Kathy Hepinstall’s Blue Asylum (my thoughts) was a quick read on two very interesting subjects – The American Civil War and the definition of insane. i was glad to get the chance to ask Ms. Hepinstall a few quick questions.
Q. There is a famous story (which I cannot recall where I heard) about a psychiatrist who was interviewing a very pleasant man who thought he was a famous figure (Jesus? Napoleon?) . The man asks “what if I’m right”? The phsychologist answered “you might be right, but there are more of us”. Blue Asylum seems t thrive on the notion of who is considered insane at a moment in time. was that the story you set out to write? What’s your opinion?
A. I’m not sure if I set out to write that story, but it ended up that way – I mean, it’s ridiculous, isn’t it, when you think there were people being held in an insane asylum at the exact time we were actually fighting a war in large part, over whether we should keep other human beings as slaves?
I found myself really loving and feeling empathy for the inmates of Sanibel Lunatic Asylum.
Q. why did you decide to set the story in the Civil War era?
A. I think it made a great backdrop to this particular story – the convergence of women’s rights, rights of the “insane”, and the terrible injustice of slavery. Also, my sister and I had written a Civil War book together and she’d already done so much research and had so many ideas, all of which I stole. She has four kids and didn’t notice.
Q. You have some very interesting book promotion ideas (I read your blog). Care to share some?
A. Sometimes when I spook I would take a phone to the front and say that I was waiting for Oprah to call. Once I paid a bunch of college students to readl all my book in front of a prominent bookstore in Austin. And my best effort is … coming up soon (cue ominous music).
Q. Any positive/negative experiences in book promotions?
A. The book business is often about bad news. The key is to have a good time and be kind in all things. That’s my goal, at least.
Q. what are the challenges of book promotions in the social media age?
A. Fewer physical book stores leave a writer uneasy, but there are many opportunities to connect with on line groups and readers more easily than in the past.
Shameless plug disguised as a wise ass question: Why do you love ManOfLaBook.com so much and often visit the website?
Wise Gal Answer: I don’t know – at first it was curiosity, then it grew into an obsession.
Zohar – Man of la Book
I enjoyed your interview. I have already read and loved this book. I love that it is set in the Civil War period. I haven’t read anything about the treatment of the mentally ill in that period before.