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Radio Interviews



KCHO Interview with Nancy Wiegman

Nancy Wiegman is the host of Nancy's Bookshop, a regular feature on Northstate Public Radio. She also happens to be keenly interested in history and language. We had a great time talking with her on a wide range of subjects.

Topics: Richard at long last gets to recite "Cædmon's Hymn" in Early West Saxon, while TJ asks for a drink in Mountain Maidu. • Thoughts on the perils of writing about many cultures.

The political history behind QONM: the Broderick-Terry duel, and Albert Sidney Johnston's painful choice.

Richard reads from Chapter 8, "The Republic of the Pacific," and discusses the agonizing dilemma Lincoln faced before assuming office. • TJ reads from Will's conference with Dr. Forbes at the National Hotel about the prospects of the Confederacy in California. • TJ also reads the thoughts of Lazarus, Will's body servant, as he contemplates escape to the Union lines. • Richard confesses that Will is modeled on John Singleton Mosby. • TJ reads Will's letter to his mother, laying out the hard choices facing a reluctant Confederate.

All the characters in QONM, save the Nisenan, are immigrants who must redefine themselves in the brave new world of American California.


KVMR Interview with Steve Baker

Urbane host (and KVMR Program Director) interviews Richard and Terry about QONM and our multimedia presentation, California and the Civil War. Emphasis is on local themes (KVMR is located in Nevada City, the setting for the novel).

Topics: Why give a factual history talk to promote a novel? • Our research full of fascinating surprises. • California politics were dominated by Southern Democrats until a deadly duel between California's Chief Justice and her US Senator turned popular sentiment against the "Chivalry." • A gifted orator and a Southern general spare California from the horrors of partisan war.

The historic rivalry between Grass Valley and Nevada City flare up in a night of terror in 1865.

The inspiration for QONM: the infamous Bullion Bend Robbery near Placerville, a true Civil War incident in which a band of armed guerillas took a Wells Fargo treasure shipment and left the stage driver a receipt from the CSA.

1860's Nevada City, rich in gold and diverse in culture, truly the "Queen of the Northern Mines."


KDVS Interview with Ed Martin

Ed Martin, the host of Speaking in Tongues, dives into the history surrounding Queen of the Northern Mines. As a native Georgian, Ed is deeply knowlegdeable about the ante-bellum South and the political history that preceded the Civil War. He is also well versed in California history. We had a great time chatting with Ed in this far-ranging discussion.

Topics: The "Portrait of Sophie Gray" on the front cover of QONM. • What is the story? A coming of age novel? Or a western adventure?

Who tricked the slave power? California statehood tips the balance. • Two Californias in 1861? • Without the war, how long would slavery have persisted?

Our protagonist, Will Stafford, modeled on John Singleton Mosby. • The perils of captivity. • The eyes of the South on California's gold. • Richard learns to admire a Confederate. • Will Stafford's dilemma. • Ida Hatfield represents the first generation of American Californians. • Mary Dunn "inhabits a no-man's land."

More on the Civil War in California. • One man's conscience – Albert Sidney Johnston's choice. • The potential for partisan war in California. • The saga of the Los Angeles Mounted Rifles. • Johnston's legacy.

TJ's Mountain Maidu studies inform our character Nutim.


Cap Public Radio Interview with David Watts Barton

David Watts Barton, host of Capital Public Radio's Insight, interviews Richard & TJ about Queen of the Northern Mines and the wild political and cultural history behind the novel.

Topics: Though far from the eastern battlefields, Californians engaged in the controversy and in the actual fighting. • The specter of partisan warfare haunts the Northern Mines.

Why a novel rather than a history book? • An unprecedented cultural kaleidoscope: Nevada (City), the "Queen of the Northern Mines."

California's rough politics: the Broderick-Terry duel. • The Reverend Starr King discovers the joys of gold camp oratory.


KVMR Interview with Alan Stahler about Early CA politics

So you think politics is rough now? Alan Stahler, host of KVMR's Soundings, discusses duelling and honor in the first decade of California's statehood.

Topics: Early California's do-it-yourself ethos when it came to law enforcement and politics. Duels a popular form of problem-solving. • The last great political duel fought in America in 1859, pitting California's Chief Justice David Terry (an ardent pro-slaver) against our US Senator David Broderick (a dedicated Free-Soil man). • Both were Democrats; their conflict symbolized the the rift that was tearing the party apart along sectional lines. Broderick's death seen as political murder by many Californians – a prelude to the appalling violence to come during America's Civil War.


KVMR Interview with Laurie Desjardins

Laurie Desjardins, host of KVMR's New Brick Road, interviews TJ about the characters of Queen of the Northern Mines and local history. TJ describes the transitory nature of Gold Rush towns and recounts some of the serious outlaw misbehavior that inspired our book.

Topics: Gold shipments from the mines lying between Dutch Flat and You Bet made local stagecoaches rich prizes for highwaymen – and Rebel partisans.

Characters in the novel drawn from real life include Nevada City suffragette Ellen Sargent, Southern Partisan Asbury Harpending, and Cantonese tong boss Ah Tie.

The male population of California, overwhelmingly young and adventurous, joined Secret societies and girded themselves for guerrilla warfare, while bolder individuals plotted to seize the fabulous treasure shipments from the Northern Mines.



KVMR Interview with Alan Stahler about Slavery in American CA

Alan Stahler, host of KVMR's Soundings, interviews Richard & TJ about black and Indian slavery during the first decade of California statehood.

Topics: TJ explains the South's focus on expanding slavery. • California's admission as a free state in 1850 upsets Southern ambitions. • Why the 49ers wanted a free-soil California.

The Great Debate of 1850. • R talks about the struggle to hold the Union together. • Appeasing the South. • Slaves arrive in California. • The uncertain status of black slaves in California.

The need for agricultural laborers in California. • Indian "indentured servitude" fills the gap. • Forced labor condoned by California law.

TJ talks about Indian-white intermarriage, Indian relocation, and the slave trade. • R discusses profitable cronisim between Indian agents and justices of the peace. • The 13th amendment ends slavery in the US. In California, the Indian population crashes.

In Nevada County, Colonel English's freed slaves become the ancestors of local black communities. The pioneer Nye family intermarries with Pamelo's Nisenan band at Bridgeport and assures Indian survival.

A quick plot synopsis of QONM: Will's dilemma - how his loves and loyalties are tried by war





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