Friday, June 30, 2023

1859: Part One by Landon Rogers (Author


Landon L. Rogers

1859: A Novel


Tell your readers a little about yourself, where you grew up, where you live now, where you went to school etc. Let them get to know the personal you.

My name is Landon Rogers; I am an author and musician. I live in Perry, Oklahoma, with my wife, Madelyn, and my two children, Remi and Brosnan. After living in various cities, I moved back to Perry for good in 2010. We enjoy the small-town vibes and relaxed pace, as well as the unique history of our little town. We have a golden retriever, Riggs, and a miniature long-haired dachshund named Dasher. I spend my days writing and my evenings walking around the scenic downtown square of Perry with my family and friends.

What inspired you to author this book?

Well, it has always been one of my aspirations to write a Victorian romance novel, which is what this is in many facets, but I wanted to wait until I had something unique to offer to the genre. I had written several Maxwell Mysteries and completed my first book, A Year of Plague, and the idea of Victorian romance came back.

Now, everything can be connected. This is one of my peculiarities is that I notice correlations, synchronicities, etc., so at the time, I was reviewing several studies regarding neuroplasticity, melatonin monochromatic mediation, and the effects of radiation on the pineal gland. The most common denominator was the Sun, and after searching, I realized that an entire group of people are sensitive to the Sun and its subsequent solar flares. As advanced as some of our medicine and science is, we are only beginning to understand some of the intricacies of heliobiology and heliogeology, the way the sun affects our bodies and planet.


Of course, the greatest solar flare ever recorded happened in 1859, when Richard Carrington proved the existence of solar flares by recording the most dramatic one in recent history. I took a closer look at the year 1859. It was one of dramatic upheaval in both the physical and spiritual. It was a pivotal year for mankind. I was immediately enraptured by the zeitgeist of the year when it seemed so many things were being challenged. Science was evolving, Darwin was coming to prominence with his theory of evolution, and Protestantism was rewriting itself around the textual discovery of the Codex Sinaiticus by Constantin von Tischendorf. On the Earth, there were yearlong volcanos, massive oceanic storms, geomagnetic storms, and, for the first time in history, man drilled a successful oil well. I won't spoil the fun, but in my book, I draw some lines between these things that connect them in a unique way that has profound implications for science and spirituality.

It was an inspiring time, and I imagined what it might be like to live through it, and the allure of capturing that experience proved too much. Three months later, my book 1859 was born.

Where did you get the inspiration for your book’s cover?

Another thing that happened in 1859 was the giant bell known as Big Ben was hoisted into the Tower of London; at the time, it was called St. Stephens Tower, and it was heard for the first time throughout London. The story behind the bell and tower is very unique, and I write about it in the book. In fact, though my book 1859 A Novel is a work of fiction, the facts in the book are almost unbelievable. The cover of the book shows St. Stephens Tower, flanked by Darwin's finches, Drakes oil well, the Royal Charter Storm, and other Easter eggs. It represents the chaos of the year.


Who has been the most significant influence on you personally and as a writer?

The Old Man and the Sea by Hemingway is what opened up the world of writing to me. Because it was a short story, untraditional in some ways, it illuminated the prospect of storytelling through writing. I realized that the story drives the structure, not vice versa. I never looked back.

What were the struggles or obstacles you had to overcome to get this book written?

1859 is a massive book with so many storylines, most of which are based on facts. When you write a pure fiction book, you can run with it. In this case, I had to constantly check my work because the facts and the history were all real! That made it exciting in so many ways but also tedious, I could color how I wanted, but there were already some lines there that I had to be careful to stay inside.

The other quandary, for me as a believer, was trying to balance science and faith, something that was at the forefront of the culture in 1859. Today there is still a struggle on how faith and science can coexist, and the arguments are complex. The subjects range from molecular precursors to complex-specified information, but the dichotomy isn't settled. I had to think how a person of faith in 1859 would reconcile the idea of evolution. Still, I had to use an 1859 mind, which knew nothing of biochemistry, molecular precursors, or bacterial flagellum. It can be a challenge to erase your 'supposed' understanding of the universe and accept a more rudimentary one, but historic understanding is only rudimentary in its vocabulary; you learn that they considered the same things we did, with the same intelligence and the same hearts, so you find that common thread, which is very satisfying.

The other struggle for me was trying to represent the sola scriptura mindset that was reinforced by Constantin von Tischendorf's discovery of the Textus Sainaticus. There was a split, in 1859, between Science and Religion, but there was also a split within Christianity because the driving mechanism of Christianity has become faith in the Bible. That is, the Bible has become, over the centuries, a meta-divine book, whereby many Christians place their beliefs in the Bible alone and consult it for answers. The other sect of Christianity, which all but died in 1859, read the Bible, but consulted God himself for answers and guidance. I tried to represent this in the novel while not being disparaging. I believe in God too, the way Hanson in my book 1859 does, a God that speaks to his creation with no constraints or prerequisites, but mainstream Protestantism has evolved, pardon the pun, into a system of beliefs based on prerequisites. There is no denying the impact that Constantin von Tischendorf had on propelling the philosophy of sola scriptura upon the protestant gestalt, and it is very interesting to consider the history and motivations of how that all happened.


Tell your readers about your book.

1859 has several storylines, but the main storyline follows the budding romance between a man of the cloth, Hanson, and the charming but unpursued Lottie Coniston. It follows the challenges a man of little means faces to find his place and an appropriate footing to socially call upon Lottie, whose father is wealthy and in social rank above Hanson. 1859 also simultaneously tells the story of the Royal Charter Storm, a captain, an oil driller, an orphan boy from Egypt, a blind watchmaker, and a Professor, and it weaves them all together into a cohesive story; everyone is connected, as they endure a litany of geomagnetic and cultural change.


Who is your target audience, and why?

This book is about the human condition, the human spirit, and the search for meaning and balance. Therefore, the target audience is everybody! If you enjoy romance, you'll love this book. If you enjoy history, you will especially love this book. If you like a little conspiracy, this book has it!

1859 has something for everybody!


What do you consider your greatest success in life?

The most important facet of who I am is being a father and a husband and trying every day to represent the truth of being created and loved by God.

What one unique thing sets you apart from other writers in your genre?

As an author, my works of fiction contain so many different intertwined elements that it can be hard to say: he is a romance writer, a mystery writer, or a history writer. The truth is I am all of those; as individuals, we are all of those, aren't we? We all have a little mystery inside of us, a little spirituality, and a little romance! So my books are different in that they are never one-dimensional; there are always simultaneous threads.

When Amber Ray interviewed me for the Perry Daily Journal, she described my book A Year of Plague as an 'allegorical work of literature.' In 10 years of writing, I haven't heard a more astute synopsis of my writing style, so I just give her lots of credit because she hit the nail on the head. I am an allegorical author, whether I intend to be, and in 1859, once again, there are allegories galore!

That's what sets me apart. When you read my books, you are reading a story and a commentary on existentialism, naturalism, spirituality, and culture!