In 2014, for our 40th anniversary The Captain and I celebrated by going to Hawaii. We spent a week of luxury on Maui, but first stayed a few days in Honolulu on the island of Oahu so we could tour Pearl Harbor. Both my dad and uncle served in the military during WW II, and it was important for us to see up close and personal this important part of our country’s history.
It’s said that when you stand on the USSBattleshipMissouri today, and look across to the USSArizonaMemorial, you are experiencing the beginning and the end of WW II. It all happened before I was born, yet as you look down into the Arizona Memorial, and smell the oil that still leaks, your heart is right there with the men whose lives were taken.
My uncle, LT. JG Jack Reichart of the US Navy, was on the Might Mo when the peace treaty was signed, and it was an honor that he wore proudly. A documentary was made about his life, outlining his career on the brand new USSBattleshipMissouri, through the peace treaty signing on September 2, 1945.
My dad was in ROTC at Purdue University, and entered the army after graduation in 1938. Soon afterwards WW II began. The picture below was taken in 1945 and the words are his.
I’m so proud of my heritage, and the men in my family, from my grandfather to my brother, who fought for this country. Do I love everything that our government says or does? No, but the great part about being a citizen of the USA is that I’m allowed to express those feelings.
I love my country and I appreciate every man and woman who has served to keep my family safe. It’s a few days late, I know, but Thank you for your service, whether you peeled potatoes in Korea like my father-in-law did, or were a Green Beret and badass marine.
Three years ago when I attended my first Florida Authors and Publishers Conference I met Kathryn Knight. She immediately became my mentor and my friend, and I’m so honored to have her in my life. She’s a National Award Winning Author and genealogist, and I’m thrilled that during this busy week, and the release of Unveiled, she agreed to this interview.
Unveiled–TheTwenty&Odd: Documenting the First Africans in England’s America 1619-1625 and Beyond released on May 18. What was your driving force for writing this book?
I’m a truth-seeker. The truth is important, especially when it reveals a different narrative than we teach students in our classrooms.
2. Genealogy is your passion. How did you get started, and where does your love of the past come from?
When I was a little girl, my great-grandmother passed the torch to me and I was groomed to be the keeper of the ancestors. At 3 years old I picnicked in the local/family cemetery 2-3 times a week learning to recite stories about each person who lay there. Stories I still remember today.
3. How did you begin your research?
My research began in 2006 putting together a family tree for my father-in-law as a Christmas gift. He knew very little about his ancestry yet, was inquisitive about a woman he remembered when as a child he visited his grandmother. She had dark features and knew only her last name. It became my quest to find this long-lost cousin.
4. Tell us a little about your historical fiction series, Fate & Freedom? Which by the way I have read and loved.
My historical series Fate & Freedom tells the story of two of the first Africans to arrive in the English settlement of Virginia in 1619. The storyline follows them from 1619 until they fall from the historic records sixty-plus years later. It takes the reader to another time where the struggle to live in the wilds of Virginia was real, a journey of perseverance and eventual prosperity.
5. The character Margaret in the Fate&Freedom Series is extremely authentic. Does her character represent a real person?
Yes, all the character’s names, places, and events in the series are factual. As a genealogist, the authenticity of the story was very important. Next year, the Fate & Freedom Research Companion will be released with all the information reference information I used to retrace their footsteps.
6. You have become one of the foremost authorities on the subject of “the truth” behind Africans coming to America. Tell us about what you’re doing to spread the word, other than through your books?
There are lots of events happening this year to commemorate the 400th Anniversary of the arrival of the first Africans in English America in 1619. On June 1st, as a historian for Project 1619 and the Afro American Historical and Genealogical Society, I will be taping a documentary which will be used in several future formats to make sure the truth is revealed. In addition, this summer will be quite eventful, as I will speaking to many associations, societies, and Universities across the nation spreading the truth.
7. Do you have a new book or project in the works?
Yes, I am expanding my current research into DEOXYRIBONUCLEIC ACID, otherwise known as DNA and of course, writing about my research findings to identify my subjects in the aforementioned books with DNA from current day descendants.
8. Where can your books be purchased?
You can purchase any of my books online from either the publishing website at www.firstfreedompublishing.com, amazon, or barnesandnoble.com. If you order from the publisher you can request a signed copy!
9. Is there one question that you’re asked the most about your research, and what you’ve discovered?
I’m frequently asked, “How did I find the information when no one else has?” My answer – through what I call “cluster-genealogy” I was able to put the pieces of the puzzle back together. There was no one single avenue which told the story. It had to be compiled through a multitude of genealogies with a tid-bit here and a tid-bit there taking me more than 20,000 hours over a 13-year period. You could say it became somewhat of an addiction. Not uncommon throughout the genealogy world.
10. What is it you want Readers to come away with after reading your book?
The truth! There are many versions of the truth in this history. There are the half-truths –always two sides to each story. Twisted truths – veiling the circumstances, yet not an outright untruth. And then there is the entire truth. Four-hundred years ago a veil was laid upon the first Africans. Now, a new light shines upon them, unveiling their true circumstances, finally allowing them to now take their true place in history.
I’ve got to be honest, I love Charlotte Luce. After writing about her for over three years, and planning her story for two years before that, she’s like a part of my family. That’s why the release of TheGreysons is bittersweet.
Five years ago an idea for a book started to form in my head and it wouldn’t let go. I named my main characters, wrote scenes in my head, and brought Charlotte Luce to life. She’s a part of my heart and I like to say she’s me with “upgrades”!
But now her story is coming to an end, and even though I’m very excited about TheGreysons release, I’m a little sad as well. I love this book, and the way it comes full circle from LottieLoser, and I hope that you will, too. I’ve already received so many emails and posts from readers on Social Media sites letting me know their book arrived, and they’re anxious to start reading, and that means everything to me.
Here are some pictures from the past three years and the evolution of The AMI Series. Thank you for being a part of my journey.🥂
Next week K.I. Knight, Author of the Fate & Freedom Series will be our guest. Her just released new book Unveiled–TheTwenty & Odd: Documenting the First Africans in England’s America 1619-1625 and Beyond was a best seller before the book even released online. You won’t want to miss her compelling story.
I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on The Greysons!
Now that my girls are grown and gone Mother’s Day is more about celebrating them than it is me. I’ve had some great Mother’s Days, and some that didn’t turn out quite as I had hoped, but isn’t that how every day is? There are few days in life that turn out exactly as you expect them to, but that’s all part of the journey.
For me the journey was to be a wife and mother and live in a vine covered cottage with a white picket fence. That was probably the dream of all little girls born in the 1950’s, but for me it was even more of an objective. You see my mom died on October 14, 1956 when I was 5 years old, and growing up I was sure I could recapture the feeling of love that only a mother can give, if I just had kids of my own.
I’ve been blessed with three beautiful, amazing daughters, but I’m sure they’ll tell you I wasn’t always in the running for Mom of the Year. Yet I must have done something right for all three of them to have turned out so well. Which is why Mother’s Day for me is about honoring them, and the many accomplishments of their lives.
I’ve had a wonderful stepmom since I was seventeen, and it’s because of her that I’m the strong, confident woman that I am today. But I can’t help but wonder what my life would be like if my own mother had lived. It would probably be different, but there’s no way it could be better. Now I write about life, love and family. All the things I ever wanted and exactly what I’ve received.
Below are some pictures that were sent to me by my aunt, my mother’s last living relative. It’s a little hard to see my mom in pictures with me because she looks so healthy and vibrant. Unfortunately, it wasn’t much before a very fast moving sickness took her away.
(In the picture of my mom’s bridge club, she’s in the back left corner in a white blouse. In the family picture she’s standing behind my brother, Tom. )
There is also a picture of me as a baby, sitting on my grandmother’s lap, and my senior picture from high school, and one of me at about twenty. What do you think, have I changed much?
Happy Mother’s Day to my wonderful girls, and to all the women in the world who make life so special for the rest of us.
Highlighting author friends is one of my favorite privileges. Aimee Brown, no relation, is the writer of sweet and funny romance, and I know you will enjoy getting to know her.
About the book
Can you truly forgive and forget? Ambri and Henry have been best friends forever. They’ve been through the highs and lows of life with each other by their sides. The worst? When Henry’s wife, and Ambri’s sister, died. Together, they can face it all. Until one night destroys everything. Two years after he stepped out of it Henry walks back into Ambri’s life and she’s more than a little shocked. But as old friends fall into even older habits they need to decide whether they can forget the past and embrace their future. Perfect for fans of Nicholas Sparks, Jodi Picoult and Anna Bell.
About the author
Aimee Brown is a writer of romantic comedies set in Portland, Oregon, and an avid reader. She spends much of her time writing, raising three teenagers, binge-watching shows on Netflix and obsessively cleaning and redecorating her house. She’s fluent in sarcasm and has been known to utter profanities like she’s competing for a medal. Aimee grew up in Oregon, but is now a transplant living in cold Montana with her husband of twenty years, three teenage children, and far too many pets. She is a lot older than she looks and yes, that is a tattoo across her chest. (In the Portlandia spirit, yes, I lived many years in PDX and I do indeed have a bird tattooed on me (2!)) Aimee is very active on social media. You can find her at any of the networks below. Stop by and say hello!
Until we read again…📚
Don’t forget about the virtual release of The Greysons May 16 at 7:00pm on Facebook. The link is below: