Marion L. Cornett
Prohibition Historical Fiction – Juniper and Anise By Marion L. Cornett
Marion, could you please tell us what draws you to the historical fiction genre?
I did a great deal of research putting together two local history books—The Fowlerville Chronicles (a chronology of the village from 1836 to 2011) and also Through the Eyes of a Country Editor (a biography of the editor of The Fowlerville Review from 1874-1929)—and found I was quite entranced with the era shortly after World War I and through the second war.
The Volstead Act, which created what is known as the Prohibition Era, was such an exciting period of time, both good and bad. Women were fighting for the right to vote and finally getting their voice heard, but it was also a time for those on the edge of the law to find ways to make large amounts of money in the selling of illegal alcohol. Throw into the mix, the stock market crash and the Great Depression, and this era soon turned into one of the bloodiest and most violent times for some and a test of survival for many others in the United States’ history.
My attention was drawn to those stories of survival.
I self-published both local history books and they are available through my Path Publishing website at www.pathpublish.com and also on Amazon. My historical novel, Juniper and Anise, was published through Whiskey Creek Press.
This is one of my favorite questions to ask author’s, as I like to hear the answers…so here goes, how long have you been writing?
Since 2009, I have concentrated a great deal more time and energy in crafting my writing but I have always been interested in journaling, reporting, and coming up with stories. Like many, I have kept a diary or journal since my youth but it wasn’t until I took various writing and journalism classes at a local community college that I started to believe I could do this.
Please give us a brief description of your book Juniper and Anise.
Hulda Pearl Rosenkowski escapes to America after World War I, after her mother, father, and brother were killed by scavengers at the end of that war. She was able to grab a few coins and even less of the family precious jewels and, as she sees her resources dwindling, she has to find a way to survive. By happenstance, she ends up in an old, broken-down farmhouse located just north of a small town in mid-Michigan, as the guest of an elderly widow. When the widow dies, Hulda becomes a squatter in the house and soon finds herself in need. It isn’t long that she figures out the market for hooch, giggle juice, jag juice, whatever they called illegal alcohol, and quickly, she becomes a woman bootlegger during Prohibition. As the story progresses, her desires to visit speakeasies and be a part of the “flapper” sensation far outweighs everything else and she soon has brushes with the Detroit Purple Gang.
The story of Hulda is told through the eyes of a small-town sheriff and the reader gets to know numerous characters that revolve around this woman bootlegger.
Your book sounds really interesting… If you could become a character in your latest book Juniper and Anise, briefly tell us which character you would like to be and why?
Like so many authors I have read about or spoken with, it is quite often a secondary character that remains when all others fade away. For me, I fell in love with Izzy Bouchard. She was a young gal that landed at the back stoop of Hulda’s farmhouse, beaten and alone. She was taken in by Hulda and they soon forged an unlikely friendship that helped to heal both of them. In many ways, Izzy had an inner strength far larger than anyone in that village and her opinions, while always spot on, sometimes offered up some comic relief in this story. She basically spoke her mind, something we would all love to do!
Keeping with the flavor of my blog, and because I am a foodie… what would have been a favorite dessert from the era that surrounds Juniper and Anise?
Izzy, the character I grew to love so much, was a baker. Her “specialty” was the Lady Baltimore cake, a sweet confection popular in the early 1900s. The white layer cake was put together with a meringue frosting filled with raisins, nuts, and other dried fruit. In my research, I also found Campbell’s Soups had created a cake using a can of tomato soup as one of the ingredients.
I didn’t try making the Lady Baltimore cake but I did put together the Campbell’s Soup Spicy Tomato Cake to test my research. The tomato cake was pretty tasty, especially topped with a cream cheese frosting. Both recipes are easily accessible by searching on the internet.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself, Marion.
My husband, Doug, and I recently celebrated our 17th anniversary. We were high school sweethearts that “broke up” after graduation and then found each other 26 years later. Between us, we have five children and six grandchildren and a lot of fun!
Over the years, I have found various forms of creativity. Someone once asked how long it took me to write Juniper and Anise. I answered about nine months, and then I started thinking about that answer. In reality, it took me 40 years to get to this point. Creativity is fluid—in my early years, I worked on handicrafts, having over 350 designs published in national magazines. These designs included knitted, crocheted, and needlepoint projects that I created and then the patterns and finished product would be published. The majority of those designs were published under the name Marion Kelley.
In later years, I moved onto writing newspaper and internet articles for motorcycle racing, something my husband and I are involved in.
When I was asked by a local newspaperman to start a blog about our small town, I became interested in local history. I soon realized so much history was being lost or disappearing, so I compiled and edited two books that I self-published (and learned a great deal in that whole process). I have since written history books for my paternal and maternal sides of the family.
Then, after 40 years of creativity, I was finally ready to write a novel.
Do you have a BIP (Book in Progress), and if so, please share a little bit about it.
I do have a work in progress that is completed and is now in the editing process. It is entitled Tilly Loves Johnny. I refer to it as a companion novel to Juniper and Anise. The story takes place in the same time period and same village but with completely new characters and a murder mystery to solve. I have made vague references to some of the characters in my first novel so if a reader knows the first book, they will be “in the know” when they come across those references.
Since Tilly Loves Johnny is in its final stages, I have begun the third (and last) book for that era (at this point). I realized early on I wanted to create a trilogy, of sorts, but not in the traditional way of following the same characters. I will be cagey at this point on the third book’s title and story since I am still in the early developmental stages.
Where can we find you, Marion? Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon page, etc.
My author website (always a work in progress) can be found at www.marioncornett.com and I’d love to have everyone “like” my facebook fanpage at www.facebook.com/marioncornettauthor where I post fun facts, motivational thoughts, information on my book and upcoming publications, and generally offer up whatever strikes my fancy! My twitter handle is @marionatpath, and I have a blog for Fowlerville (Cedartown in the novel) which can be found at www.fowlerville.blogspot.com. The Fowlerville Observer, as I call my blog, has over 2,500 articles and around 2,000 photographs. It has become quite a useful research tool for local families or anyone interested in small-town living.
Marion, I ask all the authors I interview to partake in a paperback giveaway—and you so graciously agreed to participate. Please let the folks know joining us today what they must do for a chance to win a copy of Juniper and Anise.
Let’s try something a little different.
Since I would like to drive internet traffic to my Path Publishing site, how about I post a blog article on The Fowlerville Observer at www.fowlerville.blogspot.com and ask the reader to click on the link to www.pathpublish.com, do a little browsing and come back to The Fowlerville Observer and comment on which blank book they would also like. At the end of a week’s time, I will draw a winner and that person will then receive both a copy of Juniper and Anise as well as one of the six choices of blank books available (gardening, recipes, kidisms, advice, happiness, or passwords and user names).
Where can your book be purchased (Link)?
Juniper and Anise is available on my publisher’s site at www.whiskeycreekpress.com as well as www.bookstrand.com and www.barnesandnoble.com. Following is the link to Amazon for both the ebook and paperback formats: http://www.amazon.com/Juniper-Anise-Marion-L-Cornett-ebook/dp/B00QJ7Z8I2. I also have paperbacks available for purchase on both www.marioncornett.com and www.pathpublish.com.
Thank you, Marion, for letting us get to know you better. I wish you all the best on your next book in progress!
-Virginia Wright, Author, Illustrator & Foodie
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