The Fairness of Beasts is a new novel from Gar LaSalle, the third instalment in the Widow Walk saga! Set in 1862, a union army is heading to Virginia to end the civil war by taking Richmond. A young woman, whose wounded lover is caught in the middle of the war, must risk everything to save him as she crosses enemy lines. The nation is at risk and so is her small family, the risk she takes is sure to test her heart and her will.
This book will be released on 24th of October in the UK but here is the BEAUTIFUL cover! (I’m in love with it, it perfectly sets the scene!)
Gar LaSalle Blog Tour Q&A
Question: Have you always had an interest in writing?
Answer: During my career in as a physician, I have written many non-fiction articles about leadership, disaster management, clinical Emergency Medicine patient safety, “bedside manner” and clinical risk prevention. In fiction writing, I authored several screenplays over several years. I structured Widow Walk, the first book in the saga, as a treatment for yet another screenplay. However, a producer friend, Nick Kazan, liked the story and suggested I turn it into a novel instead.
Question: What authors do you enjoy reading that have had an influence on your work?
Answer: I love the work of Larry McMurtry, Tom Clancy, Stephen Ambrose, Cormac McCarthy, Saki (H.H. Munro), Richard Selzer M.D., Chekhov, Dostoyevsky, Hemmingway and Stegner. I am also influenced by great filmmakers like Scorsese, Fellini, De Sica, Ozu, Ridley Scott, Wadja, Attenborough and Spielberg.
Question: What is your writing process like?
Answer: I “postcard” my writing on a large white board in my office, starting with two scenes: “Fade In” and “Fade Out” then I work from both ends to the middle “obligatory scenes.” The white board has sections for plot lines, conflicts, character “arcs” and themes. I find that characters get invented along the way because they act as foils for the main protagonists and antagonists. What is really fun for me is creating the backstories for those characters, because they allow me to expand the breadth of the world in which my main characters live. The book and on-line research I do is to find facts that corroborate the historical context of the plot, little known facts about well known historical events. I also always try to visit the places in which I place my characters – to get a sense of the feel of the terrain and the weather, humidity and general atmosphere of the air above it all. It was very important for me to traipse the Dariéne Jungle on what remains of the Camino Real, go by bungo boat on the Chagres River, walk the cemetery and home site on Whidbey, stand on the parapet where Pickett stood down the Brits on San Juan during the “Pig War”, and walk the streets to Richmond to find Chimburazo Hospital stood and know where the old whore houses were in during the Civil War.
Question: What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength? Your weakness?
Answer: My historical situations are historically plausible and accurate. Readers describe my work as intelligent, “compelling” driven and visually evocative. Different readers have called the work “Dickensonian.” Some have compared the labyrinthine twists in the books to Marquez’s “One Hundred Years of Solitude.” To drive plot and move the story along in an engaging manner, I try keep my style “lean.” But I am fascinated by the panoply of characters I get to introduce in the story and I sometimes absolutely must exlpore. The diversions I take, in exploring some character’s backstories, does risk diverting the plot-driven reader from the main tension lines of the story.
Although I love poetry and know I can write lyrical work, the leanness of my narratives do not allow me to dally much on poetic metaphors. I have gifted colleagues who write lyrical work, which many people love, but the stories seem thin to me so I don’t do that. I try to put lyricism in my prologues and epilogues so there is at least a bit more music in the work.
Question: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Answer: I always tell myself the same things: Have Passion, Patience, Practice, Persistence – and forget “Perfection.” If any of those four first things are missing, you cannot succeed.
This book is so interested and not at all what I expected!
The historical setting is amazing and made me feel really involved in the story. I wish I had read the first two books first but I don’t really feel like I have missed out too much. If I could go back and read it chronologically I definitely would, so I recommend getting the entire saga!
I really liked the main character Emmy, she has so much on her plate but she is really strong willed, I didn’t agree with a few of her decisions but she followed her heart and ultimately did what was best for her! If you like strong female characters, you’ll love her!
There is such a wide variety of characters, that all have a lot going on and you get really involved with them which I really love! There is characters you hate, characters you love and everything in between.
I was really surprised at the mental health representation as well as the struggles that were portrayed within this novel. The backlash of war as well as the social norms and attitudes towards mental health in the Civil War era was represented really well and was really interesting to read about.
I loved the journeys that the characters took, physically and emotionally and the development was great. Although I felt at the beginning it was a little slow, it soon picked up and was a great read. I highly recommend!
Im not really sure what to compare it to as I rarely read adult fiction however, if you love historical reads involving, war romance and questionable characters with some amazing descriptions, this is the book for you!
(I was sent this book by Smith publicity in exchange for an honest review!)