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My Interview with Douglas McDonough
Douglas McDonough, author of The Phoenix Gambit kindly agreed to an interview. I hope his answers only deepen your curiosity about the Civil War and this fascinating period in the history of the United States.
Did you find historical writings that suggested plans the Confederacy had if they survived? Or was what they undertook in the book completely from your own imagination?
There are numerous articles available in online format. My plot was heavily influenced by actual history.
Have you always been interested in the Civil War and the Confederacy?
I'm interested in warfare in general.
Why did you choose to write an alternate history of the Confederacy?
My interest in using the Civil War came from two sources, both movies. They are Vera Cruz and Major Dundee, both starring Charlton Heston.
Why did you choose Mexico as the country the Confederates decided to make their own? Were their other places you considered?
I had two reasons for picking Mexico. Its location was perfect and some sort of international cooperation had actually been contemplated. No other country offered a logical option.
Are all of the characters actual historical figures? If not, how did you decide which ones to include in your book?
Most of the major characters are fiction. I created fictional characters in order to have them perform specific actions at certain times and places.
My favorite character was Ukimbe, the former slave who is now a Sergeant for the Union. Who is your favorite character in this story? Why?
I have three primary favorite characters. They are Ezekiel Sinclair, Harry Chester, and Jethro Scruggs. I've tried to put at least one positive trait in most of the rest of them.
When will Manifest Destiny be released? How many books do you plan on writing for this series?
The book is currently available from several online sources, among them are Amazon.com and Createspace.com. At this time I plan on five or six.
When did you realize that you were meant to write?
I wouldn't say that I've ever felt that strongly about it, however, it is something I enjoy doing and find quite fulfilling.
Do you plan out the entire book before you begin writing? Or do you just sit down and write?
I usually have a general idea about where I want my book to go and then let my characters get themselves there.
Do you have a set time that you write each day? Or do you wait to be inspired?
I tried to use the set time each day process, but I found that method was actually counter-productive.
How long did it take you to complete this book?
I began the book in 2004, but have never written full time.
How much research, if any, did you have to do for this book?
I did a good bit of research, for the right location, person, spelling, and especially the technical areas.
What new doors has your writing opened up for you? Were there any opportunities that you had never considered before?
Writing was not my first career choice. I've had two careers prior to attempting writing, ten years in insurance and twenty-three years in education.
Do you ever become bored with what you are writing? If you do, how do you get past that point?
I've become frustrated rather than bored. I've found it best to get some time and distance between me and the work, then thinking about the problem before getting back to writing helps.
How do you manage to balance your time between family, friends, and writing?
To a great extent don't plan out my time but rather just let it happen.
If you could spend one hour with just one person, whom would you choose?
During the Civil War period, I would have to choose Ulysses S Grant.
Do you have any advice for writers who are striving to be published?
I don't feel that I've accomplished enough to give advice to others, perhaps in a few years.
Content copyright © 2013 by Lisa Binion. All rights reserved.
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