Posted on June 13, 2019 at 8:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek
Today we’re interviewing Salina B. Baker, a multiple-award winning author and avid student of colonial America and the American Revolution.
Her lifelong passion for history and all things supernatural led her to write historical fantasy. Reading, extensive traveling, and graveyard prowling with her husband keep that passion alive.
Baker lives in Austin, Texas and is a member of The Writers’ League of Texas.
SADYE: What have been the most surprising, rewarding, and challenging parts of your writing career?
SALINA: Learning and writing about the American Revolutionary War; the movement, people, and motivations behind it on both sides of the conflict has been surprising, rewarding and challenging.
Some of my learning was through the help of historian, Dr. Sam Forman, who wrote a biography on a forgotten founding father, Dr. Joseph Warren, who is an important character in my Angels and Patriots series.
Dr. Forman generously took the time to guide me when I was faced with the challenge of locating pieces of vital information on Joseph and found there was little to go on.
I consider myself extremely lucky to have gained Dr. Forman’s confidence.
SADYE: What period of history would you most like to travel back to and what historical figure would you most like to meet?
SALINA: Colonial America and the American Revolution because that’s the time period my book series is set in.
I would dearly love to meet Dr. Joseph Warren, a Son of Liberty and important founding father whose comrades were Samuel Adams, John Adams, John Hancock, Paul Revere, and others.
Joseph was born in 1741 in Roxbury, Massachusetts to Joseph and Mary Warren. He was elder brother to Samuel, Ebenezer, and John (John founded the Harvard Medical School).
Joseph, a handsome and ambitious young man, attended Harvard and went on to become a schoolteacher, gentle physician, generous friend, husband, father, politician, president of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress, freemason M.W. Grand Master, and major general.
He grew to be so well respected that his fellows called him “Chief.”
Tragically, his wife, Elizabeth, died in 1773 at age twenty-six, leaving him a widower with four small children.
Joseph is the man who sent Paul Revere and William Dawes on their famous midnight ride on April 18/19, 1775, to warn the countryside from Boston to Concord, Massachusetts, as well as John Hancock and Sam Adams, who were hiding in Lexington, that the British regulars were on the move with intentions to arrest Hancock and Adams and seize rebel armaments in Concord.
Joseph was shot in the face and died for the cause of liberty six days after his thirty-fourth birthday during the waning moments of the Battle of Bunker Hill, on June 17, 1775, leaving his four children orphans and becoming America’s first martyr.
The British were so contemptuous of his seditious acts and influence that they stripped his clothes off, mutilated his body, and threw him in a shallow grave with a farmer at the site of the battle.
His premature death was the reason he was overshadowed by his friends and contemporaries and eventually largely forgotten.
The Loyalist, Peter Oliver, said in 1782, “Had Warren lived, George Washington would have been ‘an obscurity.’ ” His amazing yet tragic life was short.
I want to hear the sound of Joseph’s voice and the moments he might pause to wipe away a tear or laugh when I ask this ubiquitous young man questions about why he made the decisions he made from the moment the flame of patriotism sparked in his mind and heart erupting into fiery rebellion, to the moment he looked down the barrel of a pistol and made the ultimate sacrifice for his country.
I’m certain he wouldn’t say "I don’t know," this man who stood at the pulpit in the Old South Meeting House in Boston and delivered speeches that enraptured audiences. I’m certain he would fill my ear, and I too would be enraptured.
You can read about Joseph and his important contributions to the cause of independence in my Angels and Patriots book series.
SADYE: What message or theme would you like readers to take away from your work?
SALINA: It’s alright to be weak. It’s alright to admit you don’t understand how and why your life went the way it did. It’s alright to doubt everything you’ve been told.
It’s noble to be loyal and love and protect those who can’t protect themselves or those you love so much; you will make the ultimate sacrifice for them no matter what that means.
These words written by the folk singer Gordon Lightfoot sometimes plays in my head when I’m writing certain scenes:
When you reach the part where the heartaches
Come the hero would be me
Heroes often fail
But the hero isn’t me, the author.
It’s the character who knows they have a long way to go before they can settle their inner strife.
It’s the character who knows the person they love is struggling with that strife and tries to understand and forgive.
It’s the reader who can empathize.
SADYE: What advice, as relates to your writing career, would you give your younger self?
SALINA: Be patient. Don’t expect everyone to love what you love. In fact, the chances are small.
I’m a woman who loves writing about history, the men who shaped it, the women who shaped those men, what motivated all of them, and war when men’s passions are heated and judgments are swayed by transient impulses and irritations.
I can only hope there are others who love the same thing. And if there is no one, that’s okay. I’ve written what I love to read.
SADYE: Which of your characters would you most and least like to become romantically involved with?
SALINA: This is an interesting question because I don’t think of my characters in that manner.
Most of my protagonists/characters are male. A good number of them are real historical figures, but for those who are not, I admit I endow a lot of them with traits I admire in men.
That’s probably as close to romance as I’ll get. Who knows.
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