Thursday, March 3, 2016

America's First Daughter ~ Stephaine Dray & Laura Kamoie ~ Guest Post

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We are absolutely thrilled to bring you the Blog Tour for Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie’s AMERICA’S FIRST DAUGHTER, a historical fiction novel is published by William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins, and releasing March 1, 2016! AMERICA’S FIRST DAUGHTER is a compelling, richly researched novel by bestselling authors Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie. Drawing from thousands of letters and original sources, the authors reveal the fascinating, untold story of Martha “Patsy” Jefferson Randolph, Thomas Jefferson’s eldest daughter. Patsy was one of the most influential women in American history: not only the progeny of a founding father – and the woman who held his secrets close to her heart – but a key player in the shaping of our nation’s legacy. And her story is one seldom told, until now. Make sure you grab your copy today!

    Americas First Daughter - cover  

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Guest Post: Five Lies We Told In America's First Daughter And How We Got Away With It
By Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie

We are thrilled to be celebrating the release of our new book, America’s First Daughter, which portrays the relationship between Martha “Patsy” Jefferson Randolph and her famous father, Thomas Jefferson, and explores the sacrifices Patsy made and the lies she told to protect him, his legacy, and the new nation he founded.

When you’re writing historical fiction about real people, accuracy is important. But real people’s lives seldom fall into a neat narrative arc. Large portions of a person’s life are spent waiting, frustrated, mired down with meaningless coincidences. Can you imagine reading a book about a gun on the mantelpiece that not only never goes off...but was put there by accident by some character who never appears again in the novel at all? That’s the sort of thing that happens in real life--but nobody wants to read about it!

Truly, half the challenge of a good historical fiction writer is to wrestle the biography into a structure that at least vaguely approximates the hero’s journey. Fortunately for us, the life of Patsy Jefferson was already a sweeping epic with a natural rise and fall...and rise again. But that didn’t mean we weren’t forced to take a few liberties, and though we confessed our sins in our author’s note, we thought it would be fun to more fully expose the lies we told in pursuit of good storytelling!

1)    We sometimes put our heroine where we knew she wasn’t. The historical record indicates that Patsy Jefferson wasn’t actually by her mother’s bedside when she died; for that matter, there’s a bit of ambiguity about whether Jefferson himself was there at the moment she took her last breath. But there’s no denying that Martha Jefferson’s death was dramatic (as recounted by Edmund Bacon, who described a deathbed scene.) It was also the formative experience that shaped Patsy’s life. And because the book is written in first person, that would mean that if Patsy wasn’t there to see it, the reader wouldn’t be able to see it either. No good writer wants to do that to their readers, so we slipped Patsy in somewhere unobtrusive, where she wouldn’t be noticed, and let her describe the scene with all the historical details we know.
2)    We said things happened where they didn’t happen. Imagine that you had to build a stage setting for every place anything important ever happened to you. Now imagine that as many important things happened to you as happened to the Jefferson family. That’s a lot of stage sets to build, and that adds a lot of length to a book. So whenever possible, we tried not to add a new setting. Patsy Jefferson and her sisters were inoculated for smallpox on an isolated farm but we put them at Monticello. Patsy’s son Jeff was carried to his wife’s home following his stabbing, but we put him at Monticello too. And no one was the wiser until this blog post!
3)    We said Patsy ferreted out a spy. A lot of interesting things happened to the Jeffersons when they were in Paris--including, but not limited to, the British government’s apparent attempt to place a spy in our embassy under Jefferson’s nose. No one knows exactly how Jefferson came to be suspicious of the spy in his midst, which is exactly the sort of mystery that a historical fiction author loves. Given all the things we knew about the historical Patsy Jefferson--namely that she was intimately involved in her father’s life to a degree seldom seen even in a daughter, that she was described as very intelligent, that her letters reveal her to be observant about people’s character--it seemed natural that she would be the one to have both the suspicion and the opportunity to discover a spy in her father’s embassy. What’s more, we knew that the British ambassador subsequently singled out Jefferson’s daughter for his attention, probably for political reasons, so our heroine was deeply involved in matters of state. So that’s what we went with!
4)    We made one of the Randolph sisters into a killer. The Scandal at Bizarre Plantation that dragged Patsy and her family into court in an infamous murder case is, to this day, an unsolved crime. But novelists are supposed to come up with a theory, to pick a side and present a plausible scenario, and that’s just what we did. We won’t say which sister we really think did it; you’ll have to read the book to find out!
5)    We Made Colonel Randolph Into a Nasty Villain. There really isn’t much in the historical record about this man, but Patsy’s father-in-law caused her a lot of trouble. We know that his daughters fled his household when he remarried. We know that he deprived Patsy and her husband of their expected inheritance. And amongst all Jefferson’s correspondence, a letter to Colonel Randolph is amongst the most pointed and heated. Given that Jefferson was usually so mild-tempered, one can only imagine what sort of character Colonel Randolph was to agitate him so. And that’s exactly what we did. Looking over all the anecdotes and documentation we could find, we imagined what sort of man Colonel Randolph might have been. Extrapolating character from actions and consequences, we decided on villainy, because that’s what good writers do!

So now you know some of the lies we told and why, but most of the outrageous things that happen in America’s First Daughter are actually true!

Feel free to ask the authors a question about researching and writing America’s First Daughter!

Thanks for reading,
Stephanie and Laura
Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie’s AMERICA’S FIRST DAUGHTER Blog Tour Schedule:
February 29th
What Is That Book About – Guest Post
Only One More Page – Review
A Fortress of Books – Excerpt
March 1st
Talking Books Blog – Excerpt
Smexy& Fabulous – Excerpt
March 2nd
Roxy's Reviews – Excerpt
Brooke Blogs – Excerpt
March 3rd
E-Reading After Midnight – Guest Post
Small Review – Guest Post
March 4th – Review
March 5th
A Dream Within A Dream – Guest Post
Chick with Books – Review
Vagabonda Reads – Review
March 6th
I Read Indie – Excerpt
March 7th
No BS Book Reviews – Interview
Words with Sarah – Review
March 8th
The Maiden's Court – Review
Unabridged Chick – Review
The Book Cellar – Interview
Becky on Books – Review
March 9th
Sofia Loves Books – Review
One Book At A Time – Review
March 10th
A Bookish Affair - Interview
Curled Up and Cozy – Review
March 11th
Book Talk – Review
JB's Book Obsession – Excerpt
Genre Queen – Review
  America's First Daughter - Quote 1  

About AMERICA’S FIRST DAUGHTER: In a compelling, richly researched novel that draws from thousands of letters and original sources, bestselling authors Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie tell the fascinating, untold story of Thomas Jefferson’s eldest daughter, Martha “Patsy” Jefferson Randolph—a woman who kept the secrets of our most enigmatic founding father and shaped an American legacy. From her earliest days, Patsy Jefferson knows that though her father loves his family dearly, his devotion to his country runs deeper still. As Thomas Jefferson’s oldest daughter, she becomes his helpmate, protector, and constant companion in the wake of her mother’s death, traveling with him when he becomes American minister to France. It is in Paris, at the glittering court and among the first tumultuous days of revolution, that fifteen-year-old Patsy learns about her father’s troubling liaison with Sally Hemings, a slave girl her own age. Meanwhile, Patsy has fallen in love—with her father’s protégé William Short, a staunch abolitionist and ambitious diplomat. Torn between love, principles, and the bonds of family, Patsy questions whether she can choose a life as William’s wife and still be a devoted daughter. Her choice will follow her in the years to come, to Virginia farmland, Monticello, and even the White House. And as scandal, tragedy, and poverty threaten her family, Patsy must decide how much she will sacrifice to protect her father's reputation, in the process defining not just his political legacy, but that of the nation he founded.     America's First Daughter - Tour Quote 2     Author pic- Stephanie Dray
About Stephanie Dray: STEPHANIE DRAY is an award-winning, bestselling and two-time RITA award nominated author of historical women’s fiction. Her critically acclaimed series about Cleopatra’s daughter has been translated into eight different languages and won NJRW's Golden Leaf. As Stephanie Draven, she is a national bestselling author of genre fiction and American-set historical women's fiction. She is a frequent panelist and presenter at national writing conventions and lives near the nation's capital. Before she became a novelist, she was a lawyer, a game designer, and a teacher. Now she uses the stories of women in history to inspire the young women of today.  

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Author Pic - Laura Kamoie
About Laura Kamoie: Laura Kamoie has always been fascinated by the people, stories, and physical presence of the past, which led her to a lifetime of historical and archaeological study and training. She holds a doctoral degree in early American history from The College of William and Mary, published two non-fiction books on early America, and most recently held the position of Associate Professor of History at the U.S. Naval Academy before transitioning to a full-time career writing genre fiction as the New York Times bestselling author of over twenty books, Laura Kaye. Her debut historical novel, America's First Daughter, co-authored with Stephanie Dray, allowed her the exciting opportunity to combine her love of history with her passion for storytelling. Laura lives among the colonial charm of Annapolis, Maryland with her husband and two daughters.  

Website |Newsletter | Facebook |Twitter | AMERICA’S FIRST DAUGHTER Website

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