Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Lee Passarella ~ guest post ~ and his novel Cold Comfort, Ill Wind

TITLE: Cold Comfort, Ill Wind
RELEASE DATE: January 20, 2016
AUTHOR: Lee Passarella
KEYWORDS: YA fiction, historical fiction, Civil War fiction, military fiction, new adult, military, history
CATEGORIES: Historical Fiction/Young Adult/New Adult
ISBN: 978-1523323258 & 1523323256
IMPRINT: White Stag

Two Virginia brothers, Townsend and John Tyler Philips, are separated by the great war that breaks the Union apart. While Towns serves as a musician in the 51st Virginia Infantry, John Tyler attends Virginia Military Institute, hoping one day to fight for his country and be reunited with his brave younger brother. Neither could guess they would meet again on a bloody battlefield of that war, or that John Tyler would be injured and again separated from his brother Towns.

Now, recovered from his wounds, John Tyler joins General Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, defending Petersburg against overwhelming Union forces, while Towns marches with Confederate General Jubal Early to the gates of Washington, then, hounded by the Union Army, back to Virginia, where the Rebels meet a tough new adversary, Union General Philip Sheridan. Confederate victories are soon followed by defeat after defeat, and for young Townsend Philips, a deepening crisis of conscience and will.

ONE LINER: Two Virginia brothers, separated by war, were once reunited on a deadly battleground of that war. Now, separated again, they continue the fight, hoping for final reunion.

Lee Passarella acts as senior literary editor for Atlanta Review magazine and served as editor-in-chief of Coreopsis Books, a poetry-book publisher. He also writes classical music reviews for Audiophile Audition and acts as associate editor for Kentucky Review.

Passarella’s poetry has appeared in Chelsea, Cream City Review, Louisville Review, The Formalist, Antietam Review, Journal of the American Medical Association, The Literary Review, Edge City Review, The Wallace Stevens Journal, Snake Nation Review, Umbrella, Slant, Cortland Review, and many other periodicals and online journals.

Swallowed up in Victory, Passarella’s long narrative poem based on the American Civil War, was published by White Mane Books in 2002. It has been praised by poet Andrew Hudgins as a work that is “compelling and engrossing as a novel.” While researching the history behind Swallowed up in Victory, Passarella decided that Civil War reenacting would give him a special insight into the conflict. As a re-enactor, he’s worn both the blue and the gray, as a private in the 125th Ohio Infantry and 42nd Georgia Infantry Regiments.


Cold Comfort, Ill Wind: A True Love Story
Truth, they say, is stranger than fiction. In this case, it might be sweeter than fiction. That’s because in the novel Cold Comfort, Ill Wind, I’m mostly concerned with the facts of the Civil War and its immediate consequences. I think anyone who tells a story with a historical background needs to be true to that background. In telling a good story, there is never any reason (unless you’re dealing with purely speculative fiction) to compromise the historical record. That’s why in my two Civil War novels for young people I have gone back to history and tried faithfully to tell a fictional tale within a historical context, one that I’ve been committed to thoroughly researching.
In telling my story about drummer boy Townsend Philips, I assigned him to a certain unit (Company C) in a certain regiment (the 51st Virginia Infantry Regiment) in a certain brigade—in the action following the Battle of Lynchburg, this is Forsberg’s Brigade. It is named for Colonel August Forsberg, an engineer and √©migr√© from Sweden who settled in the South and thus ended up on the Southern side of the conflict. During the Battle of Winchester, which is a part of the story of Cold Comfort, Ill Wind, Forsberg was severely wounded in the hand, which knocked him out of action until the very end of the war. The following is not, however, part of my narrative.
Colonel Forsberg was sent to recover at the Ladies Relief Hospital in Lynchburg, Virginia, where he came under the care of a widow acting as nurse, Mary Morgan Otey. Despite the severity of his wound, under Mary’s care, Colonel Forsberg managed to keep his hand. And he kept Mary as well. The two fell in love and married, Mary stating the case: “After I saved his hand, I thought I should have it.” As I say, sometimes truth is sweeter than fiction.

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