Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Paperback rights to HALLAM'S WAR sold to Berkley Books

Please forgive me for quoting my own publisher's press release, but here goes: Unbridled Books announces paperback rights for HALLAM'S WAR sold to Sandra Harding at Berkley Books, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA).

Set in West Tennessee during the time leading up to the Civil war and through the first devastating years of its fury, HALLAM'S WAR has been called "powerful", "richly developed", and "remarkable", earning high praise and critical acclaim nationwide.

Harding said of the acquisition, "Berkley Books is thrilled to be publishing the paperback of HALLAM'S WAR. This is a stunning family saga and Elisabeth Payne Rosen is a remarkable writer who uses a keen, generous intelligence to create complicated, sympathetic characters and place them against a meticulously researched, nearly-epic Civil War backdrop. As a book that explores questions about duty, honor, love and race, it is truly a story for our time."

--Thank all of you who have helped this come about. EPR.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Off on second leg of book tour

Having been overstretched by hopping around the south to promote my novel, HALLAM'S WAR, I have not posted here since May 6. Sorry! (for reviews, go to, then to my book, then "Praise")

Here's my take on the New South (new to me, after years of being away and only journeying in and out for relatively short stays): it is the most racially integrated part of the country I have visited, hands down. This is encouraging to me, though I try not to be politically naive. Perhaps I am reading into the situation more positive signs than those on the ground might see. (comments?)  Still, I hope I'm right.

I continue to be struck by how what I wrote about racial and regional polarities in 1859 resonates so uncannily with the conversation that's going on in our country today. As with the characters in my book (particularly Serena, at the end), I face the future with a new infusion of hope--though not without an unblinkered realization that hard work still lies ahead.

I have met only three ACW reenactors at my various book events (or at least only three who identified themselves to me): two in Decatur, GA, at the Georgia Center for the Book, and one, Rickey Pittman, an author himself, whose quote from Akira Kurosawa on his business card I like a lot: "The role of the artist is to not look away."  Hi, Rickey!

Thanks so much to Dimitri Rotov, who keeps giving me shout-outs, and to all other bloggers who have read or are reading my book. Tip, now that the tour is almost over: you can get it from your library. 

Also, for those attracted to the "deacon" part of my blog name: have had some interesting conversations on the role (or lack thereof) of religion in my novel. Will try to post on that when I get back to California, after July 2.


Tuesday, May 6, 2008

HALLAM'S WAR book tour, June, 2008

Here is the itinerary for my book tour. I would be so happy if any real ACW buffs turned up; it would make the conversation so much better.

June 2, 7:15 PM, Decatur, GA, The Georgia Center for the Book
June 4, 7 PM, Woodstock, GA, Fox Tales Booksellers
June 5, 6 PM, Memphis, TN, Davis-Kidd Booksellers
June 7, 2-4 PM, Greenville, MS, McCormick Books

June 24, 6:30 pm, Houston, TX, Houston Public Library, Central Branch
June 28, 3 pm, Austin, TX, BookPeople
June 29, 3 pm, Pittsboro (Raleigh/Chapel Hill), N.C., McIntyre's Fine Books

Please respond to me for any further details; can send postcards, info for reenactor groups, etc.

HALLAM'S WAR book tour, June, 2008

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Just the Facts, Ma'am

Note: this is the article I mentioned on Kevin Levin's blog. It's much too long to include here in its entirety, but you can read it by going to the New Yorker website and searching for "A Critic at Large, Jill Lepore". It was in the March 24, 2008 issue. Here are some of the good bits:

"....Pulped days after it was published, the book, titled 'Love and Consequences,' is a fraud; 'Tom Jones' is not. Fielding was playing; Seltzer was just lying.
"But Fielding meant it when he said that 'Tom Jones' was true, and there's a sense in which he was right. History matters, but the best novels boast a kind of truth that even the best history books can never claim. And when history books are wrong, they can be miserably,  badly, ridiculously wrong...."
"....If a history book can be read as if it were a novel, and if a reader can find the same truth in a history book and a novel, what, finally, is the difference between them? This is a difficult question, Hume admitted. Maybe it just feels different--more profound--to read what we believe to be true (an idea assented to) than what a we believe to be false (a fancy)...."
"But there's more between them. A novel, as Defoe put it, is a 'private History,' a history of private life. 'I will tell you in three words what the book is,' Laurence Sterne wrote in 'The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy,' published beginning in 1759. He was talking about Locke's account of how the mind worked and, by extension, his own. 'It is a history.--a history! of who? what? where? when? Don't hurry yourself.--It is a history-book, Sir (which may possibly recommend it to the world) of what passes in a man's own mind.' Fielding went farther. He called his writing 'true history'."

There is much more, and readers should check out the whole article. I'll leave you with just one gem: "Maybe the topics that have seized professional historians' attention--family history, social history, women's history, cultural history, 'microhistory' [let's add military history--EPR] --constitute nothing more than an attempt to take back territory they forfeited to novelists in the eighteenth century."  
Please, when you see the copies of my new novel, HALLAM'S WAR, lurking  on your bookseller's shelf (or at Amazon), pick one up and rifle through. You will find much history, I hope--taken back into the territory of the novel.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Destruction of the "Clothilde", Mobile Bay, 1859

Kay Callison, who does blog interviews for the American Audio Prose Library at , sent me the following today.  I had never heard of this incident, nor of the Clothilde. Can anyone fill me in?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      
"Saw a powerful documentary film that made me think of you this past weekend, at our annual True/False Film Festival (regarded as the best in the world, I might add, right here in Columbia, MO.!) It is called "The Order of Myths", and is about the oldest Mardi Gras in the country, in Mobile, AL, which dates back to 1703, as I recall. It is still totally segregated. The whites have theirs, the blacks, theirs. Key to the narrative is the story of the slave ship Clothilde, which the 3rd great grandfather of the 2006 white Mardi Gras queen (the one in the film) had brought into Mobile with 500 slaves aboard in 1857, on a bet. When he arrived, he went into town to collect on his bet. He left instructions that if he weren't back in one hour, to run the ship aground and set it on fire. As he did not return within the hour, his first mate did just that. Fortunately, all the 600 slaves aboard the ship escaped into the surrounding woods, and they and their descendants formed what they called Africa Town on that site, which remains. The Black 2006 Mardi Gras queen learns during the filming of the documentary that she is directly descended from one of those slaves. This is a very fine documentary, and I hope you get a chance to see it. The films which get brought to True/False are usually getting their debut here. Margaret Brown is the filmmaker. Her mother was the 1966 (very reluctant) White Mardi Gras Queen."                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Reminds me of Henry Louis Gates' documentary on PBS of a couple of weeks ago, "Black Americans 2", tracing the ancestry of 8 prominent African Americans back to their earliest origins in this country and then--through DNA--to their African tribal roots. Very moving to see them take in this completely new--sometimes wonderful, sometimes challenging  information on camera, in real time.