Writing "The Confessions of Old King Coal" has been a labor of love for me. Three years ago I embarked on some family history research, focusing on a great uncle, Tommy Thompson, who emigrated to America in 1910. I knew he'd become quite successful in his little corner of America -- East Peoria -- but as I researched I unraveled the personality of the man, and the tragic relationship he shared with his wife.
It was compelling stuff. He had the golden touch when it came to business -- he made his fortune in coal in the Twenties -- but he was a man of many contradictions, all of which are explored in my novel. His wife died in tragic circumstances in the Fifties, and it was this aspect of the story that really tugged at my heartstrings.
I began to realize that I had enough material to write a gripping novel. I had uncovered a true-life story that could rival any tale of fantasy.
I decided to transform my research into a work of biographical fiction. I felt this genre would allow me to put an interesting spin on the story. I introduced a fictional character, a local news reporter, and through this person I was able to give my relative, Tommy Thompson, a voice.
Set in 1965, with flashbacks to earlier decades, I'm sure anyone interested in a poignant, true-life story with a vintage feel will enjoy this book.
Where to find Martin Crane online
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