When it occurred to me that the 150th anniversary of John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry was this year, I had one thought: news peg!
I also figured that if I wrote an article on a Brown-ish topic–the piece appears today–it would be a good way to plug my soon-to-be-published novel, The First Assassin. People who are willing to read an article on the legacy of John Brown may also be inclined to read a historical thriller set in 1861 Washington. It’s a low-tech version of affinity marketing.
So I drummed up the idea of a piece about John Brown’s Body, the long poem by Stephen Vincent Benét. I would base it partly on an actual visit to Harpers Ferry, which isn’t too far from home. My editor at the Wall Street Journal approved the topic. I started my research, made my visit, and hammered out the article. In the bio-line, I’m not identified as a National Review writer, which is my normal credit, but as “the author of The First Assassin, a forthcoming historical novel.”
I had hoped The First Assassin actually would be available right now. Alas, the wait continues. We’re still dealing with a few production details. So when will it come out? Soon, very soon. Watch this space.