Saturday, September 10, 2022

Q&A with John Cameron



John Cameron is the author of the new historical novel The Roads of War, set during the Civil War. His other work includes Tar Heels in Gray. He is based in Norfolk, Virginia.


Q: What inspired you to write The Roads of War, and how did you create your character Lewis McCormack?


A: I was inspired to write Roads of War when I read letters between a husband who was serving in the 30th North Carolina infantry and his wife. I was researching at the time the regiment for my history book Tar Heels in Gray. 


Lewis McCormack was based on that man. He actually was gravely wounded at the Battle of Malvern Hill, was sent home to recover, but died of dropsy before he could return to battle.


Q: How was the novel's title chosen, and what does it signify for you?


A: The title was something of an epiphany. Roads can and do lead in many directions even during times of war. The roads during the Civil War lead for example to battle, to death and disaster for most, to wealth and prosperity for a few, and to freedom for enslaved people.


Q: What do you hope readers take away from the story?


A: The most important thing to take away is that most individuals are layered, complex creatures. We are capable of sacrifice, love, hatred, loyalty and most importantly, several of these attributes at the same time.


Q: What are you working on now?


A: I am currently working on a series of mysteries set in the late 18th century Marseilles in the years just before the Revolution. French society was beginning to crack under the social and economic pressures that would ultimately produce the Revolution.


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: I am a historian with a doctorate in 18th century revolutionary France. As a result, most of my novels are set in France or Corsica during that time. 


I grew up in North Carolina where boys refought Civil War battles as a pastime. We had no notions or concerns about the cause of the war, slavery. We just wanted to show ourselves to be brave Southern men. This upbringing fostered a lifelong curiosity in the life of mid-19th century rural North Carolina.


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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