Thursday, June 10, 2021

Virtual Book Tour: A Season of Whispers by Jackson Kuhl @jacksonkuhl @RABTBookTours


Gothic Mystery/Horror

Publisher: Aurelia Leo

Date Published: 08-10-2020 / 

Audibook Launch April/May 2021


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In the summer of 1844, Tom Lyman flees to Bonaventure, a transcendentalist farming cooperative tucked away in eastern Connecticut, to hide from his past. There Lyman must adjust to a new life among idealists, under the fatherly eye of the group’s founder, David Grosvenor. When he isn’t ducking work or the questions of the eccentric residents, Lyman occupies himself by courting Grosvenor’s daughter Minerva.

But Bonaventure isn’t as utopian as it seems. One by one, Lyman’s secrets begin to catch up with him, and Bonaventure has a few secrets of its own. Why did the farm have an ominous reputation long before Grosvenor bought it? What caused the previous tenants to vanish? And who is playing the violin in the basement? Time is running out, and Lyman must discover the truth before he’s driven mad by the whispering through the walls.

A Season of Whispers is Jackson Kuhl's debut novel of Gothic mystery, transcendentalist utopianism, and antediluvian hunger.

 


Interview with Jackson Kuhl

For those interested in exploring the subject or theme of your book, where should they start?

A Season of Whispers is set in a fictional transcendentalist community loosely based on the real-life communities of Brook Farm and Fruitlands in Massachusetts. Who were the transcendentalists? They were a sort of intellectual salon scattered around the Boston area in the 1820s through the 1840s who believed God could be best understood through his greatest creation, namely nature and the environment. As a result they rejected urban living and industrialization in favor of a highly-idealized back-to-nature agrarianism. They also strongly believed in an individual’s sense of intuition, and therefore were very much romanticists.

Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay “Nature” and Henry David Thoreau’s “Walking” are good introductions to transcendentalism.


How did you become involved with the subject or theme of your book?

I have a deep interest in utopian communities, which are planned settlements built around an ideology or philosophy rather than for practical or commercial reasons. When I travel I’ll often make detours to sites of former utopias (or at least I did before covid). I thought a transcendentalist utopia would make a great setting for a gothic story because of the movement’s romantic roots.


What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?

I don’t wholeheartedly agree with the transcendentalists but there’s something to be said for intuition. Often the experiences we have are incommunicable to others because they refuse to believe them and in those moments of loneliness intuition is all we have. I think that comes across in the text.


Anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?

A Season of Whispers is available in paperback and e-book at your favorite book retailer. An audiobook edition is forthcoming very soon.


What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

The language — writing its metaphors and rich verbiage in imitation of Hawthorne and Melville.


Can you tell us a little bit about your next books or what you have planned for the future?

I’m shopping a gothic mystery set in 1898 in which a down-on-his-luck sailor visits his mother’s family, most of whom he’s never met, on their private island. His cousin committed suicide, or maybe was murdered, but either way it drove his aunt crazy. Also, the island is haunted.

My current WIP is also historical but set a little more recently. It’s a lot of fun to write because the context and trends are things I experienced firsthand — but on the other hand, it’s historical. Oof.


How long have you been writing?

Since I was a kid. After college I worked in publishing, first in print, then online, freelancing on the side. Eventually that segued into journalism. When my oldest son was born I really leaned into freelancing and that eventually resulted in my first book, a historical biography called Samuel Smedley, Connecticut Privateer.


Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in A Season of Whispers?

Tom Lyman is a new subscriber to Bonaventure, a transcendentalist cooperative farm in eastern Connecticut, although it’s apparent early on that he may have ulterior motives for joining. He’s also very much naïve to transcendentalism and much of his education involves him trying to pinpoint what exactly it is as he interacts with his eccentric coworkers. Lyman is immediately enamored by Minerva Grosvenor, the free-spirited daughter of the farm’s founder, and the story proceeds from there. Also, the farm is haunted.

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Jackson Kuhl is the author of the Gothic novel A Season of Whispers and the Revolutionary War biography Samuel Smedley, Connecticut Privateer. Kuhl has written for Atlas Obscura, Connecticut Magazine, the Hartford Courant, National Geographic News, and other publications. He lives in coastal Connecticut.


About the Author

 Jackson Kuhl is the author of the Gothic novel A Season of Whispers and the Revolutionary War biography Samuel Smedley, Connecticut Privateer. Kuhl has written for Atlas Obscura, Connecticut Magazine, the Hartford Courant, National Geographic News, and other publications. He lives in coastal Connecticut.

 


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