The Klan comes to the Langdon plantation in this Reconstruction-era novel by C. James Gilbert

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. — Sunbury Press has released C. James Gilbert’s second novel “A Darker Shade of Freedom.”

adsof_fcAbout the Book:

The sequel to “A Deeper Sense of Loyalty”…

When the Confederate States of America was defeated in 1865, the masses of oppressed and impoverished blacks were freed; that is to say that the practice of slavery was forever outlawed by the U.S. Constitution. But James Langdon of Macon, Georgia knew before the war ended that it would be a very long time before the black race would be accepted as social equals.

Having seen a slave beaten for trying to escape from his father’s plantation, James was then, there and forevermore pitted against the evils of bigotry. However, in the immediate years after the war; an enemy, a most formidable foe was born in Nashville, Tennessee and was called the Ku Klux Klan.

To ignite the inferno which would rage between Langdon Plantation and the Klan, a secret that only James’s wife, parents, and sisters knew about became public knowledge. Once the secret was revealed the conflict began; a very devastating conflict.

adsol_pubA true believer in God’s will, James joins forces with his black neighbors to stand against tyranny and those who would try to exercise power over them. He would never be satisfied until America recognized all Americans as equal; both black and white.

A Darker Shade of Freedom

Authored by C. James Gilbert

List Price: $16.95
5.5″ x 8.5″ (13.97 x 21.59 cm)
Black & White on White paper
280 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620063859
ISBN-10: 1620063859
BISAC: Fiction / Historical
Soon to be available on Kindle and Nook

For more information, please see:

http://www.sunburypressstore.com/A-Darker-Shade-of-Freedo…

The tragic decline of the Maxfield Parrish estate recounted by eyewitness Robin Lee

Sunbury Press has released Robin Lee’s book Sanctuary Dishonored: The Decline and Fall of the Maxfield Parrish Estate.

sd_fcAbout the Book:
Robin Lee, through an incredible twist of fate, was invited to write and record her music, inspired by the great American artist Maxfield Parrish, at the very time his iconic art studio was on the verge of being gutted. Lee had the foresight to capture with her camera and video recorder numerous pictures and footage of Parrish’s workshop and grounds just before and as they were being torn apart. This great tragedy in art history will unfold before your eyes, and Robin captures in her words and pictures the sense of wonder and shock as the process unfolded. As if guided by the restless spirit of Maxfield Parrish himself, Lee has become the messenger to the rest of the world, telling the tragic tale of what once was and is now lost to us forever, except for these pages and the subsequent works she will be releasing.

Sanctuary Dishonored: The Decline and Fall of the Maxfield Parrish Estate

Authored by Robin Lee

(TRADE PAPERBACK)

List Price: $19.95
8.5″ x 8.5″ (21.59 x 21.59 cm)
Full Color on White paper
56 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620063620
ISBN-10: 162006362X
BISAC: Art / History / Modern

(HARD COVER)

List Price: $24.95
8.5″ x 8.5″ (21.59 x 21.59 cm)
Full Color on White paper
56 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620063637

For more information, please see:

http://www.sunburypressstore.com/Sanctuary-Dishonored-HAR…

Capital punishment in early Nebraska history featured in Tim Dempsey's latest book

OMAHA, Neb. — Sunbury Press has released Tim Dempsey’s book “Well I’ll Be Hanged: Early Capital Punishment in Nebraska.”

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About the Book:
Sam Richards was more than likely Nebraska’s first serial killer. Among his many victims were a mother and her three children who were savagely beaten to death. In 1879, Richards was hung for his crimes in Kearney County, Nebraska, and his skull eventually placed on display in the window of the local newspaper. George Morgan was a pedophile who raped and then choked an eleven year old to death on November 3, 1895 in Omaha. Morgan was hung in Douglas County, Nebraska in 1897. From 1867, when Nebraska became a state, until 1897, fourteen convicted killers were condemned to their fate on a gallows erected in county jail yards across the state. Thirteen of these doomed men died at the hands of a county sheriff and one was executed by a United States Marshal. This book looks at all fourteen of these cases. They represent the workings of Nebraska’s criminal justice system in the late nineteenth century, and the men that made it work.

Well I’ll Be Hanged: Early Capital Punishment in Nebraska

Authored by Tim Dempsey

List Price: $16.95
6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Black & White on White paper
214 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620063361
ISBN-10: 1620063360
BISAC: True Crime / Murder / Serial Killers

For more information, please see:

http://www.sunburypressstore.com/Well-Ill-Be-Hanged-Early…

Anthony Julian's collection of vintage pit bull photographs continues

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. — Sunbury Press has released Anthony Julian’s book “Pit Bulls 2: Vintage Photographs of Pit Bulls and the People Who Loved Them.”

pb2_fcAbout the Book:
Author Anthony Julian opens a time capsule for us concerning the history of the oft-maligned pit bull.  Through old photographs and personal anecdotes, Julian paints a history of the breed very different from the contemporary misconceptions flamed by the popular media fear machine. He focuses on the history of the pit bull in American society, including acting as sentry over dead Civil War soldiers and co-star on “The Little Rascals.”  This second book in the series is lavishly illustrated with vintage photographs.

Pit Bulls 2: Vintage Photographs of Pit Bulls and the People Who Loved Them

Authored by Anthony M. Julian
(PAPERBACK)

List Price: $11.95
8.25″ x 8.25″ (20.955 x 20.955 cm)
Black & White Bleed on Cream paper
74 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620064214
ISBN-10: 1620064219
BISAC: Pets / Dogs / Breeds

(HARD COVER)

List Price: $21.95
ISBN-13: 978-1620064221
For more information, please see:

http://www.sunburypressstore.com/Pit-Bulls-2-978162006421…

Joe Farley's verses are "Song Poems in Search of Music"

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. — Sunbury Press has released Joe Farley’s poetry collection “Song Poems in Search of Music.”

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About the book:
Joe Farley is best known as one of “The Joes” who have written the “Keystone Tombstone” series of biography books, about famous or noteworthy people buried in Pennsylvania. He and his partner, Joe Farrell, have appeared on numerous television and radio interviews and programs, as well as dozens of news columns and magazines regarding this work. The two have traveled the Commonwealth in search of interesting tales to tell, interesting tombstones to honor, and interesting taverns in which to discuss their findings.

Joe Farley’s poetry spans his adult life, from the 1970s to the present, lamenting opportunities lost in the Anthracite Region of his birth, as well as his conquests and travels as he settled in the Susquehanna Valley of Pennsylvania. Farley is a fan of Shakespeare’s sonnets, Wordsworth, Poe and William Butler Yeats, but his lyric style calls to mind his Irish roots. Regardless, these are verses in search of music. Hopefully a few musicians will do them justice. In the meantime, enjoy these lines by Joe Farley, an Irish bard at heart.

Song Poems in Search of Music

Authored by Joe Farley

List Price: $9.99
6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
64 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620064191
ISBN-10: 1620064197
BISAC: Poetry / American / General

For more information about the book, please see:

http://www.sunburypressstore.com/Song-Poems-in-Search-of-…

Terry Ray's "Revolt!" is a 21st century "Red Dawn" set in western Pennsylvania

Sunbury Press has released Terry Ray’s latest novel Revolt!, a paramilitary action-adventure where the militia tries to come to the rescue of the American people.

About the book:

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Jihad arrives on American shores. The President lacks the courage to effectively confront the terrorists and would rather negotiate and capitulate than fight. The court system allows Muslim extremists, represented by the ACLU, to use our own constitutional rights to tighten the noose around America’s neck.

It becomes clear that a Muslim victory is almost certain unless Americans are freed of a federal government that refuses to protect them and a court system that aids and abets the enemy.

When the U.S. military is unsuccessful in convincing the president to change course and engage the enemy in a state of war, the patient American people face the most fundamental question every country must answer at some moment its history – What are we willing to do to save our beloved homeland?

After much heart-wrenching discussion and debate, Americans finally decide. They must . . .

REVOLT!

Also by Terry Ray:

The Crossers SeriesThe Man in the Mountain, The Circle, Crossing the Valley, Armageddon

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Revolt!

Authored by Terry Ray

List Price: $14.95
5″ x 8″ (12.7 x 20.32 cm)
Black & White on White paper
194 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620064078
ISBN-10: 1620064073
BISAC: Fiction / War & Military

Also available on Kindle and Nook

For more information about the book, please see:

http://www.sunburypressstore.com/Revolt-9781620064078.htm

Malafarina's "Dead Kill" series begins with "The Ridge of Death"

WERNERSVILLE, Pa. — Sunbury Press has released Thomas M. Malafarina’s latest novel The Ridge of Death,the first book of the Dead Kill series.

About the book:

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Horror master Thomas Malafarina is back with the first book of his Dead Kill series entitled The Ridge of Death.  Enter a post-apocalyptic world where zombies still roam, but are the quarry of bounty hunters who are rewarded by the government for helping with the “clean-up.”

What Others Are Saying:

“Thomas Malafarina writes with a visual artist’s eye for detail and design and revels in the same exuberant flourishes for violence and tableaus of flesh as Clive Barker, all the while working the clichés and conventions of the horror genre bravely and unabashedly. Though he has created his own King-like milieu in and around his native Schuylkill County (PA), Malafarina shares Lovecraft’s cosmic vision and torment of inner and outer space and he designs philosophically laden set pieces that thoroughly dissect the minutia of man as if he were just another sentient being in a violent and insatiable cosmos (and a clumsy one at that), a doomed soul wracked with mental anguish and ripe for the picking from the evils of the universe, just another chapter in an ancient taxonomy. Tom’s novels continue to grow in scope and ambition – he is a veritable talent to watch (and read)!” —George Andrade – Horror News

“Thomas M. Malafarina is the kind of writer I aspire to be. Like a visionary painter, creates mood in the landscape of dread, strong emotions with characters you care for, and suspense that causes a reader’s nails to dig deep into their own legs.  Stories cut from a cloth of originality that is Thomas M. Malafarina.” — Mark Slade – Nightmare Illustrated Magazine

“Malafarina’s vision into a world where zombies are nearly eradicated is fresh and savagely satisfying, making this a must read.” — Keith Rommel – Author of “The Cursed Man”

Excerpt:

Jackson stepped out onto the roadway with his gun still at the ready. He looked around to make sure there were no other such creatures lurking about, and then cautiously approached the fallen beast. Most of its face and skull had been annihilated. For a moment he thought he saw the thing move slightly and considered blowing off the rest of it head. Instead he kicked it hard several times to see if there was any sign of movement. There was none. It would never rise up again. Covering his mouth and nose to avoid the ungodly stench surrounding the wretched thing, Jackson reached down and sunk the spear end of the rod deep into its shoulder, which was now the highest point on the thing’s body, making the flag as visible as possible.

As the point of the spear sunk deep into the rotting flesh with a sickening sound, Jackson pulled away quickly and was hit by an involuntary shudder which started at the top of his head and rapidly shot right through his body to the tips of his toes. He stood there on the side of the road slightly bent over with his both hands extended, palms down barely able to hold onto his gun, knees bent and legs trembling. “Oh my God! I hate these freaking dead things,” Jackson said with a shudder in his voice. He was so glad he was alone and no one had witnessed his ridiculous involuntary reaction.

Unfortunately, this was something that had to be done in accordance with government mandated regulations. He looked over and saw he was a few feet from mile marker 25.4. Taking a deep breath to regain his composure, Jackson withdrew his communications unit, or CU, as they were commonly called, and snapped a photo of the creature with his flag and digital code clearly displayed. He also made sure to get the mile marker sign in the photo for reference.

Walking cautiously back to his car, ever vigilant for not just other such creatures but also for possible approaching cars, rare as they may be, Jackson climbed behind the driver’s seat, started his engine, and closed all of his windows. Holding his CU, Jackson selected the required communication number from his list and after hearing the digital preprogrammed greeting, he left his message, “This is Jackson Ridge, citizen number 132-78-5498. I’d like to report a dead kill on the southbound lanes of Route 61 at mile marker 25.4. I have placed my digital code identification tag into the remains in accordance with regulation DK5479-38. I’m sending a digital image as confirmation of the dead kill. Please forward payment to my account on record. And do not hesitate to call me if you have any additional questions. Thank you.”

Then he disconnected, put his car in gear, and continued down the highway to his new writing assignment. One hundred dollars would be transferred into his bank account before the day was over…

The Ridge of Death

Authored by Thomas M. Malafarina

List Price: $16.95
5.5″ x 8.5″ (13.97 x 21.59 cm)
Black & White on White paper
322 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620063651
ISBN-10: 1620063654
BISAC: Fiction / Dystopian

Also available on Kindle and Nook

For more information about the book, please see:

http://www.sunburypressstore.com/Dead-Kill-Book-One-The-R…

"Keystone Tombstones" not resting in peace… Sunbury's bestellers for April

kt3_fcKeystone Tombstones Volume 3, Joe Farrell and Joe Farley’s biographical compilation of noteworthy people buried in Pennsylvania, ranked #1 due to author activities and advance sales. The Joes will be at the Sunbury Press store in Mechanicsburg this Saturday, May 10, from 2 to 6, as part of the annual Wine Walk event..

About Keystone Tombstones Volume 3:

Joe Farrell and Joe Farley explore the cemeteries (and pubs) of Pennsylvania in search of interesting graves and stories about the interred.

Included in this volume:

Nick ADAMS “Johnny Yuma Was a Rebel”
Marian ANDERSON “A Voice Heard Once in a Hundred Years”
“Babes in the Woods”
John BARRYMORE “The Great Profile”
Robert CASEY “The Three Time Loss from Holy Cross”
Jimmy DORSEY “A Fabulous Dorsey”
backcoverimageFLIGHT 93 Crash Site “40 Heroes”
“Four Founders”
“Fox and Cox”
Joe William FRAZIER “Smokin’ Joe”
Dave GARROWAY “The Communicator”
Harry GREB “The Human Windmill”
John Frederick HARTRANFT “Old Johnny”
Robert (Bob) HESS “More than Just a Scientist”
“The Kelayres Massacre”
John MCDERMOTT “Golf’s Unknown Champion”
Mary Pinchot MEYER “The Mysterious Case of Mary Pinchot Meyer”
Joe PATERNO “JoePa”
Teddy PENDERGRASS “Life Is a Song Worth Singing”
Molly PITCHER “From Molly Pitcher to Black Hawk Down”
Art ROONEY “The Chief”
Lillian RUSSELL “The Great American Beauty”
Arlen SPECTER “The Single Bullet Theory Senator”
”Titanic Victims and Survivors”
Willie THROWER “Football’s Jackie Robinson”
“Pirates’ Pride”
John UPDIKE “One of America’s Best”
Grover WASHINGTON, Jr. “The Smooth Jazzman”
Anthony WAYNE “Mad Anthony”
Unusual Tombstones

tbd_fcMarie Sontag’s YA novel The Bronze Dagger jumped to #2, thanks to author activities and events in the San Jose, California area.

Joe Fair’s Vietnam memoir, Call Sign Dracula, slipped to #3.

Mike Campbell’s Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last held at #4 thanks to strong sales across the globe.

Ricky Bruce’s middle grade novella, Stink Bomb, grabbed #5 thanks to author activities and events in the San Jose, California area.

Alan Mindell’s baseball love story, The Closer, slipped to #6.

Keith Rommel’s The Cursed Man, being made into a movie, continued to sell well in southern Florida, and took #7.

Jesus the Phoenician, the ground-breaking book about the origins of Jesus Christ by Karim El Koussa, returned to the rankings at #8 thanks to strong international sales.

Robin Donaruma’s visionary fiction YA novel The Undecided debuted at #9.

Jesus Runs Away, the Catholic school memoir by Joe Farrell, debuted at #10 thanks to author activity.

Following are the top overall print sellers by category:
History / Memoir – Keystone Tombstones 3 by the Joes
Fiction  – The Bronze Dagger by Marie Sontag
Horror/Mystery – The Cursed Man by Keith Rommel
Children/YA – The Bronze Dagger by Marie Sontag
The Arts – Contemporary Photo Impressionists by T K McCoy
Self-Help – What to Do about Mama? by Barbs Matthew & Blank
Metaphysical/Spiritual – Jesus the Phoenician by Karim El Koussa
Reference – Education Behind Bars by Christopher Zoukis

fmag_fcThe company released four new titles during the month of April:
Freemasons at Gettysburg by Sheldon Munn, The Undecided by Robin Donaruma, Nobody Dies in Kansas by April Knight and Keystone Tombstones Volume 3 by Joe Farrell and Joe Farley.

For a list of Sunbury’s all-time best-sellers, please see the Sunbury Press web site:

http://www.sunburypressstore.com/BESTSELLERS_c3.htm

For a complete list of recent and upcoming releases, please see:
http://www.sunburypressstore.com/COMING-SOON_c47.htm

"The Oxygen Factory" is a YA dystopian action adventure by Renée des Lauriers

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. — Sunbury Press has released Renée des Lauriers’ debut novel The Oxygen Factory, a YA dystopian action adventure.

About the book:

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Breathe the air and die. Or worse, breathe and survive as one of the infected—blind, scarred, mangled, and stripped of everything but the hunger. Every day that Stella survives, scavenging through the buildings left standing, is another chance for the infected to kill her. If they can hear her, they know exactly where she is. If she stands still they can sniff her out. Fifteen years after the spread of the toxins, Stella was raised watching the infected hunt humans down. She told herself that it wasn’t ever going to happen to her.

Until one day, Stella finds a man washed up on the shore, from the Oxygen factory; the factory that ships out pills, which work its way into the lungs and pump oxygen throughout the body. He is part of the only organization working to keep humanity alive. Stella knows that to save him, will put her straight into danger. She’ll have to fight off more than just the infected to keep his secrets and keep him safe.

About the Author:
Renée des Lauriers was raised in New Jersey, the most densely populated state in America. There amidst the crowds and traffic, she pictured what would happen if the zombie apocalypse broke out. She now resides in Las Vegas, Nevada with her husband and chinchillas.

The Oxygen Factory

Authored by Renée des Lauriers

List Price: $14.95
5.5″ x 8.5″ (13.97 x 21.59 cm)
Black & White on White paper
160 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620064108
ISBN-10: 1620064103
BISAC: Juvenile Fiction / Dystopian

Also available on Kindle and Nook

For more information about the book, please see:

http://www.sunburypressstore.com/The-Oxygen-Factory-97816…

An Interview with Dr. John Cressler on Shadows in the Shining City, the latest novel in his Anthems of al-Andalus series

Whether you’ve already fallen in love with medieval Spain or you have yet to meet the characters in Emeralds of the Alhambra, get ready for Dr. John Cressler’s newest book in the Anthems of al-Andalus series, Shadows in the Shining City. Book two of the ongoing series is a prequel to the story in Emeralds, but still explores and revives that special, peaceful time in history when religious and social coexistence was not only possible, but actually happening. Shadows in the Shining City is scheduled for a summer 2014 release, but meanwhile, check out the interview with the author, below.
Sunbury Press: Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions about your Anthems of al-Andalus series and specifically your newest book, Shadows in the Shining City. Apart from the “official” summary for book one, Emeralds of the Alhambra, can you give us a recap in your own words?

Dr. John Cressler: First, a bit of preamble. My historical fiction is intended to introduce readers to a remarkable, and for the most part, little-appreciated period of history: medieval Muslim Spain, a place known today as al-Andalus (Andalusia). This rich history, a Muslim history, spans almost 800 years, from 711 CE to 1492 CE, and had profound influence on the development of Europe and even America. The goal of my historical series, Anthems of al-Andalus, is to break open the rich history of al-Andalus for the modern reader by using compelling love stories.
Emeralds of the Alhambra, book one in the series, takes place towards the end of this 800 year history, between 1367-1369, a pivotal period in Spanish history known as the Castilian Civil War. This was a time when, remarkably, Muslims fought beside Christians against other Christians. The events of Emeralds unfold around the love story between a strong-willed Muslim princess of court, Layla al-Khatib, and a famous English knight, William Chandon. Their love story is set in the glorious Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain. The Alhambra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the best preserved medieval Islamic palace in world (it still largely exists in its 14th century form), and is one of the most visited tourist sites in Europe. It is a magical place and was front and center in the 14th century Castilian Civil War . . . and it is a terrific location to set a love story! Chandon is seriously wounded and brought to the Alhambra to be used by the sultan as a political pawn. There he meets Layla. It is a forbidden love. Among other things, their love story explores the complexities of interfaith relationships (she is Muslim, he is Christian). In the end, there will be difficult choices to make, ones that not only affect their own relationship, but also the future of Muslim Spain. In my humble opinion, it’s a really great read.

Emeralds of the AlhambraSP: And for readers who are still unfamiliar with Emeralds of the Alhambra, here’s an excerpt , book trailer , and where to buy. Now, the same for your latest Anthems of al-Andalus book, Shadows in the Shining City, if you please . . .

JC: Again, some preamble. One of the most remarkable aspects of the 800 year history of Muslim Spain, al-Andalus, is that for a long stretch of time (a couple of centuries), Muslims, Jews, and Christians lived together in relative harmony and collectively helped launch one of the greatest intellectual and cultural flowerings of human history. That period of religious and cultural harmony is known today as convivencia (Spanish for ‘coexistence’). A casual glance at our world today, with its religious tensions and conflict, suggests that peace never was and never will be possible among Muslims, Jews, and Christians. However, peaceful coexistence did happen, for a long time, and I view it as vital for us as a global community in the 21st century to recall that fact. One of the central themes of my fiction is this rediscovery of convivencia as it unfolded in al-Andalus.
Shadows in the Shining City is a prequel to Emeralds of the Alhambra, and is set in late 10th century Córdoba (975 CE – 977 CE). It was a remarkable place and period. Muslim Córdoba was the largest, richest, cleanest, and most cultured city in Europe—by far. The Muslim Caliphs were collectors and lovers of books and knowledge, literature and art, and that diverse, multicultural society made pioneering contributions to medicine, science, agriculture, literature, and the arts. Jews, even today, consider this period of living in a Muslim kingdom to be their Golden Age. Jews and Christians were valued and welcomed members of that society. Like Emeralds, Shadows breaks open this rich history using love stories—in this case three running in parallel! The central love story involves Rayhana Abi Abir (a young Muslim woman of standing at court) and Zafir Saffar (a freed slave). In Shadows, I use this central love story to explore class differences in this fascinating society. I also show how one ambitious man orchestrated the unraveling of this great society; it is an archetypal tale of power and greed. Shadows is also a GREAT read!

Shadows in the Shining City

SP: And for readers who can’t wait to peek at your newest book, check out this excerpt and the Shadows in the Shining City book trailer . Now, Shadows is a prequel to Emeralds . . . was it part of your intended series structure all along to write one love story first and then follow up with its prequel or does your series structure evolve in response to each book? Please go on about your intentions for the structure for the remainder of the series.

JC: Actually, making book two a prequel was always the plan. So Anthems of al-Andalus is not a classical (sequential) trilogy. As I said, my aim is to break open 800 years of history. I started in 1367, but wanted then to go back and contrast that time period with this Golden Age in the late 10th century. I knew this before I began book one. I also wanted to show where my characters in Emeralds came from and how they ended up in Granada. The setting for book three in the series was also decided up front. I will jump back over Emeralds and into the future to 1492, to witness the fall of Granada and the Alhambra and show how the 800 history of al-Andalus ends. The descendants of the characters in Emeralds will figure in book three. I will say that this is a series, not a trilogy, so I do intend on writing books four through six, but the settings for those have not been decided yet. There are many fascinating options!

SP: Both books focus on central love stories set during historically significant times that highlight relationships among practitioners of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. Why is it important to you to use a romantic love story as the central focus of the books? What do you think the element of romance lends to the broader history? What do you hope the reader draws from the romantic relationships and the other types of relationships in the books?

JC: The two central themes of my fiction include: 1) re-awakening the dynamic interaction among the three Abrahamic faith traditions in medieval Muslim Spain, and hopefully through that experience inviting readers to imagine a different future for our modern world (i.e., can convivencia be resurrected today, and if so, how?); and 2) exploring the nature of love. If you stop and think about it, these two themes are strongly connected, since at the deepest level, all religion has love at its core: the love of self, love of the other, and love of God. I believe the history of medieval Spain is fascinating in its own right, but rather than create a history book (I began my writing career with five non-fiction books), I wanted to awaken those memories using fiction, which, if well-executed, can much more easily bring history alive for most folks, allowing readers to literally step into events and see for themselves what it must have been like. Centering my fiction on love stories, especially love stories that cross religious and class boundaries, serves as an ideal vehicle for exploring these broader themes while simultaneously producing a compelling must-read. Truth be told, love knows no artificial boundaries; religious, cultural, class, or race, and hence is the ideal plot device to explore my basic themes. As a side note, I have been greatly blessed in my life with a 31+ year romance with my wife and soul mate, Maria. So, tapping into that experience was easy for me. I have found that writing love stories is a very satisfying way to reawaken that flood of memories from our early days together. Ahhh, young love! And simply put, writing romance is a ton of fun! But, even though my novels have some serious romance in them, it is history first, romance second, and hence I consider my novels historical fiction, not historical romance.

SP: An important distinction. What, if any, are the contemporary connections you have tried to make in terms of the relationships among the peoples/religions/cultures depicted in your book (and now)? What are the modern implications in your historical fiction?

JC: I am very much concerned with interfaith dialogue and inter-religious dynamics in our broken modern world, which so often seems to spawn conflict and shameful atrocities (e.g., Syria, Israel, Gaza, etc.). So, yes, my fiction is intended to help folks remember that the conflict we see today was not always so, and that a different future is indeed possible if we desire another answer. That is not to say that we can necessarily recreate what existed in medieval Spain, but it does mean that what we see today is not mandated; it can be different if we dare to imagine it. In my mind, remembering the simple fact of convivencia in al-Andalus is a powerful incentive to try and create a different future. Imagine for a moment a world without religious conflict. Seems hard, but that is the invitation in my fiction.

SP: So you approach each book with a moral/lesson/goal in mind? How do you go about weaving your opinions and ideals into the narratives?

JC: The broader themes—inter-religious dynamics and the nature of romantic relationships—were present in my fiction from day one and manifest in each of my novels. But, these are obviously VERY broad and complex themes and can be explored in so many ways. So, each novel will attack this problem from different angles. For instance, in Emeralds the love story is across religious boundaries (Muslim woman, Christian man); in Shadows, the central love story is across class boundaries (they are both Muslim, but one is high-born, the other a freed slave). I would say that my themes are not overt in my plot or characters; I am first and foremost trying to bring a period of history alive in front of the reader and invite them to step into that history. Second, I am trying to make it a compelling page-turner. But, the reader will always be able to discern my two themes at work, weaving in and out of the characters and plot.

SP: Excellent. What are your overall goals for the Anthems of al-Andalus series? What inspires you to write these books about these topics? Could you sum up the whole series (so far)? I know that’s probably difficult, so bonus points for answering.

JC: Ultimately, I want to show how medieval Muslim Spain came to be, how it flourished and what that means to our modern world, and how it then fell apart and why. It is an 800 year history with tremendous nuance and fascinating complexity. Plus, it is a history largely unknown to most readers. So, that is the goal: revive this history in a way that makes it fun to read.

SP: What should we expect from your next book?

JC: I am already working on my research for book three and beginning to mull over plot lines. It will be set around 1492, back in Granada during the fall of the Muslim kingdom. It is a riveting time period with MANY interesting topics to address: the conquest of the Muslim kingdom and the Alhambra Palace by Ferdinand and Isabella (lots of battles and conspiracy), the launch of Columbus’ discovery of the New World (he received his commission in Granada in 1492 at the fall), the Inquisition (which is launched to address the issues with the Jews in the Muslim kingdom), the ultimate decision (it was largely political) leading to the great Diaspora of the Sephardic Jews, and the collapse and expulsion of all Muslims from Spain. The list is long. I am still mulling over what kind of love story(-ies) I will unfold along the way. But the descendants of the first two books will be front and center. Trust me: it will be a roller coaster ride!

SP: Looking forward to it. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

JC: Sure, here’s something. As a professor for 22 years now, I have done a tremendous amount of research and teaching and mentoring of young people, as well as my fair share of writing (five non-fiction books and over 500 scientific papers). I have found, however, that my fiction is the single most creatively satisfying thing I have ever done in my life. It has become my lifeblood and will be with me from now until I die! And I am grateful to Lawrence Knorr and Sunbury Press for helping me bring my vision to the world. It has been a fantastic ride thus far!

SP: Thanks again for the insights to your latest book, Shadows in the Shining City (pre-order a copy!) and your series as a whole.