Broken Pieces

Jack Canon's American Destiny

@JimRada Shares 10 Things You Didn’t Know About LOCK READY #AmReading #HistFic #TBR

Thursday, July 24, 2014

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Lock Ready
I was asked to give you a little insight on me by telling you 10 things that you might not realize about my newest historical novel, Lock Ready.
  1. While Lock Ready is the last book in the Canawlers trilogy, I also wrote a short novella using the same characters. The novella was written as a promotional item for Canalfest in 2003. The story is called The Race and is set 10 years after Lock Ready. While the hard copy version is out of print, you can still purchase an e-book version.
  2. It has been 13 years since the first book in the trilogy was published. Canawlers came out in 2001 and the second book, Between Rail and River, was published in 2003.
  3. Lock Ready is the first historical novel that I’ve written since 2007. After October Mourning was published that year, I wound up working on a number of non-fiction history projects and my fiction writing kept being put on the back burner.
  4. The Canawlers trilogy was inspired by a bike ride. I biked the C&O Canal towpath with my wife in 2000. During that 5-day trip, I realized that a lot of history had happened along the C&O Canal. Being a writer, I started trying to figure out a story that I could build around it. Once I realized that the most-interesting period along the canal was probably during the Civil War, I started thinking about how the canal and war collided and came up withCanawlers.
  5. Hugh Fitzgerald, who was killed in the first book of the trilogy, Canawlers, was supposed to live. I hit a snag during my first draft of the book and couldn’t move it forward. When I started examining the structure of the story and character arcs, I realized that Hugh needed to be written out of the story. Doing so put an obstacle between David and Alice, was the catalyst for George joining the army and forced Alice to stand on her own.
  6. Writing the Canawlers trilogy led to my interest in history. Once Canawlers was written, my editor at theCumberland Times-News where I was working started giving me assignments that were history oriented. One of these assignments led to me writing my second historical novel, but more importantly, it led to me realizing that history was filled with lots of interesting stories.
  7. I had planned at one point to write a Canawlers novel set in 1924. I imagined that the story would be told by an elderly Tony Fitzgerald as the canal was preparing to close. I originally put the story off because it was such a large gap in time between Lock Ready and the novel. I realized that if I was going to write that story, it would either have to stand alone or I would have to write a couple books that bridged that gap between Lock Ready and the 1924 book.
  8. I have a small collection of C&O Canal memorabilia. This includes nails from canal books, old books, bank notes and maps. I had started gathering the items originally to help with my research, but it evolved into adding some of the ephemera. It probably isn’t worth too much, but it’s a nice collection.
  9. The final version of Lock Ready is far different than the original drafts. One of the reasons that it took me so long to write Lock Ready is that I kept changing the story. I had always known how I wanted the story to end, but just about everything else changed at one time or another. Certain story lines just didn’t work out. I kept bits and pieces, researched more and developed new story lines. Once things finally clicked, writing the entire story worked out pretty easily.
  10. One of the fun research trips I did for the Canawlers trilogy was to ride on a canal boat. Though the canal is no longer in service, there are stretches that the National Park Service keeps operational and where you can ride a canal boat through a lock. I like the Great Falls Visitors Center. It is set back in the woods and the NPS personnel dress in period costume. You feel like you are stepping back in time. Riding the boat through the lock is very fun, but even in the short ride, you can see how laid back life was generally on the canal.

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
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