Rachel Thompson

James Rada Jr. on Family, Motivation & Writing @JimRada #AmWriting #AmReading #HistFic

Tell us a bit about your family.
Next year will be my 25th wedding anniversary. My wife, Amy, and I have two sons, one of which just graduated high school. Amy and I were friends in elementary and high school, but we didn’t start dating until we ran into each other after graduating college.
How do you work through self-doubts and fear?
I get hit with doubts and fears like most everyone. At first, I try and avoid or put off whatever is causing it. There comes a point, though, where that can’t be done and I just have to face the problem. So I guess painting myself into a corner where I have no choice but to face the fear is how I deal with it.
Why do you write?
I write because I like telling stories. Novels let me tell big stories, but they take time and I am getting ideas for stories all the time so I write articles and short stories, too, to try and relieve that log jam of stories that builds up.
Have you always enjoyed writing?
I have enjoyed writing since I was five. I have my first story that I wrote in kindergarten. I take it with me when I give a lot of talks. I dictated it to my kindergarten teacher who typed it up on construction paper. I then illustrated it in crayon. If you see my illustrations, you’ll realize why I became a writer and not an artist.
What motivates you to write?
I write to make a living, but I choose to make a living writing because I like telling stories. Sometimes, I’ll have a story idea that interests me, but I can’t work on it because I’ve got other projects that I need to finish first. If it’s a good idea, it nags at me. It becomes a reason that I hunker down and finish my other projects so I can jump into the new story.
What writing are you most proud of?
On the fiction side, I would have to say that I’m proudest of my first historical novel, Canawlers. Not only was it my first historical novel, so many people kept asking me about the characters and story that it led to a series. On the non-fiction side, I am proudest of Saving Shallmar: Christmas Spirit in a Coal Town. After I wrote about the story for a newspaper column, it stuck with me. I finally managed to track down some of the people involved in the story and do first hand interviews to supplement the research I had down. The result was a non-fiction story that I think touches people’s hearts when they read it and at the same time amazes them that something like this could happen in America.
What books did you love growing up?
There was a series of biographies for tweens that I used to get out of the school library when I was a kid. I don’t remember what the series was called but there were dozens of easy to read biographies that introduced me to history. In high school, though, I read everything that Louis L’Amour wrote. I even wrote my senior paper about him. It was one of the biggest thrills of my life to that point when I got to meet him in 1984.
Who is your favorite author?
Wow! That’s a hard question. I don’t have more than one. Right now, I’d have to say that my favorite authors are David McCullough, Erik Larson, Brandon Sanderson, Dean Koontz and Harlan Coben.
What book genre of books do you adore?
I like history, mysteries, thrillers and fantasy. I read the fiction for fast, fun reads. The history books take longer because I tend to think about them more.
What do you hope your obituary will day about you?
I would hope that my obituary says that I was a great friend, husband, father, son and brother. Then I hope it will say that my life had an impact on many others inspiring them to follow their dreams.

The Civil War split the United States and now it has split the Fitzgerald Family. Although George Fitzgerald has returned from the war, his sister Elizabeth Fitzgerald has chosen to remain in Washington to volunteer as a nurse. The ex-Confederate spy, David Windover, has given up on his dream of being with Alice Fitzgerald and is trying to move on with his life in Cumberland, Md. Alice and her sons continue to haul coal along the 184.5-mile-long C&O Canal. 

It is dangerous work, though, during war time because the canal runs along the Potomac River and between the North and South. Having had to endured death and loss already, Alice wonders whether remaining on the canal is worth the cost. She wants her family reunited and safe, but she can’t reconcile her feelings between David and her dead husband. 

Her adopted son, Tony, has his own questions that he is trying to answer. He wants to know who he is and if his birth mother ever loved him. As he tries to find out more about his birth mother and father, he stumbles onto a plan by Confederate sympathizers to sabotage the canal and burn dozens of canal boats. He enlists David’s help to try and disrupt the plot before it endangers his new family, but first they will have find out who is behind the plot.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Historical Fiction
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with James Rada Jr. on Facebook & Twitter
Website jamesrada.com

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