Hello and welcome. Please join me in extending a warm welcome to Georgiann Baldino, speaker and author.
Georgiann Baldino loves to explore the ways great events affect real people. Her published works span a number categories, including suspense, historical fiction and a travelogue. Her excuses for following diverse subjects are: people captivate her, and she follows their struggles regardless of genre. When not writing, she volunteers at a cancer center and for a woman’s club. Her hobbies are gardening and yoga. She and her husband live in the western suburbs of Chicago near their extended family.
Candidate Lincoln, a novel, is a biographical work. The characters are real but, of course, some of the dialogues are fictional. Georgiann Baldino describes it as a real-life David vs. Goliath story, one in which David loses. It’s an intriguing bite of a piece of the US history.
Description: By today’s standards Abraham Lincoln was an unlikely politician, and yet his candidacy for the U.S. Senate redefined America’s democracy.
Praise for Candidate Lincoln, a novel:
“Wonderfully well-written and entertaining” – Joseph A. Truglio, Civil War News, says. “I loved it. Get yourself a copy and join in the fun.” To read the review in full, please click this link.
“A large proportion of the audience got up to go away.
The chairman rushed forward. “Friends, please. Remain and hear the address of Abraham Lincoln.”
Lincoln strode forward, awkward in his steps, gangly in appearance. His ill-fitting dress and strange manner provoked audible laughter. The crowd remained standing as though undecided as whether to stay or go.
Mr. Lincoln got underway haltingly but increased in confidence as he spoke. People eased forward. Gradually they sat down. Before he got long into his message, the crowd grew still as could be. Ones, who had scoffed, now nodded. … Syllables of Lincoln’s high, staccato voice carried through the grove.
“As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy,” Lincoln said. “Whatever differs from this, to the extent of the difference, is no democracy.”
10 Quick-fire Questions with Georgiann Baldino
1) Best age to live your life is: this century or another?
I find myself “living” in both this century and the nineteenth. Right now is a greater time for me as a writer because of access to social media and self-publishing. I’ll give just one example: A literary journal published my second short story in 2003 and paid me $10. That might have been the end of it. However, in 2010 I released “Hostage” again as an ebook. Readers all over the world now have access, and the story sells in Australia, Europe and Canada as well as the U.S., receiving four-star reviews.
When I write historical fiction or history, I also live in the past. The way the American Civil War forced individuals to face great events fascinates me. Putting a human face on history has become my focus. The limitations of nineteenth century society adds conflict and develops story lines. Then digitized texts of the period give me direct access to what people experienced. It’s a great time to live in two centuries.
2) Most interesting personality you’d love to meet?
Myra Bradwell, America’s “first” female lawyer. She was a proper Victorian lady, who stepped out of her comfort zone, passed the Bar exam with honors, but was denied a license to practice law. She took her case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, but the justices ruled against her. In response, she didn’t wait for permission. Myra went ahead and published a legal newspaper. She became so influential that lawyers and justices relied on her to clarify and publish rulings. She made herself indispensable to the very people who wanted to keep her out of the courtroom.
3) What would you ask him/her?
Myra, how did you face continual opposition and still respond with humor and grace? (I suspect she focused on making society better for everyone.)
4) If you were transported back in time to the days of the Civil War, what would you do?
I’d like to think I would take up the cause of freedom for enslaved people. The courage to do that was rare in those times, however. It was a very dark period when hope was in short supply. Shelby Foote, the historian and author who wrote about it eloquently, said, “American history is amazing in its combination of glory and shame.” From the vantage point of the twenty-first century we can see the destructive power of hatred and bigotry. Your question poses a time-travel dilemma. If I knew then, what I know now…I would want to help slaves escape to freedom.
5) Would you change history, if you had the means and opportunity to do so?
We change history by the choices we make and causes we support. Civil War soldiers realized they were making history, so they kept journals and wrote letters. They wanted to understand their contributions to the great battles and pinpoint the time and place they served. I have come to understand that history is what we make of it. Our choices matter. How future generations interpret it is out of our control, but we can give them raw material for a great story.
6) What is the one question you absolutely need an answer for?
I need to follow ideas wherever they lead. So the question I absolutely need to ask (and answer for myself) is: ‘What did I learn, and how can I do better the next time?’
7) Which of the events in your lifetime you feel has affected real people most?
So many to choose from. My gut reaction is to pick the Women’s Movement and similar struggles for equal rights. I think diversity is the best hope for the world, and women taking positions of responsibility represents progress. I mean women of all races and sexual orientations, and notice that I did not say ‘positions of power’ but responsibility.
8) If you could influence today’s events, would you?
Everyone has influence. Even me. The scope of my influence is the way I treat my neighbors, raise my family and get involved in community. Would I influence world events? Yes. Can I? Yes. Would I step onto the world stage? Yes. I was fortunate to hear Joyce Carol Oates speak at a literary event. She said she could never predict which young writers in her classes would become popular or successful. To her, many people with talent never receive the opportunities to make it big in publishing. However, she did advise writers to prepare well. We must learn our craft and perform it well; preparation is what we have to offer.
9) Worst human trait and would you wipe it out if you could?
Avarice. How many pairs of shoes does a person need? Isn’t it better to give the money for this year’s latest fad to a community pantry to feed the hungry? (I’m not a fan of platform shoes anyway.)
10) Which major event of the last twelve months would be worth immortalizing in a book for future generations, and would you do it?
The influential story for me this year was the devastation from hurricane Sandy. The super storm provided life and death drama as well as heroes to admire. The aftermath is still heartbreaking for the people who live it. Will I add this to the list of stories to write? No. The list of ambitious projects is already longer than I can complete in a lifetime.