DSP and Jerry Sacher Journey Back to Titanic and 1912 – Post + Giveaway

April 30, 2016

DSP and Jerry Sacher

Hello everyone, Jerry Sacher here to introduce myself and my newest release: Ocean of Secrets.

I’ve been interested in the Titanic and the people who sailed on board her since first grade, when I was first able to read A Night to Remember by Walter Lord; and for the longest time I wanted to write a Titanic novel of my own, a story of forbidden love on board the doomed ship. In Ocean of Secrets we meet Andrew Elliot, who is a first class passenger, and Matthew Ahearn, a third class steward.

Those were the days when men who loved other men where either imprisoned or forced into loveless marriages, which is exactly what brings our main character, Andrew, on board the Titanic. He is to visit America with his fiancee and her brother as chaperone. Everyone is impressed by the Titanic’s luxury and safety, but while he appreciates these things…. Well, I don’t want to give any spoilers here, so here’s a brief excerpt:

 

“Come on, jump and I’ll follow you!” Andrew shouted above the rumbling noise from all around them. Matthew held on to Andrew’s hand for a brief second, squeezing, as they gave each other silent encouragement. Then Matthew jumped.

Andrew watched him hit the water, which was now only a few feet below. He took a step off the edge of the deck and leaped. The water was bitterly cold, like a thousand knives being driven into his body. He could barely breathe, but he had to find Matthew. Andrew looked behind him as the lights blinked and went out and the ship towered above him in the darkness. People were jumping, splashing near him, crying out.

He thought he heard someone calling his name, so he swam toward the sound. He only got a few feet before he was showered with pieces of glass, wood, and scraps of metal and sparks; the screech of tortured steel drowned out all other noise, except the voice that persistently called his name.

An arm grabbed at Andrew and pulled him under, but he somehow managed to break free. He came up next to a collapsible boat with a handful of people huddled together inside watching the scene unfold in front of them. Andrew hung on to the side of the boat and followed their gaze.

The ship was breaking in half, sparks lighting up rooms laid bare, the two remaining funnels toppling over. He barely missed being whipped by a torn cable. The forward half of the ship plunged under the surface, sucking in ocean, people, and wreckage along with it. He felt the water pulling him backward, but strong arms grabbed him and drew him aboard the boat. He sat on the bottom and lay against another man’s body. Outlined in the darkness, he saw two men near him with boards, paddling the boat away from the ship. He looked from them back to the Titanic.

***

 

I hope you enjoyed that brief scene from Ocean of Secrets.

I was inspired to write Ocean of Secrets about two years ago when I read a book titled Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage, by Hugh Brewster. He gives a look into the privileged lives of the first class passengers on board the Titanic. In his book he introduces us to Frank D. Millet, a noted artist, whom you also meet in Ocean of Secrets. In a letter that he mailed to a friend from Queenstown (Cobh as it’s known today) he mentions “A queer lot of people”, and also that there were many of “Our kind of people” on board. He doesn’t name names, so they are lost forever; but another first class passenger named Archie Butt, the military advisor and friend to President Taft, was mentioned by Mr. Bewster as another gay man also in first class. He was devoted to his mother, he planned White House parties and other social functions, and he also had an eye for women’s fashion. (In a letter he goes into great detail about a female friend’s dress). It could be argued that those were just the times he lived in, when a man could be a mother’s boy without raising suspicion. We also meet him briefly in Ocean of Secrets.

Any information about them is lost to history; but in second class, a Mr. Fynney and his lover, a Mr. Gaskell, were also known to be on board. They were both lost in the sinking.

It was after reading Mr. Brewster’s book that I decided to write a novel about the Titanic. My original idea was to write about Archie Butt, the president’s advisor and friend. But like in any novel, the characters will want to tell their own story. So I set down a story about a romance between a first class passenger and a steward. Men from two different social backgrounds and experiences in those years before the Great War, when classes were segregated from one another, and loving anyone outside one’s own social circle was taboo.

Our main character, Andrew Elliot, is the son of a Scottish noble family. I have to admit that along with our other hero, Matthew Ahearn, he is one of my favorite characters. Like me, he’s bookish and sensitive, and he’s willing to sacrifice his own happiness to make others happy. Again, no spoilers here….

And now a word about the background of our villains: In the days of the great liners there were professional card players, and there were con-artists who worked in teams. A man and woman would be traveling together as brother and sister or a married couple. On the first day of the voyage they would befriend a man — of course, after finding out his financial and social situation from an obliging steward (they knew everyone’s business). Gradually, the woman would tell him tales or her cruel brother/husband/family, and appeal to him for help. He would be reluctant at first, but then she would show up at his cabin in tears/bruised, and the brother or husband would walk in and catch them. To avoid scandal they would oblige him to pay them for silence.

I really enjoy writing historic/romantic fiction. It involves a lot of research into customs, manners, language, and even music. During the writing of Ocean of Secrets, I listened to period music on a Victrola, which is another of my interests, to immerse myself in the 1912 frame of mind. The music is also available on Youtube, especially ‘Alexander’s Ragtime Band’.

Getting words and phrases correct was another issue. One of the words you will read in Ocean of Secrets is “Josser”, which is an Edwardian term for someone who is a fool/simpleton.

Now for a little about me: I currently live in Chicago with my husband Dean, and two rambunctious cats named Monty and Nicky. Perhaps an adopted child will be in our future. I’m interested in all things historical and collect books and antique phonographs. My favorite machine is a baby grand piano-shaped phonograph from the early 1920′s.

Ghosts and the paranormal are also other subjects that intrigue me. In Ocean of Secrets there are two ghost tales. One is told to Andrew by another passenger, and the second…. Well, again, no spoilers….

 

I have four other books available from Dreamspinner Press:
The Saint of San Francisco
The Rosary and the Badge
Nobel’s Savior
Fair In Love

 

You can find me on social media: Facebook or Twitter (@JerrySacher1). My website is JerrySacher.com.

I am definitely interested in writing another historic romance/fiction novel. Is there any time period/historic event you would like to see portrayed? Leave me a comment/question, and I’ll be happy to answer. The person with the best answer will receive an EBook of one my backlist titles!

Thanks for joining me for the release of Ocean of Secrets.

Check out Ocean of Secrets today!

OceanOfSecrets_postcard_front_DSP

Blurb: 

Andrew Elliot, the son of a Scottish nobleman, is being sent to America, accompanied by his fiancée and her brother. But Andrew’s engagement is not a love match. His family insists that he marries to “cure” him of his feelings for the son of the caretaker on his father’s estate.

Matthew Ahearn leaves Ireland to pursue his dream of becoming a Texas cowboy. In London, a brush with the law almost derails his plans, but Matthew perseveres and lands a job as a third-class steward on a ship bound for America.

Andrew’s and Matthew’s worlds collide as they—and their secrets—are brought together in the magic of an ocean voyage, one that will never be forgotten.

The year is 1912, and they are about to board RMS Titanic….

7 Responses to “DSP and Jerry Sacher Journey Back to Titanic and 1912 – Post + Giveaway”

  1. Michelle says:

    Wow! This one is going on the wishlist immediately. I love Titanic stories, and when you add a forbidden romance? It is not to be missed. Thanks!

  2. Andrea says:

    This sounds interesting. Does any of the action take place in Cobh? It’s a neat little town with an interesting history.

    What about America in the time just before the American Revolution? And maybe explore a bit the conflict within the colonies between those loyal to the Crown and the revolutionaries? I don’t necessarily want a story set during the Revolution but would really like one set in the last few years before with all the turmoil and the discussions and events leading up to it.

  3. Jerry Sacher says:

    The Titanic only stopped very briefly in Cobh, but when we first meet Matthew, he is in Belfast where is brother and a friend are both involved in the construction of the Titanic.

    I like the idea about a story set in the time before the American Revolution…Maybe a colonist who is a doctor and a loyalist from the British Army.

  4. Andrea says:

    Hmm, yes that sounds interesting. :) I was thinking along the lines of two “Americans” with opposing views on the matter because I think it is a fascinating period in which it was not easy for people on either side of the line and there is little emphasis on the fact that not all colonists were in favor of the Revolution. But this is little geek me… ;)

  5. Jerry Sacher says:

    That’s a good idea too…I am going stew on the idea in my head….

  6. Jerry Sacher says:

    Andrea, you have the wheels turning now…

  7. Andrea says:

    And my work is done. ;) Now I only need to hope and wait on the results. :)

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