A Novel of the Civil War and the Most Famous Female Militia in American History
Sherman’s Yankees are closing in.
Will the women of LaGrange run or fight?
Based on the true story of the celebrated Nancy Hart Rifles, The Cotillion Brigade is an epic novel of the Civil War’s ravages on family and love, the resilient bonds of sisterhood in devastation, and the miracle of reconciliation between bitter enemies.
1856. Sixteen-year-old Nannie Colquitt Hill makes her debut in the antebellum society of the Chattahoochee River plantations. A thousand miles north, a Wisconsin farm boy, Hugh LaGrange, joins an Abolitionist crusade to ban slavery in Bleeding Kansas.
Five years later, secession and war against the homefront hurl them toward a confrontation unrivaled in American history.
When and where do you prefer to write?
My routine is to write in the morning and edit in the afternoon. I have a wide computer monitor on my desk, which allows me to see the manuscript and my research, side by side. There are also sky windows in my ceiling, so I benefit from the natural light, which helps for weary eyes.
Do you need peace and quiet when you are writing?
It varies. Sometimes complete silence is best, but I’ve also written with era-appropriate music on in the background for inspiration. I also find changing locations helps spark inspiration. I have a favorite café where I can huddle with my laptop, and the waiters keep my iced tea flowing. Oddly enough, I find the ambient restaurant noise enhances the creative process.
If you had the chance to co-write a book. Whom would it be with?
Tough decision, with so many great historical novelists around. But I’d probably choose legal-thriller author John Grisham. Like him, I’m a recovering trial lawyer, and I’ve been impressed with his television interviews. He seems like a guy who could tell some great Southern courthouse stories over a couple of beers.
Say someone asks if they can use your name in a book. Would you rather be the ‘good one’ or the ‘bad one’?
It has already happened. Fellow HF author Paul Bennett named one of his American Revolutionary characters after me. The guy seemed like a stand-up soldier, so I was honored.
Who would you like/have liked to interview?
Nigel Tranter, the late Scottish historical novelist. I wrote a novel set during Scotland’s wars for independence during the reign of Robert the Bruce. I would loved to have traded ideas and research with Tranter about that period.
Where can I find you when you are reading?
Until the COVID pandemic, I would spend hours in the University Research Library at UCLA here in Los Angeles. Now, it’s usually in my lounger at home.
Where can I find you when you are not writing/reading?
Golfing, hiking, or traveling. I love to visit the sites and countries I write about.
What goes through your mind when you hold your new book in your hands for the first time?
Thrilled, followed by a sense of relief and wonder at how the book ever managed to be born. Then, it’s back to rolling the stone up the hill again.
How do you come up with a title for your book?
It’s a mysterious process. Usually, the title bubbles up from the subconcious. Then, I run it by trusted friends to get their reaction. I’m always looking for that sweet spot between poetic cadence, marketability, and clarity.
How do you pick a cover for your book?
The process varies with every book. Sometimes, I get an image in my mind’s eye early on; other times I’ll rely upon my designer for input. I do have an aversion to headless characters on covers. I understand the desire to allow the reader to form his or her own visual of the protagonist, but I think the trope has been overdone.
Thank you, Glen Craney and The Coffee Pot Book Club
About the Author
A graduate of Indiana University School of Law and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, Glen Craney practiced trial law before joining the Washington, D.C. press corps to write about national politics and the Iran-contra trial for Congressional Quarterly magazine. In 1996, the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences awarded him the Nicholl Fellowship prize for best new screenwriting. His debut historical novel, The Fire and the Light, was named Best New Fiction by the National Indie Excellence Awards. He is a three-time Finalist/Honorable Mention winner of Foreword Magazine’s Book-of-the-Year and a Chaucer Award winner for Historical Fiction. His books have taken readers to Occitania during the Albigensian Crusade, the Scotland of Robert Bruce, Portugal during the Age of Discovery, the trenches of France during World War I, the battlefields of the Civil War, and the American Hoovervilles of the Great Depression. He lives in Malibu, California.
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Glen-Craney/e/B002C1VQZ8