Sunday, September 23, 2012
Januarius MacGahan/Ben Connolly
After more than 30 years of trying, I finally got my Januarius MacGahan/Paris Commune book finished and available to readers. The title is now Ben Connolly in the Paris Commune. Ben Connolly is available on Kindle and Amazon. You can download it free on a Kindle on Oct. 5 and 6, 2012. MacGahan was an incredibly gifted writer and reporter, whose reports on the Turkish atrocities in Bulgaria in the late 1870s is credited with drawing Russia into a war with Turkey while keeping the British neutral resulting in winning Bulgaria’s independence from the Ottoman Empire. After my first book, America for Sale, was published I was torn between writing a biography of MacGahan or of Libya’s dictator, Muammar Gaddafi. I decided I would do MacGahan first and then turn to Gaddafi. I never got around to Gaddafi, and as I said, the MacGahan venture took me 30 plus years until I came up with a finished product. In 1978, I went on a pilgrimage to New Lexington, Ohio, MacGahan's home town, as a symbolic gesture as I began my research for his biography. I was surprised to find people from all over the world and the U.S. there to celebrate MacGahan’s accomplishments and to observe the hundredth anniversary of his death. I was dismayed to discover another an American had just finished writing a biography of MacGahan (although it took ten years to appear in print) and a Bulgarian was trying to find a U.S. outlet for his biography of MacGahan. As a result, I decided to write a novel about MacGahan. I won’t torture you with the setbacks I had in writing, researching and trying to get my MacGahan novel published. Realizing that using the real MacGahan as my protagonist, I was seriously limiting my freedom as a story teller. Finally, I decided to solve the stricture problem by creating a character based on MacGahan at the Paris Commune while drawing many details from his newspaper stories in the New York Herald. The end result is Ben Connolly in the Paris Commune.