March 28, 2017

The Blue Hour by Vicki Righettini - Guest Post

Blue Hour by Vicki Righettini

Book Details:
Blue Hour by Vicki Righettini
Publisher: Mill City Press (Nov 17, 2015) 
Category: Historical Fiction, Romance, Pioneer Woman, Strong Female Character, Western 
Tour date Mar/Apr, 2017 
ISBN: 978-1634138291 
Available in Print & ebook, 560 pages

Description of Blue Hour by Vicki Righettini
IN THIS EPIC TALE of love, loss, and redemption, the year is 1861, a time when women are expected to be married by a certain age. At 26, spinster Emily Wainwright has no reason to believe her sheltered life will ever change—until the charming Samuel Todd unexpectedly crosses her path. Samuel yearns to homestead and start a family in Oregon, but he first needs to find a wife. Blinded by Samuel’s good looks, and grasping at her final chance to have a husband and children, Emily accepts his marriage proposal. However, Samuel is not the man she thought he was, and her marriage becomes a cold, cruel prison, offering her no solace amidst the hardships of farm life. When Samuel dies and a second chance at love and happiness arrives in the form of farmhand Cole Walker, Emily must overcome her bitter past—or risk losing Cole and the life she has always dreamed of having.

Guest Post:
SECOND CHANCES: The Power of What if? 

Fiction gives us a second chance that life denies us – Paul Theroux, novelist

Readers of historical fiction are lucky. The books we read are time machines: they transport us to other places and eras. Historical fiction allows us access to other lives and loves, triumphs and hardships, all from the comfort and safety of our favorite easy chair. In a sense, historical fiction, though remaining true to the era, creates an opportunity to change the past, to create an alternate or parallel past.

Writers of historical fiction are also lucky. When we create a character living in the past, we get to step into that person’s shoes and experience their life for big chunks of time. We get to see the world through their eyes, imagine what it's like to be alive during a certain time, with all the restrictions and challenges that entails. And we have the opportunity to change our own history through the telling of a fictional character's story.

Which is why I'm a big fan of What if?

Whenever I’m in a new place, it’s not long before I’m asking myself: What if I lived here? A trip to London might get me thinking: What if every morning I looked out on Kensington from one of these fancy white row houses? What would that be like? And What if I were living here fifty years ago? A hundred? Two hundred? What would I be wearing? Eating? Saying? What would I be doing? Who would my friends be? My enemies? My family? And most important, who would I be? How different or similar would I be, or be allowed to be?

From such questions fiction is born.

Writers play What if? all the time. We set up What if? situations in order to explore different eras and historical events. We invent What if? circumstances to challenge our characters and test their mettle. We create What if? antagonists to force our heroes and heroines to act. I'm constantly testing What if? scenarios in my head, trying to think several steps ahead in the story. What if the character did this? What would those actions mean? How would the other characters react? Where would it take the story?

Since I'm almost never where I want to be, What if? is a perfect game for me. When I was a kid, trying to cope with my highly dysfunctional family, I created alternate lives for myself to escape the chaos and free-floating rage in our house. But I also did it as a way to problem-solve my way out of those difficult situations. If I could imagine a stronger me, might I possibly find that strength inside me, just waiting for me to use it? I used my imagination to create a second chance. This is the power of What if? – learning through stories who we are, and what we’re made of.

I no longer need to tell myself stories to escape my life, except for the sheer pleasure of reading and writing, but I still do my share of daydreaming: What if I'd gone to Harvard? What if I were a six-foot tall, blonde, blue-eyed Swede? What if I were a cat or a dog? You may not want to change a thing about your life – I don't any more – but as readers or writers of historical fiction, we can try on other lives as easily as trying on a new pair of shoes, with no consequences. Well, there may be one consequence: if we're not careful we're likely to learn something we didn't know before.

Fiction, especially historical fiction, is a doorway to someone else’s world. The more we understand other lives, as seen through the lens of another time, the more we begin to understand our own. We then build empathy for others as we embrace our messy, wonderful, human lives – our own personal collection of What ifs and imagined second chances – right in the here and now.

Praise for Blue Hour by Vicki Righettini
“All of Righettini’s characters are well-rounded, in particular Emily herself, whose personal growth throughout the novel is richly detailed and memorable.”-Historical Novel Society 

“This novel is about second chances and the courage needed to take them. The most compelling aspects of The Blue Hour are not the vivid, expansive descriptions of life on the vast (and seemingly never-ending) Oregon Trail or the well-drawn characters who dance (and often trudge) between hardship and hope. Instead, the brightest lights burst forth from nuanced moments tucked throughout the story. Read this book if you want to immerse yourself in the wilds of western America in the 1860s or get lost in the even denser wilderness of love and loss. Maybe this recommendation needs to be simplified even further – read this book. It’s exhilarating to root for a character who is trying to navigate uncharted territory and make the greatest discovery of all.”-Underground Book Reviews 

“The Blue Hour is one of the finest historical novels I've ever read. You will love the author's writing and the detailed historical references. The characters are vividly portrayed, and I felt as if I knew them well. Long after I'd finished reading, I still thought about the story. It's part adventure, part love story, and part survival. Highly recommended.”-Ann Creel, Author

About Vicki Righettini
Vicki Righettini is an award-winning, nationally produced playwright, and her recently-published historical novel, The Blue Hour, was a badge winner and Pitch Perfect Pick at Underground Books. Originally from Los Angeles, Vicki lived in Oregon for over twenty years, where she developed an abiding love of the land and the Oregon way of life. Before turning to full-time writing, she worked for forty years as a singer/actress and performing arts instructor. Her blog, Between a Book and a Hard Place, focuses on the ups and downs of the creative process ( Vicki lives in San Diego with her software-developer, Jeopardy!-champion husband, and the world's shyest cat. Facebook: Twitter:

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