Wife and collaborator of Roots author to release her own historical epic
In her debut novel, My Haley fulfills a 20-year ambition to write about a Civil War-era African-American woman from the South who commits espionage. In her soon-to-be-released Treason of Mary Louvestre, Haley provides a historically-based portrait of a Norfolk, Virginia slave who steals blueprints for the Confederate ironclad and then treks nearly 200 miles through ice and snow to hand them over to the U.S. Secretary of the Navy, Gideon Welles.
Haley spent 10 years researching and writing this compelling work of fiction, using Louvestre and her journey as a basis for her characters. The book provides a beautifully written, but gritty portrait of the complex, sometimes romantic, sometimes hostile relationships with Southern whites and blacks.
“Signing My Haley was huge for us,” says Köehler Books founder and publisher John Koehler. “The Haley name recognition alone is gigantic, but we really feel that this book will stand alone and position My as her own force, a big league, bestselling author.”
Historians and others have already acclaimed Treason an intelligent and compelling treatment of a conflicted period in American history. It will be the first published book in a series planned by My Haley, the widow of Alex Haley and a collaborator on his 20th Century American classic, Roots.
My Haley saw in Mary Louvestre an opportunity to write about a class of slaves and free blacks who often lived among white and were skilled trades people. In the book, Mary is a gifted seamstress living in Norfolk, Virginia who was celebrated for her high-fashion clothes. She, like others in the novel, is of mixed-race and widely admired by both blacks and whites.
“The elements of intelligence and espionage; the drama of that, the mystery of that, really appealed to me,” Haley says.
Haley wanted to write a book that shows a less-often told story about the tapestry of Civil War times – the contributions of African-American heroes during that war. She sees it as a human story that people of all backgrounds can identify with anywhere.
“Treason” is scheduled for release by Köehler Books in December of 2012. The book will be available in pre-release for print and ebooks Summer of 2012.