I am beyond delighted & honored to chat with Patti Callahan today about her new dual timeline novel, Surviving Savannah!
Patti Callahan Henry is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of sixteen novels and podcast host. She is the recipient of The Christy Award — A 2019 Winner “Book of the Year”; The Harper Lee Distinguished Writer of the Year for 2020 and the Alabama Library Association Book of the Year for 2019. She is the co-host and co-creator of the popular weekly online Friends and Fiction live web show and podcast. A full-time author and mother of three children, she now resides in both Mountain Brook, Alabama, and Bluffton, South Carolina with her husband.
GENRE: Historical Fiction / Dual Timeline
RELEASE DATE: March 9, 2021
It was called “The Titanic of the South.” The luxury steamship sank in 1838 with Savannah’s elite on board; through time, their fates were forgotten–until the wreck was found, and now their story is finally being told in this breathtaking novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Becoming Mrs. Lewis.
When Savannah history professor Everly Winthrop is asked to guest-curate a new museum collection focusing on artifacts recovered from the steamship Pulaski, she’s shocked. The ship sank after a boiler explosion in 1838, and the wreckage was just discovered, 180 years later. Everly can’t resist the opportunity to try to solve some of the mysteries and myths surrounding the devastating night of its sinking.
Everly’s research leads her to the astounding history of a family of eleven who boarded the Pulaski together, and the extraordinary stories of two women from this family: a known survivor, Augusta Longstreet, and her niece, Lilly Forsyth, who was never found, along with her child. These aristocratic women were part of Savannah’s society, but when the ship exploded, each was faced with difficult and heartbreaking decisions. This is a moving and powerful exploration of what women will do to endure in the face of tragedy, the role fate plays, and the myriad ways we survive the surviving.
Hi Patti! Welcome to the blog!
Q: Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower. If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?
Patti: Can we share a super power? If we can, then that’s it. If we can’t share it, I’d say loving my family and friends. It’s powerful stuff.
Carrie: I freely share my reading super power 🙂
Q: Who is your favorite book character from childhood?
Patti: Aslan from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I have never stopped thinking about that book or that lion, or Peter or Susan or Edmund or Lucy!
Carrie: Yes!! Aslan & Lucy & that whole series, but especially The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe have a forever fave spot in my heart ♥
Q: Which character in Surviving Savannah was the most difficult to write?
Patti: Oh, the historical characters, Augusta and Lilly, were definitely the hardest to write. I needed to do an incredible amount of research to not only discover what their lives were like as women in 1838 but also what it must have felt like for them on that ship and at sea. But oddly, although they were the most difficult they were the most rewarding. Maybe it’s always that way.
Carrie: the most difficult things usually are 🙂
Q: Did you have the whole plot outlined before you started writing, or did you let the characters dictate what came next?
Patti: I had the essentials of the novel plotted out, but it changed with the research. Each time I found some fact about the explosive night or about 1838, the plot shifted just a bit. But on the whole, I had both modern day and historical timelines plotted out. I knew where my characters would go in their journey, what they wanted and also what they did or didn’t get in the end!
Carrie: this is such a fascinating moment in history that I think most of us have never heard of before – I can’t wait to read this novel!
Q: Who are some examples of women in your life who have ‘survived the surviving’ and what did they teach you?
Patti: One of the women who taught me about this surviving and thriving is actually the woman I wrote about in my last novel, Becoming Mrs. Lewis. Joy Davidman was a powerful woman who went through some dark nights of the soul and yet thrived in love.
Carrie: Amazing book & amazing woman!
Q: What is one of your favorite quotes from Surviving Savannah & why do you love it?
Patti: “Do we merely survive or embrace life with all we’ve got?” I love it because it asks the overarching question of the novel. What do we do with this precious life we’ve been given? If we’ve been saved, what do we do with that new life?
Carrie: So simple, yet so profound…
Berkley is offering a digital copy of Surviving Savannah by Patti Callahan to one of my readers! (Winner must be able to accept ebook delivery via Netgalley. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What makes you want to read Surviving Savannah by Patti Callahan?