True Blue Confederate written by Staten M. Rall is a detailed account of his own experiences in the military. The True Blue Confederate is crafted in expert detail and brought to life through the actions of real Civil War participants. Over twenty years, Staten has immersed himself in Confederate lore, family histories, and military knowledge, which endeared him to share a new perspective of a soldier’s struggle.
Stacey Chillemi: What was unique about the setting of the book? How did it enhance or take away from the story?
Staten M. Rall: The setting for True Blue Confederate, which is Eastern and middle Tennessee during the American Civil War, definitely enhances my story. For example, the Cumberland Mountains in the east were heavily Unionist in sentiment. A Confederate scouting party in such a setting creates great tension and drama.
Stacey Chillemi: What specific themes did you emphasize throughout the novel?
Staten M. Rall: First, guilt is an obvious player in war novels. Second, the theme of family dynamics is presented, where unpredictable circumstances occur. Another theme in my book, faith, builds as the main characters are faced with constant anxieties and heartbreak.
Stacey Chillemi: What are the challenges to creating convincing characters?
Staten M. Rall: Without a doubt, characters are the story. Consistency is the most important part of the character. There’s only a certain amount of visual description you can do, and the character’s voice is our only real link to them. It’s a great challenge to use only a few words of dialogue to reveal the character’s inner thoughts and motives. How characters react, what they say, and, most of all, how they say it can enhance individualism and convince the reader that the people on the page are living and moving in their historical age.
Stacey Chillemi: How do characters change or evolve throughout the course of the story? What events trigger such changes?
Staten M. Rall: When they go to war, young men change from boyhood pals to trained, hardened veterans. Once the female character, Bethanna, experiences the Confederate scouts in her village, she is changed forever as the war enters her life, and first love enters her heart.
Stacey Chillemi: How did your background play a part in this book?
Staten M. Rall: I have family roots that go back to the Civil War on both sides. My mother grew up in an old Plantation house outside of Montgomery, Alabama. Among the artifacts stored there, the Civil War weapons and letters intrigued me most, as did the stories of my great grandfather (Xs3) who participated in the Battle of Stones River, featured in my book. Most importantly, I studied my subject and followed my passion.
Stacey Chillemi: Was Historical Fiction always your chosen genre?
Staten M. Rall: For the first novel, and subsequent follow-ups, definitely. I am sure whatever I work on in the future will have a historical basis or theme.
Stacey Chillemi: In a movie version, who would play what parts?
Staten M. Rall: That’s a hard one, but fun to ponder.
- Sgt. Jon Lyhton – A younger Ethan Hawk
- Bethanna Gurtag- Alicia von Bittberg
Stacey Chillemi: Do you develop the world of a novel fully in your mind before beginning to write?
Staten M. Rall: It helps to imagine and to plot a clear road ahead, but with fiction be prepared to take unexpected paths. The writer sets up the scene and the characters react to circumstances, or sometimes the characters will find their own direction and growth.
Stacey Chillemi: Do you have any advice for up and coming writers?
Staten M. Rall:
- If you can, take a creative writing class. The deadlines help to focus your efforts and the student feedback is worth the money. Don’t try to write the best story, but concentrate on building creative paragraphs.
- Friends can only help so much and often won’t give honest criticism. Get a mentor to help, someone who is older, wiser, and has read more junk than you have (and is great at English).
- It helps to work on several short stories before working on a 350-page novel because there is no massive time investment (years) like there is with a book.
- I like to balance my reading with both non-fiction and fictional stories.
- Be wary of too much writer advice. Be picky and use what you need.
Stacey Chillemi: Where can people find more information on you and your book True Blue Confederate?
Staten M. Rall: Author bio and blogs and can be found at trueblueconfederate.com. The book for the True Blue Confederate can be found at abcbookpublishers.com, amazon.com or barnes and noble.com.
Book reviews are located at Amazon books online.
Stacey Chillemi: Are you currently working on anything new that we can look forward to in the future and if so, when is it expected to come out?
Staten M. Rall: I am working on Book 2 of True Blue Confederate and on a Civil War Navy story. It’s a race to see which will be done first. I hope that in a couple of years both will be out for sale.
About the book: Real events that occurred in the Civil War of Tennessee and a soldier’s struggle to save his very soul.
Stones River – December 31st, 1862 ~ The battle in middle Tennessee has begun and Confederate Sergeant Jon Lyhton is lost amid scattered skirmishers. Jon obtains a Union overcoat to survive the freezing night, but his desperate attempts to survive backfire in a horrid twist that only war can deliver. Disillusioned with himself and the lack of Confederate efforts to win the battle, Jon is confronted with failure and dishonor. For atonement, he must take heroic, but drastic action to avert the very judgment of God and his faith is tested to the limits of the human will. In vivid contrast are Jon’s experiences of the previous summer at the Cumberland Gap in Eastern Tennessee. While in the 11th Tennessee Regiment, he is introduced to garrison duty, first combat and the cold realities of war. Unionist partisans populate the nearby hills and there, Jon meets Bethanna, the daughter of German farming emigrants. As her serene valley is threatened by the encroaching sectional conflict, she must find a way to rise above the chaos of love and war. True Blue Confederate is a dynamic historical fiction surging with action, morality, and compassion during extremely difficult circumstances. Culminating in a heart-clinching final day at Stones River (Murfreesboro), Staten M. Rall proves that passionate characters still live and breathe in deeds of chivalry and honor.