Special First Anniversary Episode – This Week!

Balloons by Alan CleaverLIVE: THURSDAY, 29 August 2013 at 1:00pm EDT

This week on Fieldstone Common we celebrate the first anniversary of Fieldstone Common! Join host Marian Pierre-Louis as she gives away 12 books and a Kindle Paperwhite!

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To qualify for the prizes you need to sign up for the mailing list!

Sign up for the Fieldstone Common Malinling List

You must be signed up before Thursday, August 29, 2013 on the Fieldstone Common email list. Four books will be given out to live callers. Eight books and the Kindle Paperwhite will go to subscribers of the mailing list.

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This Thursday is your chance to get on the air on Fieldstone Common!

We’ll be celebrating the 1st anniversary of Fieldstone Common and we’d love to have some comments, questions and feedback from the audience.

There are two ways you can send feedback.

1) LEAVE A VOICE MESSAGE

Got to www.FieldstoneCommon.com. On the right hand side of the page you’ll the SEND VOICEMAIL tab. Click that and you’ll be prompted to record a voicemail.

2) SEND AN EMAIL

Send an email to mailbag@FieldstoneCommon.com and let us know what’s on your mind!

The emails will be read and the voicemails will be played in between giving out 12 books and the grand prize!

The Fieldstone Common audience is so important to making the show a success! Tell us what’s on your mind!

You can also help by spreading the word. Share the www.FieldstoneCommon.com link on your Facebook or Google+ page or on Twitter. Thanks so much for supporting the show!

 

 

Post Script with James Redfearn

Recently, I interviewed James Redfearn about the 1919 Boston Police Strike and its James Redfearnimpact on the city of Boston and the nation as a whole (listen here). Jim wrote a novel, The Rising at Roxbury Crossing, based on his research.

Sometimes a recorded interview doesn’t provide enough time to answer all the questions I have. I really wanted to discuss how Jim researched the police strike and then transferred the factual information into a novel. In this special Post Script Jim provides insight into his work.

Post Script Interview with James Redfearn

MPL: Why did you decide to write fiction rather than non-fiction?

JR: I decided to write “The Rising” as fiction after I realized that the Boston Police Strike really is an Irish story as well as a Labor story. Once I realized that history had presented me with two great events (The Boston Police Strike and The Irish Rebellion), occurring in 1919, it seemed natural to merge one into the other because of similar themes. It also allowed me to fold my grandfather’s story into the history and gave me greater freedom to breathe life into the dynamic historical characters. Both events are about Power and the struggle to maintain Power as well as Order and the breakdown of Order. Willie Dwyer is the link between the two events and he is caught in their vortex.  Willie is Everyman trying to negotiate his own dilemma so that he can take a stand. The story asks the reader, if in Willie’s shoes, where do you stand?

MPL: One thing you did on your journey in creating this book was to get a degree in writing from the Harvard Extension School. Why did you decide to do that and how did it impact the shape of your final work?

JR: I always had a latent interest in writing, but held off from pursuing it because of other life commitments. When I retired from the state police and went to work for the Boston law firm, I decided to dip my toe into the water to see if I really did have an interest. I registered for a course at the Extension School, enjoyed it and was encouraged to “keep working at it.” Because of past experiences with other pursuits, I felt that I needed to enter a structured program. I entered a writing-intensive graduate program and earned a master’s The Rising at Roxbury Crossing by James Redfearndegree in Literature and Creative Writing. (Personal Note—one of the best things I have ever done and recommend it highly). The discipline and work ethic that was required and learned to successfully complete the degree program was instrumental in writing a four hundred-page first novel.

After you retired from being a police officer you worked for a law firm where, amongst other things, you taught how to do research using public documents. Can you tell us a bit about this and why few people are aware of how much is available?

During my career with the state police, I conducted many cases where knowledge of the public record was important to prove my case. In my last few years as a trooper, I was assigned to an Asset Forfeiture Unit, which developed cases to seize and forfeit the assets of large narcotics’ distributors.  With time, I developed an expertise in locating information through searches of the public record and was asked by my superiors to instruct other troopers. Eventually, I prepared lecture material and was invited to speak to federal, state and local agencies about this resource. I continued to gives these lectures at Law Enforcement conferences during my time at the law firm.

Like other pursuits, this knowledge that I acquired was through necessity. Most folks are unaware of the information that is out there about them because they probably just haven’t thought about it. At one time, I taught that the holder of the greatest number of personal records was the Government. But I believe today that Corporate America knows more about ordinary folks than anyone. And here is the interesting thing—much of what Corporate America knows comes from us and that we give up private information about ourselves every day in our day-to-day lives.

In The Rising at Roxbury Crossing, Detective Nolan uses his knowledge of the public record to identify the owner of a Boston warehouse. He finds records at the Suffolk County Registry of Deeds and the Secretary of State to learn that the property at 356 Necco Street is owned by Bradford Henshaw.

MPL: You researched the police strike with the intent of writing a novel. How did you go about researching the historical facts of the story? What resources did you use?

JR: I tackled the history first and the more I learned the more I realized that I was discovering an American tragedy. It was a story just waiting to be told. I had the benefit of reading Francis Russell’s non-fictional account, City in Terror. However, he didn’t use footnotes and provided a limited “Selected Bibliography.” I was able to use references in his narrative to track down original sources.  He wrote his book in 1975 and so had the opportunity to speak with some of the original strikers. I did not, but did obtain anecdotal stories from strikers’ families.

The Boston Police Strike has been studied over the years as an important and significant event in the context of Boston and American Labor history. Consequently, there are many sources of information related to it. But I found that much of it is repetitious, often covering the same material. My reason for writing the account as a fictional story was to make the event come alive—to put a face on it.

Other resources included: “Nineteen Nineteen, The Boston Police Strike in the Context of American Labor” by Zachary Schrag; Boston Police archives; Boston and national newspapers; private papers of Stephen O’Meara, Commissioner Curtis and Mayor Andrew Peters available at the BPL Private Collections; 1919 map collections at the BPL and the Bostonian Society; Biographies and other subjects  related to the 1919 society were researched at the Widener Library at Harvard College;  Period photographs from Historic New England; History books for Ballinasloe and Ireland.  I interviewed and obtained copies of dissertations from two Professors of History on the subject, Irish-American Nationalism, which was promoted by the Catholic Church in Boston in 1919. And of course I used the web to point me in the right direction on several occasions.

MPL: How many books do you think you read as background research for the novel?

JR: I have 22 listed in my “Sources Cited” and I probably read another 2 to 4 that I didn’t use.

MPL: When writing this piece of historical fiction how did you make the decisions about what to keep as factual and what to create as fiction?

JR: I established the historical timeline-frame first and then wrote the fictional story within the frame, not really changing the general facts of the case. Obviously, there were many more meetings and correspondences from all parties than covered in the book. I tried to place the most critical events on the stage, Coolidge, Peters and Curtis meeting in the governor’s suite just prior to the strike, for example. I also created scenes in which my characters, both historical and fictional, might react to some development. However, I do make the disclaimer that the novel is a work of fiction and all references to actual persons, places and events are fictional and any resemblance to actual persons, events or dialogue is entirely coincidental.

MPL: How did you research the language/slang that the people used back in 1919?

JR: I referred to a couple of sources, including newspaper articles written by Ring Lardner during the period. I also read several plays by Irish playwrights to pick up the vernacular. And then some of it came from me when it just sounded right after growing up in Irish Boston.

MPL: When we met before the interview you described how being a photographer helped you develop your characters. Can you explain what you meant by that?

JR: I tend to write in details, which probably came from my photography background. I actually have to watch this though because sometimes it can slow down the story. As a photographer, I tried to be cognizant of the details or I would end up with a slanted horizon or strange people and objects lurked in the background. So when writing the historical characters, I read as much as I could about how they looked and what their emotional makeup might be. Then when I described them in the story, I tried to capture their essence like a photograph. Early writers seemed to be more descriptive as compared to the modern writers who emphasize story.

MPL: What was the most fun part of this book project for you?

JR: Writing to me is like composing music and when the writing is good, the narrative sings. The whole idea in writing is to make the connection with another human being. And the most satisfying experience of creating “The Rising” continues to be when a reader tells me I really got it. “It was like being in Boston in 1919.”

Put Yourself on the Air!

MicrophoneThis Thursday is your chance to get on the air on Fieldstone Common!

We’ll be celebrating the 1st anniversary of Fieldstone Common and we’d love to have some comments, questions and feedback from the audience.

There are two ways you can send feedback.

1) LEAVE A VOICE MESSAGEspeakpipe

Got to www.FieldstoneCommon.com. On the right hand side of the page you’ll the SEND VOICEMAIL tab. Click that and you’ll be prompted to record a voicemail.

2) SEND AN EMAIL

Send an email to mailbag@FieldstoneCommon.com and let us know what’s on your mind!

What am I going to say?!!

Here are some ideas to get you started:

Have you read a Fieldstone Common book? What did you like about it?

Why do you listen to the show?

Give a shout out – Say/write your name and where you’ve been listening from.

How often you listen to Fieldstone Common?

How do you listen to Fieldstone Common – iTunes, Live, a link from social media?

What was your favorite episode?

How has the show changed your view of history and genealogy?

Have you won a book?  What was that like?

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The emails will be read and the voicemails will be played in between giving out 12 books and the grand prize!

—————————————————————-

The Fieldstone Common audience is so important to making the show a success! Tell us what’s on your mind!

You can also help by spreading the word. Share the www.FieldstoneCommon.com link on your Facebook or Google+ page or on Twitter. Thanks so much for supporting the show!

Show Notes – The 1919 Boston Police Strike

Here are some items that were mentioned during the 22 August 2013 Fieldstone Common interview with author James Redfearn where we discussed the the Boston Police Strike of 1919.

The podcast of the interview is now available.

James Redfearn is the author of the historical novel The Rising at Roxbury Crossing, The Rising at Roxbury Crossing by James Redfearnpublished by Olde Stoney Brook Publishing. It is available for purchase from Amazon.com and other booksellers.

You can learn more about Jim at his website or his Facebook page. He also has a page on Goodreads.com.

During the show we discussed the history of the 1919 strike. While the strike may have been local to Boston, the tensions that led up to it were national. This was a turbulent post-war time that included the rise of the labor movement, the women’s suffrage movement, The Red Scare, high unemployment and soldiers coming home to bleak job prospects.

The Boston Police were working extremely long hours, earning a wage that kept them in poverty, and had an outdated, bug-infested work environment. Add to the mix that much of the police force were Irish Catholics, many of them immigrants. There was great tension James Redfearnbetween them and upper class Boston Brahmin community which wanted to keep them from gaining power.

Jim discussed how he approached researching the historical event and then transformed it into a work of fiction.

Jim donated two copies of The Rising at Roxbury Crossing which were provided as giveaways during the live show to listeners both of whom were from Florida. A big thank you to Jim for his generosity.

Next Week’s Grand Prize!

Kindle PaperwhiteDuring the August 29, 2013 episode we will be celebrating the 1st Anniversary of Fieldstone Common, the internet radio show dedicated to the history and genealogy of the Northeast. Host Marian Pierre-Louis will be giving away lots of books (see all the titles here).

It was announced today that the Grand Prize will be a Kindle Paperwhite.

The Kindle will be given to one of the Fieldstone Common Email List subscribers. In Sign up for the Fieldstone Common Malinling Listorder to qualify to win you must be signed up before Thursday, August 29, 2013 on the Fieldstone Common email list.

 

The 1919 Boston Police Strike with James Redfearn

LIVE: THURSDAY, 22 August 2013 at 1:00pm EDT

This week on Fieldstone Common, Marian Pierre-Louis interviews author James Redfearn James Redfearnabout the 1919 Boston Police Strike.

Leading up to 1919 the Boston Police were working long hours for very little pay. In the post WWI era America was rocked by instability, the growth of the labor and suffrage movement and the Red Scare. The mostly Irish police force was at odds with the Brahmin state leaders. The showdown led to chaos on the streets of Boston and helped pave the way for Calvin Coolidge, then governor of Massachusetts, to the White House.

We’ll talk about how James Redfearn researched the historical event for use in his novel, The Rising and Roxbury Crossing.

James Redfearn, author of the Irish American historical saga, The Rising at Roxbury Crossing, has been an industrial-commercial photographer, a Massachusetts State The Rising at Roxbury Crossing by James RedfearnTrooper and an investigator for a Boston law firm. He graduated from Harvard University with an ALM in Literature and Creative Writing. His stories have been published in the University’s Charles River Review and the New England Writers Network. He was raised in the Mission Hill neighborhood of Boston and now resides with his wife, Gail, west of the city where he enjoys his four children and eight grandchildren.

In 1971, he began a twenty-one year career with the State Police, serving as a patrol officer, criminal investigator and academy instructor. He has lectured on investigative research methods at national Law Enforcement conferences.

Jim has also been an Assistant to the President of a Massachusetts health care system, an investigator for the Boston law firm, Choate, Hall & Stewart and an industrial-commercial photographer for Edgerton, Germeshausen & Grier, a company specializing in nuclear testing, marine studies and high-speed photography.

 

12-Book Giveaway on August 29th!

Anniversary Episode BooksDuring the 1st Anniversary Celebration on August 29th we’ll be giving away 12 books during the one hour episode. Four of the books will be given away to the live audience and eight of the books will go to members of the Fieldstone Common E-Mail list.

You must be signed up for the E-Mail List prior to the episode to qualify to win!

Here are the 12 books we’ll be giving away:

New Englanders in the 1600s by Martin Hollick

The Fairbanks House by Abbot Lowell Cummings

The Legends and Lore of Sleepy Hollow and the Hudson Valley by Jonathan Kruk

When America First Met China by Erica Jay Dolin

Marmee & Louisa by Eve Laplante

The Devil Made Me Do It! by Juliet Haines Mofford

Down East Schooners and Shipmasters by Ingrid Grenon

One Colonial Woman’s World by Michelle Marchetti Coughlin

New England Captives Carried to Canada by Emma Lewis Coleman

For Adam’s Sake by Allegra di Bonaventura

The North End by Alex Goldfeld

Here is Where by Andrew Carroll

Show Notes – Why Baseball Matters with Joanne Hulbert and David Lambert

Joanne Hulbert

Joanne Hulbert

Here are some items that were mentioned during the 15 August 2013 Fieldstone Common interview with Joanne Hulbert and David Allen Lambert on the topic of Why Baseball Matters.

The podcast of the interview is now available.


David Allen Lambert

Silas Simmons

David Allen Lambert

David Lambert

David Allen Lambert discovered that negro league player, Silas Simmons, was still alive in 2005.  Silas was born about 1895. That means that when David discovered him he was 110 years old. David was there at his 111th birthday celebration to present him with a plaque for his contribution to baseball. Simmons died just two weeks later.

Bill Henry

David also talked about his research into the mysterious death announcement of former baseball player, Bill Henry.  David was suspicious that the man who died in Florida was not the same as the baseball player he knew who was living in Texas. It turned out that Bill Henry was alive and well and the man who died in Florida was an imposter who had claimed to be him.  David helped prevent Red Sox Nation from mourning the loss of one of its own that hadn’t actually died.

Joanne Hulbert

Joanne talked about how baseball language has worked its way into every day American life such as in phrases like “out in left field.”

Joanne lives in Mudville in Massachusetts which is also the location for the poem Casey at the Bat by Ernest Thayer. She is also a member of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) and is the co-chair for the Baseball and the Arts Committee. In that capacity she researches poems about baseball and makes them available to SABR members.

Joanne has written an article on the Medway Unions vs. the Upton Excelsiors early baseball game which is the 2nd longest game in baseball history. It was played by the Massachusetts game rules which are different than the current MLB rules which on based on the New York game. Joanne’s article is featured in a book called Inventing Baseball: The 100 Greatest Games of the 19th Century (SABR, 2013). She has also written numerous biographies about baseball players, her favorite being of Red Sox player, Billy Consolo.

1st Anniversary Celebration balloons

On August 29th Fieldstone Common will have a 1st anniversary celebration and give away 12 books during that one hour episode. Make sure you are on the Fieldstone Common mailing list to qualify for as many of the books as possible.