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Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Interview Historical Novelist Teresa Irizarry
A historical look at tolerance and conscience
through the lens of the life of Roger Williams
1.What inspired you to
write your book? My initial inspiration came from trying to
understand my own ancestors, who did not write. I empathized as Roger Williams,
who did write, survived a New England Winter alone. The more I read his
writings, I realized his thoughts were relevant to today, though badly in need
of edit and language translation to our modern vernacular. Historians first
slandered him – notably Cotton Mather, the grandson of his antagonist John
Cotton. Then he was all but forgotten. As the world became more secular and the
slanders could be mistaken for compliments, we find people trying to make him
the first secular founder—you wondered if they actually read his writings. A pure historian view becomes a tomb of gaps
in the record because of the fire of London and the burning of Providence. It
ached to be told as a story.
2.What is it about? Rekindled
is the story of how Roger Williams is becomes the man who implements the first
practical lasting separation of church and state. My training as an engineer
led me to respect an actual implantation much higher than a treatise about what
might be right. While I might not have
cared too much about this issue as I began, I recognize it is important now.
3.What do you hope will
be the everlasting thoughts for readers who finish your book? We
can all be overcomers. These people are
survivors—not as individuals but as a community with convictions. You journey
with their struggle as human beings, just as we are in very challenging
circumstances. When you finish that
journey you cannot help but take back some of their skill at survival into your
4.What advice do you
have for writers? Just do it. Like athletic training the first
necessary ingredient is discipline. If you make writing your priority, you will
get it done.
5.Where do you think the book publishing industry is heading? With the advent of self-publishing
the industry lost its funnel for delivering what it projected to be good books.
I believe new crowd-sourcing paths are being forged to determine which books
are worth reading. Bookstores and Amazon become a different kind of gatekeeper.
I see a lot of opportunity for technology to aid the industry—from change
control software to enable rapid iterations as editing and suggestions from
readers come in, to ways to measure quality and reader enjoyment to know which
books are great. I would love to know from the kindle universe what page people
were on when they were able to put the book down. Those are all either the
places the author made people think or areas for improvement that could be
delivered to an author. Kindle has that data. Why don’t the authors? It would be a great service to us! I see that books could come out and
experience a set improvements from feedback–in contrast the publishing world is
set up to have a very few editors “test” and improve a book and then be done.
6.What challenges did
you have in writing your book? Reading 17th language and understanding
what it really meant.
7.If people can only buy one book this month, why should it be
brings to life a world that is the crucible in which our values of freedom were