Title: THE KINGDOM OF OHIO
Author: Matthew Flaming
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Penguin Group
December 7th, 2010
From Publishers Weekly
Flaming's debut mixes time travel, historical grit and an alternate history of the American frontier in a romance with a fantastic bent. A contemporary antiques dealer, after coming across an old photo, unspools the story of Peter Force, newly arrived in 1900 New York from Idaho, as he joins a crew of laborers toiling in grim conditions to build the subway system. A chance encounter throws Peter into the path of Cheri-Anne Toledo, a troubled woman who claims to have traveled seven years into the future from the Lost Kingdom of Ohio, a small frontier kingdom over which her father reigned. Cheri-Anne's plight, and his feelings for her, drags them into the orbits of a crusty J.P Morgan and of dueling inventors Thomas Edison and Nicola Tesla. As Peter and Cheri-Anne evade the powerful forces invested in Cheri-Anne, the moment when their lives and the contemporary narrator's intersects looms closer and closer, creating palpable suspense. The journey through the seedier side of New York's Gilded Age, with reprisal killings for labor agitators and nights spent in drunken dance halls, is an arresting contrast to classic time-travel themes.This is a real crowd-pleaser. (Dec.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
ReviewMen ahead of their time wrestle with the fabric of the universe.
Flaming's debut ushers into a mystifying world, but its intriguing premise and inherent mystery are impossible to resist. Marrying poetic prose with hints of steampunk aesthetics to an arcane, time-wrenching plot that includes a healthy dose of wistful romance, the author unleashes an absorbing adventure about warring scientists, lost princesses and the genius who created modern New York City. In the present day, an aged narrator describes his dogged research into the collision of two unlikely characters. His confession hints at narrative ambiguity ("Telling the story is easy. It's just deciding which parts to include, finding a space to fit them all in, that gives me trouble."), but the author's execution is sure-footed. The story within takes readers back to the turn of the century, as Peter Force arrives in Manhattan just in time to start digging the city's newfangled subway system. Through his young protagonist's eyes, Flaming captures a city on the cusp of technological revolution, as electricity, airships and other marvels make all futures seem possible. Peter's work is interrupted by Cheri-Anne Toldeo, refugee from a mythical Midwestern kingdon founded by a minor European royal. She blames her sudden appearance on the misfire of a device created by Nicola Tesla, the acclaimed "Sorcerer of Electricity", which has sent her quite astray. The fantastic story line that follows revolves around the heated rivalry between Tesla and his rival, genius/patent thief Thomas Edison, who is being backed here by robber baron J.P. Morgan. "Villainy is a complicated thing, Miss Toledo," Morgan says, revealing a plot to gamble against the future. Though not as lush as Kurt Andersen's Heyday (2007), Flaming's wildly inventive fantasy is more fun to read and begs to be followed to its hurtly, heart-rending end.
A marvelous fable about the worlds beneath our feet and the conspiracies that turn our heads.--Kirkus Review (starred)
"Absorbed by the twists and turns of the story, I felt like applauding every new idea, every conversation, every mystery, and every revelation! A memorable novel that makes me want to read much more of Mr. Flaming!"-Michael Moorcock
"A beautiful fable about love, time, technology, and the birth of America."-Robert Anthony Siegel
Over the Edge Reviews
Being a writer is wonderful in more ways than I can count. Maybe the most satisfying, for me, is how writing allows me to indulge in exploring strange, twisty paths of my daydreams. Far too often, life asks us to put aside our in
ner world and face up to tedious realities like taxes and laundry and mowing the lawn. Writing is a reminder that imagination matters, and is what makes us most deeply ourselves.
As for the worst part, it might be the fact that nothing on the page ever lives up to the version in my head. At best, the published book is an echo of what I wanted it to be.
2. Why do you write?
To be honest, I’m still trying to answer that question myself. Among other reasons (in no particular order): because I love books. Because I’m terrified of death, and want to leave some piece of myself behind. Because I hope to entertain, delight, and possibly even amaze my readers.
3. Name one eye-opening thing you learned from your book research.
Stumbling across the fact that the state of Ohio actually went to war against the Michigan Territory in 1835 over a border dispute was quite shocking. I’d never thought of the Midwest as being so militant! Also reading about how Thomas Edison once publicly electrocuted an elephant, as part of his electrical “research,” was pretty startling.
4. Do you have a favorite motto?
I have a tendency to over-think things, so these days I’m partial to KISS – “Keep it simple, stupid.”
5. Do you have a favorite fictional hero? Favorite fictional heroine?
There are a long list of characters I love, for different reasons. If I had to pick just one, it might be Mick Kelly, the young heroine of Carson McCuller’s The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. I also have a soft spot for Julien Sorel from The Red and the Black.
6. Which fictional character would you hang out with?
At the moment I live several thousand miles away from the other members of my writing group, so the idea of spending an evening with Grady Tripp, the disreputable writing professor from Michael Chabon’s The Wonder Boys, sounds pretty good.
7. What is one of your favorite book covers, your own or someone else’s?
At the risk of being immodest, I’m really in love with the cover of my book, both the US and UK versions (which are quite different). The designers did an amazing job.
8. What would readers be surprised to learn about you?
My first car was a rusted-out 1974 Cadillac Hearse, purchased from a hunchback in the wilderness of western Massachusetts.
9. What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever learned by Googling your name?
I strenuously avoid things like self-Googling, because it’s terrible for my mental health. I have enough insecurity to deal with already, without worrying about what other people are saying.
10. If you could go backward or forward in time which would you chose? Why?
Forward, without a doubt. The past is fascinating, but we have a pretty fair idea of what past eras were like. The future, on the other hand, is the undiscovered country. I’d love to find out how, for example, people remember things like “America” and “the internet” in 1,000 years.
“THE KINGDOM OF OHIO”.
The Kingdom of Ohio is somewhere between a historical adventure and a love story. In 1901, a young man named Peter Force travels to New York from the western frontier hoping to outrun his past. He meets a young woman, Cheri-Anne Toledo, who claims to be from a mysterious place called the Kingdom of Ohio, and that she has discovered the key to travelling through time.
At first, Peter (and everyone else) dismisses Cheri-Anne’s story as crazy. But she attracts the attention of warring inventors Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison, along with the powerful financier J.P. Morgan, all of whom are convinced that time travel is possible that that Cheri-Anne may have stumbled onto the most valuable and dangerous secret imaginable.
12. Which do you find is most important to you as a writer, voice or story? Why?
I find it hard to separate the two. Most people say that each writer is supposed to find a distinctive voice (which is a kind of personal brand), but for me every story seems to demand a its own particular kind of voice and way of telling.
13. Matthew, please tell us where we can find you out in cyber world. For desperate readers like me, we just have to know.. :)
14. I know this is a difficult question with there being so many amazing authors out there to choose from but who are some of the GOT-TO-HAVE authors in your TBR pile?
I’ve always been an omnivorous reader, and I tend to alternate between “classics” and more contemporary fiction. At the moment, books I look forward to reading include The Thousand Autums of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell (yes, I’m behind the curve), the Book of the New Sun series by Gene Wolfe, and Arabian Sands by Wilfred Thesinger, a true account of his five-years spend journeying through the “empty quarter” of Arabia between 1945 and 1950.
15. What’s next in the works for you? When can readers expect to see it out on shelves in their local bookstores?
The next novel is another work of historical fiction, set in the 17th century Ottoman Empire. No publication date as yet.
Matthew, it has been a blast getting to know more about you and your books, Thank you for spending time with my Over the Edge readers and myself. :)
To celebrate the Holiday Season Over the Edge and Historical Fiction author, Matthew Flaming are giving one lucky reader a copy of his recent December 2010 release "THE KINGDOM OF OHIO" by Penguin Group. To enter here are a few simple rules.
* +2 Leave a comment including email.
* +2 Spread the Word! ( this means go out into cyber world and post it on any network sites that your are a member of, or on your blog or website.+2 Then come back and leave a link so I can verify the post.)
* +5 Follow me on Twitter.
* +5 Add me as friend on Facebook.
*+5 Connect with OTE at NING.
* Become a follower of Over the Edge! (+3 Already a follower--You ROCK! +2 Become a follower.)
The giveaway is open to ALL readers and will be running until December 31, 2010. I'll be picking and contacting the winners directly on January 2, 2011. Please make sure to include your email with your comment. Happy Reading!