring in-laws and outlaws, and several seductive Southern belles.

It has been 25 years since Wythe was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and 13 years since he was a delegate to the United States Constitutional Convention. He, the mentor to two U.S. presidents (Jefferson and Monroe) and to the Chief Justice of the U. S. Supreme Court (John Marshall}, has reached a point in his illustrious career where he can rest on his laurels. So, George and his wife retreat to the sanctum sanctorum of their manor house among the gentry in the genteel City on the James.

But Lady Luck and Lady Karma sling sand into the machine of Squire Walker's comfortable, Old South paradise. Throwing grit into his squiredom's ordinarily hum drum, friction-less machinery is a villainous arch-rival, who crosses swords with the "founding father," a no-account nephew, who manipulates his Uncle George's bank account, a dancing girl, who quickens George's pulse to a fever pitch, and a femme fatale, who tempts the founding father.

Upon the death of George's wife, the ravishing 23-year-old slave girl, Lydia, becomes the only female in Wythe's 5th and Grace Street mansion to do her master's bidding.

George wrestles with his desire to remain faithful to his deceased wife, to maintain his obedience to the code of the Old South, and to refrain from exploitation of the young Lydia, all of that versus his carnal desire for the girl.

Lydia struggles with her perceived subservient role versus her desire for the wealthy master to liberate her two young estranged sons from bondage.

Will George and Lydia lead each other into temptation? Can anyone deliver them from evil?



INTERVIEW WITH KEN METZ


Ken, you're not my husband, brother-in-law, or father-in-law. We're not related in any other way are we?
I live in Western Maryland, where I believe all of my Metz ancestors were born (as far back as my records go, at least).

Then it's highly doubtful we'd have any common ancestors. I believe my ex-husband's family came from Germany to Louisville, where his family stayed. Okay, with that out of the way, tell us how you got started writing?  
My grandson, Kade, who has a degree in literature and on his way to a degree in philosophy, was supposed to write this book, until he informed me that he did not want to write history or romance, but that I should. Well, I just laughed, laughed because I had never ever written a word of history or a word of dialog in my life. But after a period of laughing, my wife convinced me that if Kade was not going to do it then I should. Thus began my year of research.

What's your favorite thing about the writing process?
Discovering – and  completely unexpectedly – that I began to care about my characters, imagining myself in their place, feeling their emotions. When they were sad, I worried about them, when they were glad, I smiled – even teared up once as I typed one short sentence delivered by my female protagonist.
 
Do you have a writing routine?

No – only that I write about any time that food is not on the table. While at the keyboard, I can be alone or surrounded by wife, children, and/or grandchildren. In the wee morning hours my wife sometimes would come to the computer room asking when I was coming to bed. My answer was always something like, "When they stop talking to me." Surprisingly, the dialog was the easiest of all of the things I had to do.

What do you think is hardest aspect of writing a book?
Finding ways to smoothly transition from sentence to sentence, from paragraph to paragraph, from chapter to chapter.

What’s more important – characters or plot?
For my historical novel it was the plot. It was the first thing to jump out at me from my research and formed the foundation of my starting outline. Although, early on it was clear about the basic roles of my male and female protagonists, their character traits seemed to evolve from whatever path that the plot was taking them.  
 
How often do you read?

During most of my adult life, I have read almost exclusively non-fiction, in particular science non-fiction related to my high school biology and earth science teaching. I have read very little fiction, for which I am glad because I believe that has prevented me from inadvertently "borrowing" from other authors.
 
What is your writing style?
Third person narrative, with as much dialog as I can incorporate.

What do you think makes a good story?
Because I have written nothing but historical fiction, I try to insure that the reader become familiar enough with the actual history in my story to be able to follow the plot but then to be surprised when the fictional deviates from the historical.

What do you know now that you wish you knew then?
To review and edit my work from a printed hard copy, not just from a computer monitor. Mistakes that I missed on that screen jumped out at me when I saw them on paper. 

Very true. Do you have any secret talents?
In everyday life, I cannot resist using silly plays on words and simple puns -- much to the chagrin of friends and family. But that "talent" allowed me to interject some humor into Founding Father. Whatever degree of humor that was, it was merely tangential to whatever was going on in the story and almost as an afterthought. Five female readers, however, have told me that they laughed in several places in the story.

Incidentally, those same five women said that they also cried in other places. 

Is writing your dream job?
No, my dream job is after the writing is done, namely in promoting the book. By  promoting I do not mean marketing, I simply mean telling other people about my research, my writing, my characters, my story. 


Do you have any marketing tips you could pass on to indie authors?
Although I have met hundreds of people from "touring" to Richmond, Virginia, where my story takes place and to Wytheville, Virginia (named after my male protagonist, George Wythe),I have been able to promote my book to an equal number of people locally. So, don’t forget to make yourself available to libraries, schools, book clubs, etc. closer to home.

For what would you like to be remembered?
It doesn’t matter – I just do not want to be forgotten.

What’s one of your favorite quotes?
It comes from one of George Wythe's law students, Patrick Henry, in his speech at St. John’s Church in Richmond, Virginia on March 23, 1775: "Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"
 
Do you have a favorite book?
Jared Diamond's Pulitzer winning Guns Germs, And Steel, a discourse on how the advantages and disadvantages of local geography and local biology have shaped human history. 


What are you working on now?

Historical fiction titled If This be Treason: Benedict Arnold And George Washington's Spies. The novel sheds light on The Culper Spy Ring's role in foiling the infamous treasonous conspiracy by Benedict Arnold, Peggy Arnold, and Britain's Major John Andre. If This Be Treason should appeal to fans of the American Movie Classics Channel's series, called TURN.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ken was born 1940 and holds a B.S. degree in biology and an M.S. degree in geology. He's a retired high school science teacher, father of three, grandfather of seven, great-grandfather of one. Ken had not written a word of history or dialog until this, his first novel. Even more than his love of the year of researching and the year of writing Founding Father is his love of promoting the book and telling people about the story.  


Connect with Ken: 

Website  |  
Facebook 

Buy the book:
The Founding Father

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