Monday, November 19, 2012
Timothy L. O’Brien - The Lincoln Conspiracy - Author Interview
1. How did you come up with the title?
I wanted something that evoked Abraham Lincoln, of course, but something that also captured the intense forces surrounding him and at work in the era. The Lincoln Conspiracy offered a way to accomplish both of those things as a title.
2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I think the core message is that people in post–Civil War America had to respond to extraordinary change and that the men and the women of the period were remarkable in how, exactly, they chose to respond. I think another core message is that political upheaval and conflict often simply come down to what they have always come down to: money.
3. How much of the book is realistic?
I hope all of it! Much of the book involves actual historical figures and I tried to keep as close as possible to the fact pattern and the realities of the world in which people such as Edwin Stanton, Alexander Gardner, Allen Pinkerton, Sojourner Truth, Mary Todd Lincoln, and Dorothea Dix all lived and breathed.
4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
There are always passages in which I feel like I could have made the writing better or made the plot deeper. But I suppose that is something that will always plague me when I review my own stuff, so I try to take that into account. The short answer is no and the long answer is…not really.
5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Time management, since I have a busy day job, and finding the creative space to immerse myself in the work.
6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned a lot about women in the Civil War era and a lot about how primal and important the railroads were.
7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Great question. I always just loved to write, but I also had wonderful teachers and mentors who encouraged me to take writing seriously, particularly in high school.
8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I love James Wright and Elizabeth Bishop, the poets; William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens; and Martin Cruz Smith and Hilary Mantel. All of them are wonderful writers and they all evoke complex worlds that I enjoy exploring with them.
9. Tell us your latest news.
I’m at work on the next Temple McFadden mystery. He and Fiona are moving to New York and they will continue to encounter many of the same wheeler-dealers and manipulators that spent so much time avoiding in The Lincoln Conspiracy.
10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I’m deeply grateful for your interest in The Lincoln Conspiracy and the remarkable cast of characters who inhabit the book.
About the Book
A nation shattered by its president’s murder. Two diaries that reveal the true scope of an American conspiracy. A detective determined to bring the truth to light, no matter what it costs him.
From award-winning journalist Timothy L. O’Brien comes a gripping historical thriller that poses a provocative question: What if the plot to assassinate President Lincoln was wider and more sinister than we ever imagined?
In late spring of 1865, as America mourns the death of its leader, Washington, D.C., police detective Temple McFadden makes a startling discovery. Strapped to the body of a dead man at the B&O Railroad station are two diaries, two documents that together reveal the true depth of the Lincoln conspiracy. Securing the diaries will put Temple’s life in jeopardy—and will endanger the fragile peace of a nation still torn by war.
Temple’s quest to bring the conspirators to justice takes him on a perilous journey through the gaslit streets of the Civil War–era capital, into bawdy houses and back alleys where ruthless enemies await him in every shadowed corner. Aided by an underground network of friends—and by his wife, Fiona, a nurse who possesses a formidable arsenal of medicinal potions—Temple must stay one step ahead of Lafayette Baker, head of the Union Army’s spy service. Along the way, he’ll run from or rely on Edwin Stanton, Lincoln’s fearsome secretary of war; the legendary Scottish spymaster Allan Pinkerton; abolitionist Sojourner Truth; the photographer Alexander Gardner; and many others.
Bristling with twists and building to a climax that will leave readers gasping, The Lincoln Conspiracy offers a riveting new account of what truly motivated the assassination of one of America’s most beloved presidents—and who participated in the plot to derail the train of liberty that Lincoln set in motion.
Genre: Historical, Suspense, Thriller
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Release Date: September 18, 2012
Buy Links: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, IndieBound
About the Author
Timothy L. O’Brien is the Executive Editor of The Huffington Post, where he edited the 2012 Pulitzer Prize–winning series about wounded war veterans, “Beyond the Battlefield.” Previously, he was an editor and reporter at The New York Times. There, he helped to lead a team of Times reporters that was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in Public Service in 2009 for coverage of the financial crisis. O’Brien, a graduate of Georgetown University, holds three master's degrees -- in US History,Business and Journalism -- all from Columbia University. He lives in Montclair, New Jersey, with his wife and two children.
Links to connect with Timothy: