Meet Spooky History Author Xina Marie Uhl #authorinterview

Spooky Topics

Please join me in welcoming historical author Xina Marie Uhl to the Reading Room today.

Author Xina Marie UhlThanks for joining us today, Xina. Tell us a little about yourself. What do you do for a living?

I write full time: part of the time I write fiction and part of the time I write nonfiction educational books for young people, though Covid-19 has disrupted the nonfiction work for now. Writing is something I do about 6 days of the week, and it occupies an important part in my day. Some days it is harder than others to actually accomplish, though.

What’s your home life like?

Pretty quiet these days. There’s just my husband and me, three dogs, and one 21-year old cat. I’ve worked from home for 13 years now and it is so nice, though it does have its challenges, like anything.

What are your hobbies?

Hiking, travel, research, photography, and mosaics. Of these, hiking is the one I spend most of my time doing. I find it restorative to be alone in the quiet with just my dog for company.

What’s a dream you have? How are you working toward this dream?

I want to see one of my stories as a video. Along with the help of some talented people, I’m working at filming a short script I wrote. It’s exciting but also somewhat scary since I’ve never done such a thing before. I have a few scripts laying about here and it would be so fun to bring them to life.

What historical period is your favorite? Why?

It’s hard to pick just one. My original favorites are the Ancient Mediterranean and the Ancient Near East. The sweep of history involved so many fascinating expressions of human societies. The Assyrians brought the heavy foot of conquest down on their enemies, and created fantastical art while doing it, the Greeks debated and discovered many philosophical and scientific methods; their development of drama and comedy affects us today, and the Romans evolved from stoic and practical farmers to builders of roads, bridges, and aqueducts that remain today. I could go on and on.

What subjects do you like to give historical talks about? Why?

I’ve taught World History and California History in addition to writing about various time periods such as the Ancient Mediterranean, the Old West, and Antarctica and the Arctic from the late 1800s through the early 1900s, so I’m game to talk about just about anything, though favorite subjects include women, explorers, Alexander the Great, and the artistic and scientific achievements of the ancient world.

Necropolis cover

Necropolis cover

Xina’s novel Necropolis is a fantasy greatly influenced by ancient history.

When prison guard Conyr rescues a young priest from execution, he sets off a dangerous adventure that brings allies in a scheming politician, a mischievous urchin, and a beautiful tavern server. Together, the group must navigate a maze of power-hungry rivals, skilled assassins, and deadly sorcery. For the young priest’s lost memory holds the key to more than his past, but the fate of two cities.

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How to find Xina online:

Amazon Author Page:

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And please join us for Spooky History on Monday, October 19, 2020 at 6:30 p.m. (PT) The Zoom meeting is sponsored by the Santa Clarita Library in their series of History Talks held monthly on various historical topics.

Click here to register:

Hope to see you there.

Linda McLaughlin

Book Review Club: The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek #review

Book Woman of Troublesome Creek coverThe Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
by Kim Michele Richardson
Historical Fiction

I was interested in reading this book because the backdrop is the Depression-era attempt to bring books to people in the back woods of Kentucky, a program I’d not been aware of before. Apparently, Eleanor Roosevelt was the driving force behind the Kentucky Pack Horse program. Big city libraries donated excess books and shipped them to Kentucky. Local women were hired, all unmarried, to distribute books to the hill people. Because of the lack of roads, the book women rode horses or mules with panniers filled with books over difficult mountain trails. (They were the first mobile librarians!) What a fascinating piece of little known women’s history. (There was another novel about this published last year called Giver of Stars by JoJo Moyes. I wasn’t able to check that one out due to a very long reserve list.) The list wasn’t as long on this book, and I was able to borrow the ebook from the local library.

Richardson combines the book woman history with the story of the Blue People of Kentucky, something else I knew nothing about. Apparently a man named Fugate with blue skin arrived in the area from France in the late 1700’s and married a woman with white skin. Four of their seven children were also blue. Scientists now know that the condition, inherited methemoglobinemia, is caused by a rare gene combination. Apparently Mrs. Fugate carried a recessive gene for the condition. The Blues were considered Colored People and were treated little or no better than African Americans. You can learn more at this YouTube video.

The protagonist is Cussy Mary Carter, a blue woman. In her travels, she faces ignorance and danger from some, but wins others over with her book deliveries. The local doctor wants to study her in hopes of curing her. The preacher wants to drive the devil out of her. And one of her patrons actually thinks she’s pretty. Her journey shows us the best and worst of human nature, but in the end, she’s in a far better place than at the beginning.

I loved this book; I’m so glad I read it. Beautifully written, Richardson’s love and knowledge of Appalachia shines through, as does her love of books. I recommend the book for anyone who loves books and libraries!


As always, click on the link below for more great reviews in Barrie Summy’s Book Review Club!

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@Barrie Summy