James Rada, Jr. Announces Release of Smoldering Betrayal
New novel captures Western Maryland's wild side in the 1920s
Uncertainty, danger, and lawlessness were prevalent in Allegany County, Md., in the 1920s. Prohibition was in full swing, although moonshining was common and Frostburg seemed to ignore the law altogether. A national coal strike caught up Western Maryland coal miners in the fighting and killing that accompanied the strike.
Smoldering Betrayal, a new novel by James Rada, Jr., captures this period in the county's history.
"I've wanted to write this story for years, but I just couldn't get it to mesh properly," said Rada.
Smoldering Betrayal, which is the first book in the Black Fire Trilogy, is the story of Matt Ansaro. He is a WWI veteran who is a now a Pinkerton detective. He returns to his hometown of Eckhart in 1922 after being away for five years. His family doesn't know his current profession or that he has been sent to Eckhart to spy out union activity for the Consolidation Coal Company. Matt also has his own mission, which is to protect his family from blacklisted by the company.
"I love the way the book has turned out, but it is a lot different than I first envisioned,"
The basic idea of following an undercover detective in the Western Maryland coal mines who is caught up in strike problems is the same, but that's about all. Not only did Rada change the title from In Coal Blood, he even changed the name of his hero.
"I kept trying to write the story, but I would get a couple of chapters into the story and run into a wall," Rada said. "I would outline the story and then do it again. Yet, I kept hitting the wall."
Then early this year, he had a simple thought that changed the whole dynamic of the story. He made Matt Ansaro the prodigal son returning home.
"I started getting all sorts of ideas about the characters, plot points, and the setting," Rada said. "I found myself carrying around a pad and pen to write down thoughts wherever I went. When I was in the car, I would record scenes, ideas, and snatches of dialogue that came to me. I would even be recording thoughts before I fell asleep at night."
He did more writing of the story in three days than he had done in six years. It quickly became apparent that the reworked story would take up more than one book, so it became the Black Fire Trilogy.
Smoldering Betrayal was released at the beginning of September.
James Rada, Jr. is an award-winning writer who Midwest Book Review called "a writer of considerable and deftly expressed storytelling talent." Leatherneck Magazine called The Last to Fall "a superb book." Rada has two dozen writing awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists, Maryland-Delaware-
Rada is the author of 22 books, mostly history and historical fiction. His articles have been published in more the 125 publications, such as History Channel Magazine, USAToday.com, and the Boy's Life.
Smoldering Betrayal retails for $19.95 and is available at local booksellers. For more information about James Rada's books, visit his website at jamesrada.com.
For More information on Smoldering Betrayal: http://booklaunch.io/