Battlegrounds by Stephen Carter
The first of the Matari Series, Stephen A. Carter’s Battlegrounds (Outer Banks Publishing Group) presents a gripping story of historical fiction that captures the complexity of the years preceding the US Civil War. Carter illustrates the greed, bloodlust and political manipulations of both the North and South that pushed America towards the abyss, and he does so with incredible historical accuracy.
While being a proud Canadian, Carter dedicated his university studies and much of his professional writing to the subject of the United States’ Antebellum South, the US Civil War and following Reconstruction. We spoke with the author on how Battlegrounds came to be and what’s coming in the following three books.
Q: What inspired you to tell this story?
A: My Mom inspired me to write. I wrote 3 before she died.
Q: As a historian and teacher, you’re certainly familiar with history! What set you on the path to looking into the time before the US Civil War?
A: I studied US history in university. The Civil War and abolitionism always intrigued me as my forefathers in Canada had 9 slaves.
Q: A number of the events in your book are based in historical fact. How much of the book is from real life, and how much of the events and characters are your own creation?
A: 75% of the book is fiction defined by historical facts.
Q: How would you describe your research process for Battlegrounds?
A: Edit, edit, edit for 14 years. Internet used 100% (it used to be more reliable back in the day … not now).
Q: What are some of the key “big picture” themes that you tackle?
A: For book 1 of the Matari Series, the key themes are racism, gender equality (very strong black women), political intrigue, religious bigotry, interracial love and its consequences, slavery, comic relief, military events, espionage and tremendous courage under stress. Battlegrounds also introduces Horatio Garrow as the main Confederate villain.
Q: What do you hope readers take away from this story?
A: I hope this books brings readers a renewed sense of the military events in the Civil War and Lincoln as a war president.
Q: Battlegrounds is only the first book in a 4-part series. What can readers expect from the following books?
A: More action and surprises as:
- Book 2 reveals the Maasai Rangers and their mission behind Confederate lines.
- Book 3 deals with epic Union victories after 1863 wherein John Saxton is imprisoned at Salisbury, NC (worse of the all including Andersonville), the closing of the war and Matari’s (Marcus Brown) dream of a Utopia and its realization.
- Book 4 is about Reconstruction from 1875-84 and its consequences and the chase of Lucas Garrow and the happy ending for Matari (Marcus Brown) despise his horrendous losses (the emasculation of the Black man).
Author Stephen A. Carter was born in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Upon graduating from the University of British Columbia in 1968, he taught high school history and geography for 21 years before touring Canada as a pen & ink artist. Thereafter he retired to draw, invent, play slo-pitch baseball and write prose and poetry.
Although a proud Canadian, over the past 25 years he has “wintered” in the southern states of America. It was there that his interest in American history grew and flowered.
A stage 4 cancer survivor, he currently lives in New Westminster BC. He, writes, cycles, reads and spends quality time with his fiancé.