Interview with Author D.M. Pulley

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Interview with D.M. Pulley

 

*In the beginning of your writing career you underlined the struggles you had, but in the end you said, “But I had  a story to tell.” I love that! Can you tell us about this feeling?

 

The building that inspired The Dead Key haunted me for ten years before I really sat down to write the story. In that time, I changed jobs, I got married, and I had children, but no matter where life took me, the abandoned vault below the Euclid Avenue and its unclaimed safe deposit boxes followed. It nagged at me in daydreams and every time I picked up a novel. Whenever I talked about the vacant building with friends, I could tell they were intrigued. When I considered what treasures and secrets had been left buried in the basement of that old bank, my toes would curl up with anticipation. The story just wouldn’t leave me alone.

 

*How did the story about the torso killer emerge and made you want to tell it?

 

Another abandoned building in Cleveland inspired The Unclaimed Victim. I had no idea that the Torso Killer would become the focus of the story. I just began researching the empty Union Gospel Press building’s history, particularly its years as a religious mission in the 1920s and 1930s, and became fascinated with the nun-like “Sallies” that lived there and the city of Cleveland during the Great Depression. The labyrinthine factory cried out for a serial killer in the mold of H.H. Holmes (see Devil in the White City by Erik Larson), and the Torso Killer became an obvious, albeit daunting, choice. So much has been written about the Torso Murders, I was reluctant to take on these true crimes, but as I delved into the research, it became clear that not every story about the murders had been told.

 

*Describe how you came up with the title, The Unclaimed Victim.

 

With this book, I wanted to tell a serial killer story from the victims’ perspective. So many thrillers are told from the detective’s or the killer’s point of view, and the victims become more like objects than people. The fact that only three of the thirteen official Torso victims were ever identified or claimed by their families struck me as another injustice of these crimes. It was my intent to breathe life into the Torso Killer victims with the hope that one might just get away.

 

*What was your first reaction when you heard about the Torso killer?

 

First I was horrified, then morbidly fascinated, then ultimately skeptical of the official findings. The Torso Killer became a media sensation as one of the nation’s most notorious maniacs back in a time before the term “serial killer” even existed. The detectives and coroners that worked the case were certainly devoted and professional, but they had no concept of modern profiling or access to modern forensics. After looking at the facts, I couldn’t shake the feeling that some evidence and potential suspects slipped through the cracks. The killer was never officially identified.

 

 

 

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*Describe your experience writing about him, the unclaimed victim, and the final conclusion (no spoilers of course!).

 

It took eight months of research and drafting to really find the story I wanted to tell and another several months to finish it. I don’t outline, so I usually don’t know the answer to the mystery until I write the ending. As a result, I’m on the edge of my seat as the final scenes unfold. The process of writing this book took me to some pretty dark places where I considered murder on an intimate level from many angles, and asked myself almost daily what it would take for me to kill someone. My kids gave me funny looks for a few weeks there.

 

 

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*How does it feel knowing the success you have today versus the struggles you began with?

 

I feel unbelievably lucky that my books have found an audience and I am able to write full time right now. I try to be thankful each day I sit down to work. I am currently editing my fourth novel, and I’ve found that every book presents different struggles and challenges. I still try to write my first draft like nobody will ever read it. I still worry the literary police will take me away in handcuffs any day now for impersonating a writer.

 

*Do you like historical fiction?

 

I love historical fiction, but I generally prefer to write and read stories about the 20th century. Some of my favorites right now are The Paris Wife by Paula McClain, All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, and The Stranger House by Reginald Hill.

 

 

 

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*Are your stories always based upon true crime?

 

I like to use real history as a backdrop for my stories. The Dead Key wasn’t based on true crime as much as Cleveland’s history of political corruption and financial default. Similarly, The Buried Book was inspired by true events like the 1953 Flint-Beecher tornadoes and Detroit-area history. My third and fourth novels were inspired by true crimes from Cleveland’s past.

 

*What would you say to all the struggling writers out there?

 

Keep writing. Keep reading. Don’t fall in love with your words; just find and follow the story. Don’t be afraid to try and fail. Always be willing to re-write, rework, and re-examine. Don’t give up. I also recommend reading craft books including On Writing by Stephen King, No Plot, No Problem by Chris Baty, and Save the Cat by Blake Snyder.  

 

*What are you working on next?

 

My fourth book is a historical mystery about a hundred-year-old mansion in Shaker Heights, Ohio and the decades of secrets and lies hidden behind its facade.

 

 

 

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About D. M. Pulley

Before becoming a full-time writer, D.M. Pulley worked as a Professional Engineer, rehabbing historic structures and conducting forensic investigations of building failures. Pulley’s structural survey of a vacant building in Cleveland inspired her debut novel, The Dead Key, the winner of the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. The disappearance of a family member formed the basis for her second historical mystery, The Buried Book. Pulley’s third novel, The Unclaimed Victim, delves into the dark history behind Cleveland’s Torso Killer and is due out November 14, 2017. She lives in northeast Ohio with her husband, her two children, and a dog named Hobo, and she is hard at work on her fourth book.

 

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Book Review: Robin Hood’s Dawn – Book one

Robin Hood's Dawn

 

 

Don’t miss this unique retelling of the Robin Hood legend!

England, 1154-1194
A kingdom under assault.
A conspiracy born of anarchy.
A hero standing against tyranny.

 

 

Falsely convicted of a shocking crime, Robin Fitzooth, the Earl of Huntingdon, finds refuge in Sherwood Forest and becomes Robin Hood.

Leading a band of men against the injustices of a malevolent sheriff and his henchmen, Robin begins to unravel a web of treachery threatening the English royal family.

As shadowy forces gather to destroy the future of a nation, Robin faces deceit, betrayal, and the ravages of war as he defends his king, his country, his people, and the woman he loves from a conspiracy so diabolical, so unexpected, that the course of history hangs in the balance.

From the mists of an ancient woodland, to lavish royal courts teeming with intrigue, to the exotic shores of the Holy Land – Robin Hood leads the fight in a battle between good and evil, justice and tyranny, the future and the past.

Part one of an exciting three-part retelling of the Robin Hood legend!

Although the books in the trilogy are not stand-alone, they do not end in cliffhangers.

 

 

 

Robin Hood - Merry Men. Date: circa 1860

 

 

 

“Robin Hood’s Dawn is historical fiction at it’s best.”

 

 

 

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Authors Olivia Longueville and J.C. Plummer deliver a masterful new tale on Robin Hood. The flavor is authentic. The setting, dialogue, characters, customs, made for an impressive novel. One new delicious twist on this spin on Robin Hood is the role that Lady Marian plays throughout the book. Their blazing relationship is the centerpiece of the entire book. I’m amazed at how well this book was written. Can’t wait for book two!

 

 

 

 

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Olivia Longueville image

 

 

Olivia Longueville has degrees in finance and general management from London Business School. Currently, she is working in investment banking and is also helping her father run the family business.

Longueville loves historical fiction, considering herself an amateur historian, and she is passionate about historical research, genealogy, and art. She has undertaken in-depth research into the history of the Valois dynasty, the French Renaissance, the Tudors, and the Plantagenets.

As an established published writer of Between Two Kings, she is interested in creating strong and diverse characters, and giving voice to stories that are unique, compelling, inspiring, and amusing.

 

 

 

JC Plummer image

 

 

J.C. Plummer graduated Summa Cum Laude from Washburn University with a Bachelor of Arts in History and Anthropology. She then earned a Master of Science degree in Computer Information Science from Dartmouth College.

Growing up on a small farm in Kansas, Plummer developed a lifelong fascination with history and a curiosity about other cultures and people. Coauthoring The Robin Hood Trilogy has merged her passions for history, culture, and technology into one unique, exciting project.

As an author and historian, Plummer’s goal is to provide thoughtful and entertaining storytelling that honors the past, is mindful of the present, and is optimistic for the future.

To learn more about her book, Robin Hood’s Dawn: Book One in the Robin Hood Trilogy, visit www.angevinworld.com.

 

 

 

 

Blog Tour: Robin Hood’s Dawn

 

Robins Hood's Dawn Book Cover

 

 

 

Don’t miss this unique retelling of the Robin Hood legend!

 

 

 

England, 1154-1194
A kingdom under assault.
A conspiracy born of anarchy.
A hero standing against tyranny.

Falsely convicted of a shocking crime, Robin Fitzooth, the Earl of Huntingdon, finds refuge in Sherwood Forest and becomes Robin Hood.

Leading a band of men against the injustices of a malevolent sheriff and his henchmen, Robin begins to unravel a web of treachery threatening the English royal family.

As shadowy forces gather to destroy the future of a nation, Robin faces deceit, betrayal, and the ravages of war as he defends his king, his country, his people, and the woman he loves from a conspiracy so diabolical, so unexpected, that the course of history hangs in the balance.

From the mists of an ancient woodland, to lavish royal courts teeming with intrigue, to the exotic shores of the Holy Land – Robin Hood leads the fight in a battle between good and evil, justice and tyranny, the future and the past.

Part one of an exciting three-part retelling of the Robin Hood legend!

Although the books in the trilogy are not stand-alone, they do not end in cliffhangers.

 

 

 

 

Book Review - 3d rendered headline

 

 

 

 

Authors Olivia Longueville and J.C. Plummer combine to produce a stunning work of art in Robin Hood’s Dawn, Book one in the Robin Hood Trilogy. The first sense I had in reading this book was like being in the setting with the characters. I truly believe that those who can write quality historical fiction are some of the best writers out there.

My second realization was the originality and richness of historical detail. This really puts you on the ground alongside the characters.

Third, the scenes in the book are quite stunning and captivating in their depiction and prose. My favorite scene is where Lady Marion and Robin are reunited at a certain point professing their love to one another. I don’t want to give away too many details here if you haven’t read it yet. But, it was literally dripping with rich prose that flowed back and forth between them. I can tell the authors really enjoyed writing that one.

 

Looking forward to the next book!

 

 

 

 

 

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Author Q&A with Olivia Longueville and J.C. Plummer Robin Hood’s Dawn: Book One in the Robin Hood Trilogy

 

 

 

Q&A

 

 

 

Robin Hood has been featured in many books, movies, and television shows. How is your story different?

 
We have taken a fresh approach to the Robin Hood story, and we’re excited to share our vision with fans of the legendary hero. 

We have creatively reimagined the origins of the Robin Hood legend, which includes exploring the complexity of his family dynamics – an aloof, proud father loyal to King Henry II, and a kind-hearted, generous mother devoted to ministering to the poor with her gift for healing. One theme is that the consequences of immoral actions and secret sins can reverberate across generations, and this is part of the legacy that Robin receives from his father.

We wanted to cast him as a hero fighting against the tyranny of a lawless government official instead of a bandit redistributing wealth. When Robin is falsely accused of a shocking crime by the new Sheriff of Nottingham, he could have simply retreated to a safe place beyond the reach of the sheriff. However, he feels a responsibility to the people – he believes in the intrinsic value of every human being – so he takes a stand to defend the people from the actions of the sheriff. And this points to another theme: one person can make a difference by taking a stand for what is right.

Robin also feels great admiration for the newly crowned King Richard the Lionhearted. His loyalty to the king will create a number of conflicts and unexpected consequences in the story.

Lastly, we wanted to set our Robin Hood story in a fascinating time period: the 12th century. In our humble opinion, the 12th century has much to offer fans of sweeping tales of political, social, and spiritual upheaval.

We have carefully constructed our story within the framework of real history. We hope that this realism and devotion to actual history will add to the enjoyment of the story and encourage people to learn more about this time.

 

 

 

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You’ve emphasized how your Robin Hood story has been reimagined. Will fans of the traditional ballads still recognize this as a Robin Hood story?




There is a lot of variety in the many books and screen adaptations of the Robin Hood legend. We wanted to create a story that was respectful towards fans of the original ballads and legends without necessarily adhering to the same storylines that have been previously written. It is our hope that all Robin Hood fans will enjoy this fresh retelling of the story.

 

 

For example, we feel that Marian is a character who deserves more attention. All too often she is a background character with little to do. With this in mind, we have focused on creating a Lady Marian who will figure more prominently in the story, especially in book 2.

Our Marian is more than a love interest for Robin. Over the course of Robin Hood’s Dawn, Marian transforms from a sheltered, somewhat pampered, girl into a brave woman who continuously strives to overcome both her fears and the obstacles that she faces. We also wanted her to be feminine and remain believable as a woman of the 12th century. Of course, keep in mind that the most prominent woman of the 12th century was the indomitable Eleanor of Aquitaine, an inspiration to any woman living in a male-dominated society.

Fans of the Robin Hood legend will find many familiar characters: Maid Marian, Little John, Allan-a- dale, Will Scarlet, Much the Miller’s son, Guy of Gisborne, and the Sheriff of Nottingham.

Readers will also meet real historical figures such as King Stephen, King Henry II, Richard the Lionhearted, King Philippe II of France, Prince John “Lackland”, and many others, including Ranulphus Besace. Who was he? Well, he was a real person who was King Richard’s personal physician!

 

 

 

 

Lady Marion Robin hood

 

 

 

 

This book is advertised as the first in a trilogy. Will the first two books end in cliff- hangers? Will any of the books be stand-alone?




Although the final mysteries and conflicts will not be resolved until book 3, we have structured the trilogy so that books 1 and 2 do not end in cliffhangers.

The readers will not be left wondering whether the main characters will live or die, and we have endeavored to create a sense of completion in each of the first two books. Some story threads will be resolved, and some of the mysteries surrounding the main characters will be revealed in each of the first two books.

We think readers will be excited and eager for the next installment without suffering undue frustration at the endings of books 1 and 2.

The books will not be stand-alone.

 

 

 

Book Robin hood trilogy

 

 

 

 

How did each of you become interested in writing this story and working together as co-authors?




Olivia:
I love to tell stories with multi-dimensional characters. I speak several languages, and I found that I enjoyed not only writing stories but also writing them in different languages. My favorite legendary hero is Robin Hood, and my favorite historical figure is Anne Boleyn.

 

My first novel is an English-language re-imagining of the story of Anne Boleyn. 
In 2015, I met Coleen (J.C.) on the Internet and we decided to co author a Robin Hood Trilogy.

It is amazing that Coleen and I have managed to successfully work together on our project despite the fact that we have never met each other in real life. We talk on the phone and frequently exchange skype messages as well as emails. We have been working together long- distance despite living in very different time zones.

Coleen (J.C.)
I began writing about three years ago. I had previously done editing work for other authors, but I had never thought about writing my own stories until one day when I was suddenly inspired to start writing, and I’ve been writing nearly non-stop ever since.

I wanted to write a book that would honor the legend of Robin Hood as a man who stood against the tyranny of a powerful government official; a man who fought for justice and fairness because he recognized the intrinsic value rooted in the humanity of all people.

 

 

 
 

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So, you’ve never actually met, you come from different countries, different cultures, and speak different languages. How can you co-author a book? Is it because you have similar writing styles?




Coleen:
Fortunately, Olivia is fluent in English, because that’s the only language I know!

Olivia:
We have found that we have a lot in common – especially our love of writing and of history. We have to work hard to merge our writing styles, but we have successfully done this.

Coleen:
That’s very true. Oliva and I have very different “voices” and writing styles. You might even say they are nearly opposite styles.

I tend to write in a straightforward, expository style, with a minimum of descriptive elements and metaphorical flourishes. I am good at explaining things, organizing ideas, and creating natural sounding dialogue.

Olivia:
My writing is characterized by lush romanticism and passionate lyricism. I love to create metaphors and descriptions which excite the imagination of the reader in a vivid and dramatic way.

Coleen:
In some respects, Olivia’s words are the emotional heart of the story, and my words represent the rational intellect. Of course, it’s not quite that cut-and- dried, but it is one way to describe how two people with such different styles have come together to create Robin Hood’s Dawn.

 

 

 

 

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Olivia Longueville

 

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J.C. Plummer

 

 

 
 

Robins Hood's Dawn Book Cover

 

 

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