I am very proud to announce that my second book, Blessed are the Peacemakers: A Shattered Nation Novella, has been published. It's available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats. It tells the story of the peace conference between the Union and Confederacy following the events of Shattered Nation. The story is seen through the eyes of John C. Breckinridge, former Vice President of the United States and Confederate major general, now serving as a Confederate delegate to the peace talks.
The unexpected success of Shattered Nation: An Alternate History Novel of the American Civil War has been a source of enormous satisfaction for me. Blessed are the Peacemakers is the first of what I expect will be several novellas that follow on from Shattered Nation. It is intended to serve as a bridge between Shattered Nation and its sequel, House of the Proud, which I hope to publish in late 2015 or early 2016. I'm also doing preliminary work on a novel detailing what happened in the Shenandoah Valley during the events of Shattered Nation. It's becoming increasingly clear to me that the literary adventure I embarked upon when I started work on Shattered Nation some years ago will be a lifelong project.
Yet it won't be the only project. Although I find the American Civil War utterly fascinating and absorbing, it is far from my only historical interest. Indeed, I am one of those unfortunate people who are interested in so many different things that they find it difficult to focus on any one subject for a long amount of time. When confronted with occasional writer's block with Shattered Nation or Blessed are the Peacemakers, I have distracted myself by doing preliminary work, mostly researching and outlining, on alternate history novels that have nothing to do with the Shattered Nation timeline. My long term plans include alternate history novels dealing with the Second World War, the United States during the 1790s, the reign of Henry VIII, and the last years of the Roman Republic. Alternate history fiction is an immense and surprisingly untapped source of literary possibilities. Though I am still comparatively young, the sad truth is that I doubt I will live long enough to write all the books I want to write.
Writing Blessed are the Peacemakers has been an interesting intellectual adventure. As with any excursion into the realm of alternate history, it's fascinating to look at the events of the past from a different perspective. The outcome of the American Civil War and the subsequent course of American history, like most other major historical events, has the whiff of inevitability about it. But nothing in history was inevitable. Had events of the American Civil War unfolded as depicted in Shattered Nation, the situation in 1865 would have obviously been vastly different than what it was in the history with which we are familiar. Trying to map out the course history might have taken, while being careful not to be carried away by flights of fancy, is a tremendously difficult yet strangely satisfying task.
Composing the actual text of the peace treaty, which appears at the end of the novella, was especially challenging and enjoyable. I spent many hours scouring through the texts of eighteenth and nineteenth century treaties of peace and commerce in order to master the proper language. This might strike some people as unimaginably boring, but I personally found it to be quite fun.
Anyway, for those who choose to read this little volume, I hope you enjoy it and I hope you look forward to what's coming in the future.