Beth M. Caruso: The Salty Rose

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Author Interview: Beth M Caruso

1. How did you choose your genre? What made you write this book?

 I’ve always loved history, facts, and research, so historical fiction comes naturally to me. However, there are also elements of magical realism in my books that reflect spiritual undertones. I was inspired to write The Salty Rose after I came across a little-known female troublemaker in early colonial America, tavern keeper Marie du Trieux, a great grandmother in my husband’s family tree. She lived in the colony of New Netherland and had a colorful reputation. At the same time, I wanted to explore what happened to one of the main characters in my first novel, One of Windsor, after protagonist Alice Young’s death and the trajectory of the Connecticut Witch Trials. These trials culminated in the Hartford Witch Panic. With both research from genealogy and history not used in One of Windsor, I was able to create a story about both Marie du Trieux and her contemporary counterpart in New England, trader John Tinker, the devastated cousin of Alice Young. Their stories started out separately but there was plenty of opportunity to merge them. The cover of The Salty Rose depicts my interpretation of the exact moment when they meet each other outside of Marie’s tavern in New Amsterdam.

2. Writers write what they know, and must observe the world. Are you a first born, middle or last child and how does this shape your view of the world?

I am first-born, leading the way to my own adventures. As a first-born, you tend to forge a path without any examples from your younger siblings. Since I started writing a few years ago, I’ve been one of the people leading the way to raise awareness about the Connecticut Witch Trials. I was the first Connecticut writer to ever choose to explore the actual Connecticut Witch Trials with historical fiction about an actual event. There is a famous book, The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare. It takes place in Wethersfield, Connecticut which is a real place. It is a wonderful book however, the story is purely fictional. I am pleased that I was able to incorporate part of Connecticut’s witch trial history into The Salty Rose as well.

3. Where is your favorite place to write?

I have a study that overlooks a river. The morning sun coming through its windows helps me wake up enough to write, give me inspiration and be in a state of tranquility. I write on an early nineteenth century writing table that’s very beat up. It reminds me subtly of entering into the past—a great prompt for any historical fiction writer. One of my kitties, Sasha, is my muse and loves to curl up on the writing table near me as I work on projects.

4. How do you feel about killing your darlings, and what do you do with the remains?

The death scenes of my favorite characters are an accumulation of lengthy moments frozen in time with great detail either leading up to their death or as they realized they were going to die. I cried for Alice Young, my main character in One of Windsor, because of the injustice of her death. I’m not giving anything away when I say that because the story is about the first witch-hanging in the American colonies. I described the site of her burial with poetic and loving tenderness. I absolutely wouldn’t kill off beloved characters that were based on real people unless their historical timelines called for it. With made-up characters, I’m fine with death if it suits the novel’s purpose.

5. You are introduced to your favorite author. Who is it, and what is that one burning question you must ask them?

I can narrow it down to two authors. Jorge Luis Borges, an Argentinian whose short stories of labyrinths of changing reality inspired magical realism, is one. I’d ask him if his fantastical work was influenced by losing his eyesight and how did that loss of sight reflect the ways in which he viewed reality? In a different vein, I would ask Sue Monk Kidd what was her inspiration for writing about the Black Madonna in The Secret Life of Bees? And, is she familiar with the beautiful, powerful, and benevolent Black Madonnas of the towns Custonaci, Tinderi, and others on the ancient island of Sicily in Italy?

The Salty Rose

by Beth M. Caruso

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GENRE: Historical Fiction

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BLURB:

Marie du Trieux, a tavern keeper with a salty tongue and a heart of gold, struggles as she navigates love and loss, Native wars, and possible banishment by authorities in the unruly trading port of New Amsterdam, an outpost of the Dutch West India Company.

In New England, John Tinker, merchant and assistant to a renowned alchemist and eventual leader of Connecticut Colony, must come to terms with a family tragedy of dark proportions, all the while supporting his mentor’s secret quest to find the Northwest Passage, a desired trading route purported to mystically unite the East with the West.

As the lives of Marie and John become intertwined through friendship and trade, a search for justice of a Dutch woman accused of witchcraft in Hartford puts them on a collision course affecting not only their own destinies but also the fate of colonial America.

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Excerpt:

The Director General slammed the gavel down with the harsh thud of an ending.

“Marie du Trieux, you are hereby banished from New Netherland forever!” he said.

As I held on to the railing of a departing schooner, I remembered the jarring finality of those stark words against me. Looking back one last time at my town, a little place in the wilderness that had grown up with me—I longed to stay in the home where I gave birth to all my children, the location of my loves and of my losses.

This is the best place to begin recounting the story of how I played a part in the transition from Dutch New Amsterdam to English New York, my dear granddaughter.

I suppose the English will have their own tales to tell about the events that transpired but I want you to know my personal and secret version of the history of my beloved city before I am gone.

Having left New Amsterdam for the first time on that cold winter day in 1664, I felt unsettled, not quite believing that the time for my departure had finally come. Where had the time gone? How quickly had it passed? It had been nearly forty years since I first set foot on the shores of Manhattan with my mother, father, and little brother.

The view from our vessel, The Morning Star, was unrecognizable from the one my family saw many decades earlier. We had arrived to nothing but marsh, forest, and a few Indian canoes that approached our ship in greeting and curiosity. It’s easy to recall my excitement as a young girl of flowing dark hair seeing the Natives for the first time when we reached these shores many years ago.

But at the point of my expulsion, I wasn’t an adventurous, naïve child anymore. A mature and defiant woman who had faced her share of hardship and disappointment had taken her place. The Council of New Netherland and Director General Stuyvesant had told me they were finished with my repeated offenses and had given the order for banishment. I’d been in trouble with the authorities far too often they said. They’d insisted that my tavern be closed.

“So this is how it must end,” I uttered in disbelief to my son Pierre, your uncle, as we huddled together on deck.

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Award-winning author, Beth M. Caruso, is passionate to discover and convey important and interesting stories of women from earlier times. She recently won the literary prize in Genre Fiction (2020) from IPNE (Independent Publishers of New England) for her most recent novel The Salty Rose: Alchemists, Witches & A Tapper In New Amsterdam (2019). The Salty Rose is Beth’s second historical novel and explores alchemy in early colonial times, an insider’s view of the takeover of the Dutch colony of New Netherland, and the Hartford Witch Panic with information she gathered from previous and ongoing research. Beth’s first historical novel is One of Windsor: The Untold Story of America’s First Witch Hanging (2015), a novel that tells the tale of Alice ‘Alse’ Young and the beginnings of the colonial witch trials. She based the story on original research she did by exploring early primary sources such as early Windsor land records, vital statistics, and other documents. She lives in Connecticut with her family. Beth kayaks and gardens to unwind.

Website: www.oneofwindsor.com

Email: oneofwindsor@yahoo.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/oneofwindsor

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bethmcaruso/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Salty-Rose-Alchemists-Witches-Amsterdam/dp/1733373802

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-salty-rose-beth-m-caruso/1133991342

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In The Key Of Love

I should have known I would end up here... Give me a good book and I'm in heaven. Especially romance, mystery, mayhem, the fantastic and the fey. Give me a laptop and I'm writing any one of these, and not in any particular order.

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