Luke Blackmon's Rose
Luke Blackmon's Rose
by Mary Patterson Thornburg
GENRE: Adult Romance (w/science-fantasy)
To guard herself from the perils of her own sensuality, Rose married a man she didn’t love. Now, two years after his death, she’s not sure she can really love anyone. She’s not even sure she cares…
To achieve what he’d always known was his birthright, Luke had to struggle against tremendous odds. But when science discovered a way to access the past, a powerful bureaucracy found a way to use Luke. Now, torn from his own time, everything and everyone he knew, he can see no reason to go on living…
An instant of attraction, uninvited but inescapable, brings Luke and Rose together. Together, they discover the strength to love, the will to trust and hope. But will these things be enough to carry them over walls of suspicion, guilt, bigotry, and hate?
In 1930, he told her, he'd been in the midst of rehearsing a play in New York City. The play's title, Dark Fancy, rang no bells for Rose. "Well," Luke said, "it had a couple of wealthy backers, but the script was awkward. And the play wasn't a good fit for the time. People were beginning to want something light, given the look of things. A lot of folks had money troubles that year. Maybe the play didn't even open. They'd have had to find a new second lead, anyway... Or..." He frowned. "Or not, maybe. I don't know."
"You were the second lead?" she asked gently.
"Yes. Character called Tommy Carleton. His best friend was a man he'd known in college, a teammate, a white man, played by Roland Arnett… The actress playing the girl was colored, of course—quite light, but unmistakable. This was necessary, and that meant the Arnett character's blindness was also necessary." He laughed without much amusement.
"Oh, Luke. I'm sorry, but the whole play sounds terrible," Rose said. "Melodramatic, big problems with logic, and a bad script on top of that? I'll bet it didn't open. I'll look it up."
"I've described it... Not badly. Unfairly, perhaps. There was more to it, more to the Arnett role, and Arnett is—was—great. Deservedly famous. And problems with logic? Of course, but quite realistic, weren't they? The subject of race in this country is riddled with logical fallacies, always has been. Anyway, the play was exciting and controversial. Daring. Two years earlier and it would've packed them in. Even now—I mean in 1930—it would have had a decent run. If it opened.”
About the Author:
Mary Patterson Thornburg has lived in California, Washington State, Montana, Indiana, and again, finally, in Montana. She was educated at Holy Names College, Montana State University, and Ball State University, where she then taught for many years. She's been reading science fiction and fantasy since she was five, and when she began to write fiction it seemed only natural to write in those genres. Her literary heroes are Mary Shelley, who gave us all a metaphor for technology alienated from its creators, and Ursula K. Le Guin and Octavia E. Butler, inventors of worlds that shine their powerful searchlights on this one. She writes what some people call “science fantasy” (aka “fake science fiction) within as wide a range as possible, but almost always with a bit (or a lot) of romance.
Q&A With the Author
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
This one was different from anything else I’ve ever written. From the start, although I wasn’t sure where it was going, the story seemed alive to me, and it carried me along. Sometimes I wondered if it was going to lead me into some kind of writing disaster, but I never stopped feeling that I should trust it, so I trusted it. That has never happened to me before, and it was a bit scary – but also very exciting.
Do you have any other books you are working on that you can tell us about?
Yes, I have two other books, both of them sequels to my two previous novels, which I’ve been working on (well, off and on...) for years. I like them both, but with each of them I’ve painted myself into a plot corner. This is maddening, because plotting is my downfall, but even though I know this, in both cases I chose to introduce elements of mystery into the story. And mystery requires clean plotting, I think. Anyway, cleaner plotting than I’ve done in these two unfinished manuscripts!
Can you tell us what you have planned for the future?
I’m really thinking hard about a sequel to Luke Blackmon’s Rose. I love these characters, and I don’t feel ready to leave them all behind just yet.
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing since I was a child. Not writing fiction, not writing especially well, but writing in my own language, English. Except for a couple of stories in college writing classes, I didn’t start writing fiction until about twenty years ago, and I won’t say I’ve started writing well yet. But I’m working on it, and I believe that all those other years of writing – as a student, as a teacher – were important, even though they didn’t produce any short stories or novels. They helped me learn to put the commas mostly in the right places, etc. And that, believe it or not, is important.
Anything more you’d like to say to your readers and fans?
Sure. Hi, Readers and Fans! and also, Hi, Strangers! I truly hope you’ll be curious enough to read Luke Blackmon’s Rose. It’s being called a Paranormal Romance, but that’s after a lot of soul-searching, because it’s – well, not exactly a normal Paranormal Romance. It’s based on a science-fiction premise (actually a “fake science fiction,” aka science-fantasy, premise), which is going to scare a lot of readers off, but the “science fiction” element – time travel – has taken place several years before the story starts, so you shouldn’t let that part bother you.
This isn’t a book for immature young-adult readers, and it’s certainly not a book for children, but also it’s not a consciously erotic romance. There’s one ongoing scene that’s explicitly sexual but not steamily erotic, which I tried to sort of neutralize, while writing it, by reminding myself that sex is often quite funny. And there’s an explicit scene of sexual abuse, reported by a character, that is absolutely necessary – I believe – to the development of one of the book’s themes: how times change; how times, sadly, do not change.
There is, of course, violence of several kinds; this is a story set in the United States of America in the early years of the 2020s. Basically, though, Luke Blackmon’s Rose is a love story.
Mary Patterson Thornburg will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour