1.) Quickly, give us the title and genre of your book and a 30-word or less tagline:
White Seed: The Untold Story of The Lost Colony of Roanoke
With plot points taken from the writings of Governor John White, White Seed is a enthralling retelling of the most dramatic mystery in American history – the abandoned colony of Roanoke.
2.) Who is your favorite character and why?
That would have to be John White (although Maggie is a close second). As a father who went through a divorce, I could feel and sympathize with this man who had to leave his daughter and granddaughter behind to go back to England and ensure the timely re-supply of the colony.
3.) If you could change ONE thing about your novel, what would it be? Why?
What? Change something? You must be kidding! That’s my initial gut reaction to that question. To some extent I’m locked in by the historical record, but I suppose if some big NYC Publishing Conglomerate sent somebody out to wave a million dollar bill (do they have that denomination?) in front of my nose and ask me to remove one of my minor charaters… I might consider it. But only if they’d go to press FAST! I signed a contract for my first book, Calling Crow and had to wait five years before it appeared in stores. No more of that.
4.) Give us one interesting fun fact about your book or series:
Two of my characters, Manteo and Wanchese are historical figures. Both were taken to England as boys to learn the language and to serve as interpreters for future English expeditions to the Virginias. When they were returned, one, Wanchese, ran away and became the sworn enemy of the English. The other, Manteo, stayed loyal to the English (right up to the end, in my take and… SPOILER ALERT! Oops, better stop there.)
5.) How can we contact you or find out more about your books?
Drop me a line via my web site for my last book, Carl Melcher Goes to Vietnam at: http://carlmelcher.com
6.) What can we expect from you in the future?
Coming in August is The Blue World and Other Stories, by Paul Clayton, a collection of about nine science fiction stories, a collection of stories to entertain and also make people think about why we do what we do… to each other.
7.) And now, before you go, how about a snippet from your book that is meant to intrigue and tantalize us:
In July of 1590, after a long, dangerous journey from England, a little three-ship fleet anchored off of Port Ferdinando on Hatarask Island, in Raleigh’s Virginia colony. Aboard was John White, Governor of the Virginia colony, returning after an absence of three long years. In the historical record, John White writes, “… we let fall our grapnell neere the shore and sounded with a trumpet a call, and afterwards many familiar English tunes of songs, and called them friendly; but we had no answer…”
I have dramatized what we know of that event as follows: Captain Cocke and the others were silent as they sat in the boats and listened. “I think we had better spend the night in the boats,” said Cocke. We will go ashore at daybreak when it is safer.”
“Aye,” said White, relieved that the Captain had not ordered the boats back to Hatarask.
Cocke called his orders over to the other boat and White heard their anchor splash into the sound. The men behind him dropped anchor. The rope thrummed as it ran out. As the anchor took hold, the boat swung about and came to rest in the currents, its stern to the island. The men shifted about as they lay claim to their spaces to lie down for the night.
White listened to the quiet of the island. The familiar smells of chamomile and dandelion reached his nose. He stood and hailed again. “Ananias Dare! Parson Lambert! Captain Stafford!” Silence hung heavy in the air as everyone waited for a response. None came.
The men again began talking quietly among themselves.
“Governor White,” said Captain Cocke. “Perhaps a round of song will do the trick.”
White said nothing.
“Men,” said Cocke, “let us sing a few verses. That is how we shall rouse them.”
“You mean that is how we shall roust them,” said Chandler.
The men laughed. Cocke started the song in the dark, “’Twas a lover and his lass…”
The others joined in, “with a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonnino…”
Cocke’s voice rang out, “That o’er the green cornfield did pass…”
White listened wordlessly, hoping those on shore would hear. He pictured again his tiny little granddaughter, Virginia. She would be three years of age now. Why had they not come out, he wondered. What in God’s name had happened to them?