Today’s special author guest is Ellen W. Martin and we’re chatting about her new historical fiction, BOOK I – SONS OF CUBA–Prelude to Revolution.
During her virtual book tour, Ellen will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!
After a lifetime of personal adventures, travel and escapades (a lot of risky escapades), author Ellen Martin, is living her sunset years bouncing around a tennis court or clicking away on her keyboard.
Outrage at social injustices, the thrill for suspense, and unraveling a good mystery are triggers that motivate Ellen to write memorable stories and colorful characters.
Over 30 years as a military wife, she has resided both in the Orient and in Europe where she became no stranger to social injustice and poverty. She and her family have lived in the Philippines, Japan, Italy, and the Netherlands — not to mention both U.S. coasts and Kansas in the winter. She is fascinated by real-life, colorful personalities.
On a more personal note Ellen was a flight attendant for the Charter Airline Saturn in the 1960’s. Her job was escorting United States troops in and out of Viet Nam. Her adventures in the war zone continued until she was swept away by her fighter pilot husband.
After retirement the couple’s travels included Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Poland, Hungry, Spain, Scotland, and Ireland and topped off with a visit to Cuba.
God gifted Ellen with one “perfect” son and three grandchildren.
You wrap all this in a package and Ellen has been rewarded with an endless supply of fodder for her fiction.
In her historical fiction Book-I SONS OF CUBA–Prelude to Revolution she weaves an embellished tale of the most notorious and charismatic Cuban rebel in modern history. There’s a chance you might find him charming, intriguing and actually root for him in his early endeavors to free his beloved Cuba from tyranny.
However, in Book II – SONS OF CUBA – Homecoming, the story takes the reader from the rebel’s exile in Mexico to preparation for the revolution from the Mountains of the Sierra Maestra. This is where you will meet the fiery redheaded peasant girl, Tangi. The narrative shifts its focus from the revolution and centers around the fictional character, Tangi, and her family’s struggles, fears and disappointments in the new regime.
How the story in real life ends is no secret. But, in Book II – SONS OF CUBA – Homecoming, the characters and the author may just get the last word.
In 2020 Ellen’s new book Into the Devil’s Den turns from historical events to present day reality – Terrorism — terrorism in our own backyard.
Welcome, Ellen. Please share a little bit about your current release:
SONS OF CUBA is a two book series that opens into the life of a young college student who feels a deep passion that his beloved country has lived far too long under the iron fist of autocrats. With the support of like-thinkers, he begins his quest to free Cuba from oppression. The young rebels will experience the exhilaration of victory combined with devastating disappointments, death, imprisonment, and exile. This book isn’t just about revolution. It is about the people – their hopes, their dreams, their disappointments, their defeats, and their victories.
In Book II – SONS OF CUBA – Homecoming the focus turns to the bitter disappointments and heartache endured by Tangi Montolio and her family from the very man they had placed all their hope to stop Cuba from repeating its past mistakes.
What inspired you to write the book?
In November 1999 a five year old Cuban boy was found floating in a tube off the coast of Florida. The child and his mother along with twelve other people jammed into a seventeen-foot boat and chanced a risky ninety-mile trip from Cuba to the coast of the United States. Everyone drowned, except the boy and two others.
Since 1959 Cubans have been risking their lives to make that short, but dangerous trip across the Gulf of Mexico. Why would I become so obsessed with this particular incident to want to write a historical fiction book about Cuba?
Maybe it was because most Americans take our democracy for granted and I felt the need to try to understand why so many Cuban people exposed themselves to the dangerous crossing in such feeble boats. Maybe it was because until recent history, Americans were banned from visiting Cuba casting an aura of mystery over that Caribbean Island. The one thing I do know is I did a lot of research and in the end was fascinated with not only the culture, the history, but most of all the charismatic, controversial, both loved and hated Dictator Fidel Castro.
Before I knew it I had written a story about a young college student who had dreams of freeing his people from the tyranny each generation had endured since Christopher Columbus discovered the island – only to become the very thing he hated the most.
My story couldn’t end there. The people who wanted to live their lives freely and without day-to-day fears needed their story told too. Thus, BOOK II – SONS OF CUBA – HOMECOMING was written and gives an account of one family’s trials and tribulations attempting to exist the best way they could under a dictatorship from the very man they all had placed their hopes and dreams only to find nothing had changed.
Excerpt from Book II – SONS OF CUBA – Homecoming:
an illustration of one of many things the people of Cuba endured under the dictatorship.
Fernando opened the door. “What’s the meaning of this?” he asked. “How dare you wake this child? Haven’t you anything better to do than race around the streets at night, intimidating people and disturbing the peace?”
Ramon Miguel stepped between Tangi, Fernando, and the soldier. “What can we do for you?” He asked.
“I told you, I’m looking for Fernando Reyes. Are you he?”
Ramon stared at the soldier; his eyes narrowed. “Maybe, but tell me first why you’re here.”
The soldier waved a piece of paper in front of Ramon’s face. “This is about you turning your farm over to the government.”
Fernando pushed Ramon aside and snapped, “I’ll do no such thing. That land has been in my family for generations. Besides, what would the government want with a few meager acres?”
What exciting story are you working on next?
I left the world of historical fiction in my taillights and have completed a suspense thriller entitled INTO THE DEVIL’S DEN – SNARED BY THEIR OWN LIES. This book will be released late October 2020. In a nutshell, the story is about a veteran U.S. Immigration agent who races against time to save his daughter from a jihadist’s sleeper cell.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Now that is a tough question! Writing just happened — and happened much later in my life. I did take a creative writing course in college, so obviously the notion was hidden somewhere deep in my mind. My true passion led me in a totally different direction. The first half of my life was spent seeking adventure and travel. I accomplished that phase as a Flight Attendant for Saturn Airways, a Charter Airline that opened the door of the world to me from the shores of the United States, to Europe, Asia and then the opportunity to fly U.S. troops into the warzones of Viet Nam. The second half has been as an Air Force wife and mother, now retired living in a small town in Northwest Florida.
I’m not someone who just sits down and starts writing. Usually there is a particular incident or subject that sparks my curiosity and stirs my imagination, and then as a “by the seat of the pants-type” writer, I create, what I hope, are fun, entertaining, and intriguing stories with colorful characters for others to read.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I don’t know if this is a writing quirk, but it sure does fascinate me as a writer. I’ve written four books now and in each one of them I set out with a “plan” of how a particular scene and or chapter will evolve. Almost in every incident when my fingers hit the keyboard, the characters take me in a different direction.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A person who would sprout wings and fly anywhere in the world I wanted to go.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers.
For additional information, excerpts, etc. about all four of the books I’ve written you can check out my website www.booksbyellen.com.
Thanks for being here today, Ellen.