Interview with novelist Karen J. Hicks

I have Karen J. Hicks here today to talk about her new novel The Coming Woman

The Coming Woman is a novel based on the life of feminist Victoria Woodhull, the first
woman to run for U.S. President, 50 years before women could even vote!



Bio:
Karen J. Hicks is retired and lives in
Henderson, Nevada. She recently published her second novel, The Coming Woman,
based
on the life of the infamous feminist Victoria C. Woodhull, who was the first
woman to run for U.S. President
. Her
first book was a self-help book titled The
Tao of an Uncluttered Life
. Karen served as in-house editor for author
Steve Allen and has written several screenplays, as well as poetry, short
stories, and essays. To learn more, go to http://www.karenjhicks.com/
Welcome,
Karen. Please tell us about your current release
.
The Coming
Woman

is a novel based on the life of Victoria C. Woodhull, the first woman to run
for U.S. President, 50 years before women could even vote! Victoria was also
the first woman to own a successful Wall Street brokerage firm, the first to
publish a successful national newspaper, the first to head the
two-million-member Spiritualist Association, and the first to petition the
Senate Judiciary Committee, advocating for woman’s suffrage. Daring to take on
society and religion and fight hypocrisy, Victoria exposed the extramarital
affairs of the most popular religious figure of the day (Henry Ward Beecher),
which led to the longest, most infamous trial of the 19th century
and her own imprisonment and persecution for exercising her First Amendment
rights. But she would not be defeated and continued to fight for equal rights
for all until her death of old age.
What
inspired you to write this book? 
My
friend Twyla first shared Victoria’s story with me back in the 1980s. She had
written a college paper on her, and I was fascinated from the first word. I was
never an avid student of history, but when I began reading more and researching
Victoria’s life and times, my fascination grew—to full-blown obsession. Over
the years I penned her story in several different formats, the hardest task
being to whittle all the incredible material down to a manageable size. Feeling
most of the books I read about Victoria were geared toward readers who loved
history and/or biographies, I wanted to tell the story in a way that attracted
those who prefer a good novel. So that’s what I did.
Excerpt from
The Coming Woman:
The early
spring drizzle on Great Jones Street doesn’t deter newsboys from hawking the
April 2, 1870 headlines up and down the thoroughfare between the beer gardens
and dance halls of the Bowery and the opulent emporiums of Broadway.
“Petticoat
Politician Victoria C. Woodhull to run for President!”
“Indian
raids in Wyoming!”
“Sergeant
Patrick Gass of Lewis and Clark expedition dies at ninety-eight!”
The
heavy, mahogany front door at No. 17 flies open. Victoria Woodhull, lithe and
fair at thirty, skips lightly down the steps of the elegant four-story
brownstone. Her bobbed and curled brown hair bounces gently against her high
forehead. A diamond ring glitters on her right thumb.
“Queen of
Finance takes on Government!” yells a newsboy.
Victoria
smiles as she hails him. He hands her a New
York Herald.
“So Mrs.
Woodhull is to run for President, is she?” she asks. “What do you think of
that?”
“No
offense or nuthin’ to you as a woman, Ma’am, but it’s plum crazy.” The boy
looks down and shuffles his feet.
Another
newsboy waves and calls out, “Mornin’, Mrs. Woodhull! You’re stirrin’ things up
for sure today!” He runs on yelling: “Bewitching Broker in dash to the White
House!”
The
mortified boy on the steps turns as red as the fresh rose pinned to the black
velvet band at Victoria’s throat. She pats his cheek; her laughter is soft and
melodic.
“Don’t be
embarrassed, son. I’m sure you won’t be the only one of your opinion. And I
shouldn’t have tricked you. Here’s an extra penny to apologize.”
“Thank
you, Ma’am!” The boy scoots away, calling out: “Asa Brainard pitches fifteenth
straight win for Cincinnati Red Stockings! New York Knickerbockers can’t stop
‘em!”
Victoria
skips back up the steps, flipping through the newspaper. Glancing up as she
opens the door, she spies tall, scarecrow-looking Stephen Pearl Andrews
skirting puddles, hurrying toward her. His bony nose, bushy gray hair, and
grizzled beard glisten with droplets of rain. His calf-length black coat flaps
wildly in the breeze.  Victoria grins and
goes to meet him, blue eyes sparkling like sunlit waves. She takes his arm and
Andrews’ wildness softens at her touch. He pats her hand.
“So did
the Herald print your
announcement?” he asks.
“The
entire thing!  And Ashley Cole wrote the
perfect headline and introduction!”
“You are
on your way to your destiny, la mia
stella.”
Inside
the house, Victoria walks past tall vases of fragrant flowers and a staircase
that curls upward to the second floor. 
She stops at a marble statue of the famous Greek orator
Demosthenes—classic tunic, laced sandals, laurel wreath on his head. 
“Demosthenes’
promise to me as a child—that I would live in a mansion in a city surrounded by
ships and rule my people—It’s all coming true! How do you say thank you in
Greek, Pearl?”
“Efharisto.”
“Efharisto, Demosthenes! I will fight
for freedom for our people as you did for the Greeks.” She pecks Andrews on the
cheek. “Demosthenes’ prophecy has driven my entire life, Pearl, but you are his
corporeal representation and have given me the courage to act on it. So thank
you, too.”
“Yes, yes. Let’s look at this announcement
now.”
What exciting
story are you working on next?
I
have a first draft completed on a short novel titled Crystal Dreams. It is a romance that calls on my background in the
advertising and entertainment industries of Nashville and Hollywood for its
setting. Add my interest and respect for spiritual practices and my deep
respect for the American Indian culture, and you have what I consider to be a
funny, poignant, and sexy story. This is my first book written out of whole
fantasy and I must say I love the freedom of that.
When did you
first consider yourself a writer?
Since
early childhood it has always been my dream to write, and I have dabbled with
poetry, short stories and the like since an early age. But it wasn’t until my
son graduated from high school that I began calling myself a writer—and
thereafter actually published my first book.
Do you write
full-time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other than
write and how do you find time to write?
I
am retired so I have as much time as I want to write now. When I was a single
parent and holding a 9-to-5 job to pay the bills, I would get up in the wee
hours of the morning and write before going off to the office. Having been
raised on a dairy farm, I am still fond of the early morning. I confess I have
a very casual attitude toward writing and sit down to it only when I feel I can
channel the Universe through my fingers onto the keyboard. This comes from my
belief that it is not me or any particular talent of mine that makes me a
writer, but rather an openness to be a conduit for the Higher Power.
What would
you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I
think I am a better editor than writer so I always make many passes through a
draft before I am satisfied.
As a child,
what did you want to be when you grew up?
Well,
as a very young gal, I wanted to be Annie Oakley and live on a horse ranch in
Texas. When I was older I thought about being an English teacher. But I always
knew, no matter what else I did, I would always write, even if it was only in
my journal. I still keep one of those and write in it daily. My mother died
when I was four and some years ago her sister, my Aunt Fran, gave me copies of
letters my mother had written over the two years she had battled cancer. That
peek into my early years is absolutely priceless, so I also keep a separate
journal about my granddaughter Sophie’s life so when she grows up she will have
a similar treasure. 
Anything
additional you want to share with the readers?
I
hope you enjoy my book and if you have a dream, never give up on it. It took
almost 30 years for this book to become a reality and many times it ended up on
a back shelf, but if you visualize, keep the faith, and do your part, I believe
your dream can be realized. Namaste.

The Coming Woman was published by Sartoris Literary Group in August 2014 and is available for sale on Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Thanks for being here today, Karen.

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