The book includes historical information, people and dates, but the story itself has no basis in reality. “This whole story is a complete story, it’s a fabrication,” the author said. “But what I did was that I twisted [it] so it made an interesting story, to say the least.”
Samia came up with the story after reading a book called “Hospital Sketches” by Louisa May Alcott, a book she did not know Alcott, the author of “Little Women,” had penned.
Alcott wrote “Hospital Sketches” about her experiences as a nurse during the Civil War. It has four vignettes about things that took place in the hospital where she was stationed. “I had no idea she acted as a Civil War nurse,” Samia said. “She left her home in Concord, Mass.”
Samia, a history buff, read the book in 2012, the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, so she already had that time period on her mind when she was reading, she said. The country was celebrating the anniversary with mock battles at Gettysburg and other fanfare. As she read Alcott’s tales, one character, a man named John, and the writer’s description of him drew her in. “She described him as a vile man with bonny brown hair and eyes of a child,” Samia said. “It was just her reaction to him. ... It sounded like John Wilkes Booth.”
Despite the fact that Booth’s death had been heavily documented, Samia began her novel with the premise that he escaped the blaze, invoking conspiracy theories that were prevalent in the day. In researching the book, which is a historical romance and took three years to complete, Samia traveled to all the important Civil War sites. “I went to all the places, Gettysburg, Pa.; Washington, D.C.; Fords Theater; Manassas, Va.; Fredericksburg, Va.; Murfreesboro, Tenn.,” she said.
In the book, a gravely injured Booth dons a stolen a uniform and is brought to the hospital where he meets and falls in love with Emma Dickson, a nurse who cares for him. Identifying himself as John Singer and musing over how he will live out his life, Booth attracts some attention.
“What we have now is a repentant John Wilkes Booth,” Samia said. “People say he looks like John Wilkes Booth.” Alcott even makes an appearance, stopping by the hospital to visit a friend, Samia said. She has even been in contact with the Louisa May Alcott House in Concord to let them know. “They’re absolutely thrilled,” she said.
Samia is quick to point out that she in no way is trying to romanticize Wilkes’ murder of Abraham Lincoln. “I don’t believe anyone, I could be wrong, has attempted to romanticize a villain such as Booth,” she said. “[I’m] romanticizing the villain, but not the heinous deed, ever.”
The book, according to the writer, “is full of twists and turns,” she said, “There’s a lot of buzz about it.”
Samia’s first book, a self-help book, was called “Don’t be Afraid of Fifty.” She was the recipient of two writing awards in 2013- 14 for the Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association in Poetry and Essay, and the following year took first place for poetry in the same contest.
“My Name is John Singer,” which was published by Destiny Whispers Publishing, LLC, will be released April 16. Samia has begun the sequel.
>>> ADDED NOTE-- Release date will be April, 26th, the historic day that John Wilkes Booth died in the barn fire. Or did he?
Photos property of the Author, Lisa G. Samia and Destiny Whispers Publishing, LLC