I went through a period in my life when I wanted to be famous; to be precise I wanted to be a famous writer. I wanted to be interviewed on the Tonight Show and be invited to speak at conferences. I wanted to be talked about as someone who had achieved great things. Well, with time and effort I did eventually achieve a certain amount of limited name recognition as an up and coming playwright and that was when I made the disappointing discovery that whatever fame we achieve is never enough because fame is a moveable target. There will always be someone who is more famous than you are and there will always be a new hill to climb.
This is the problem encountered by Evangeline Murray, the heroine of my new book Whirlpool. The year is 1923 and the world has gone crazy. Lured by the opportunity of achieving fame, fortune, and maybe a Hollywood career, Evangeline agrees to risk everything, even her own life, by going over Niagara Falls in a barrel. Everything she thinks she wants can be achieved if she will just allow herself to be nailed down into the barrel, and towed to the brink of the Falls. Characters in novels sometimes write their own story and the writer loses control of them. As I was writing Evangeline’s story I kept asking her “Will fame be enough for you; will fame make you happy?” It took her six years and twenty chapters to answer me.
Whirlpool by Eileen Hodgetts
Virtual Book Tour September 4 - November 30, 2012
The year is 1923 and the jazz age is in full swing. Evangeline Murray, a young widow from Ohio, is recruited by the Women's Freedom Movement to represent the spirit of modern womanhood by going over Niagara Falls in a barrel. Evangeline eagerly embraces her opportunity to achieve fame and fortune, until she sees the power of the River and begins to understand the risk she is taking. Joshua McClaren, an enigmatic battle-scarred veteran of World War I, and the best boatman on the river, reluctantly agrees to launch the headstrong Evangeline. Joshua has seen hundreds of bodies surface in the Whirlpool below the Falls, and has faced death on the battlefields of Flanders and has no respect for the charming, impetuous Mrs. Murray, and her desire for fame. Before the barrel can be launched, each of them will have to face their own demons, painful secrets will be revealed and the Niagara Rivers will claim two more lives. Inspired by true stories of the Falls, Whirlpool is a romance, an adventure, and the closest that most of us will ever come to taking the fateful plunge over the Falls.Whirlpool is a fiction that is based on reality. Seven people have tried to ride over Niagara Falls in a barrel. Four have succeeded and three have died. The first person to make the attempt was Annie Taylor, a middle aged school teacher from Michigan who made a successful journey in 1901. Barrel riding at Niagara Falls is now forbidden by law, but at the beginning of the 20th century Niagara was a haven for daredevils of all types, and many of their exploits are included in the novel.
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