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  An interview with Virginia Rafferty author of The Road to Lattimer.


Why did you write The Road to Lattimer? 


A WW1 draft registration record found on ancestry gave me clues about the lives of my immigrant ancestors who lived near Hazleton, Pennsylvania. Other documents revealed that two generations of my family worked for the A. Pardee Coal company in Lattimer, Pennsylvania. In my effort to understand their experiences in America, I learned of the horrific conditions in coal patch towns, exploitation of immigrant labor, child labor, and, ultimately the strike of 1897 that led to the Lattimer Massacre. It was a story I needed to tell.


Do you use a professional editor? If not, what do you do to ensure a quality book?


 I did use a professional copy editor at one phase of the editing process. I also had the assistance of friends and family, each offering different perspectives and areas of expertise. The final draft of my novel was edited by Chris Fenwick of Sunbury Press.


Do your characters come to you fully formed with names and backgrounds? 


For me the characters evolve as the story progresses. Over time, they seem to take on a life of their own.

Do you write with a theme or message in mind? 


Yes. History has mostly ignored the massacre at Lattimer that took place on September 10, 1897. I wanted to tell the story.


What is the best writing/marketing advice you've been given? 


Join a writers' group, whether it's local or national. Go to a few conferences. Learn the craft.


Do you read your reviews?


Definitely. I read all of the reviews and appreciate hearing from my readers. Writers rely on reviews to help other readers make future purchasing decisions. More than that, understanding that my novels touched a reader, taught them something they didn't know before, or simply provided a welcome interlude brings immense satisfaction.


The Lattimer Massacre was a historical event. Can you recommend further reading on this topic?


Michael Novak's novel, The Guns of Lattimer, gives a vivid account of the events leading to the massacre.  


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