Friday 22 March 2019

Join Historical Fiction author, Chris Formant, as he takes a minute to reflect on the last two weeks since his fabulous book Saving Washington hit the shelves.

Saving Washington — the last two weeks!

By Chris Formant

It’s been less than 2 weeks since the release of Saving Washington. A whirlwind of TV, radio, interviews and book events, including a well attended one at the 92 Street Y in NYC. Culminating in the announcement that one of HBO’s top producers (Big Little Lies, Deadwood) optioned the story for a possible mini-series, and having the dramatic book cover splashed on the large video screens on Times Square. All very heady stuff for my second book.

But, when I sat down to write this blog, those things aren’t the ones that had the biggest impact on me.

I wrote Saving Washington because I wanted to bring light to an event that had been virtually lost in history. One that saved our young country from certain disaster just 6 weeks after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

At every event and also directly contacting me via my website or social media, I have struck a chord with a diverse range of followers. The Sons of the American Revolution, American Legion, historical societies, re-enactor groups all reached out. I had expected that. 

What was unexpected was the reaction of teachers, kids from 7 years to college age, and  African-American organizations. All were shocked to learn of the forgotten story of ‘America’s 400 Spartans” and that not only were black patriots part of the Continental Army, but that the Revolutionary War had the most integrated combat force until the Korean War.

What it underscored for me was the value of historical fiction’s role in bringing to life America’s past and the importance of making it relevant to more than just history junkies.

It also underscored how emotionally touched many readers have been re-living the purity of heart and the bravery of the young men from Maryland.

Personally, I think the diverse reaction comes from America’s hunger for the type of true heroes that forged the young United States. The kind that people look up to. Try to emulate. That inspire them. That find ways of including not excluding.

I heard recently that many middle schools don’t even begin American History education until the Civil War, I was flabbergasted. Imagine the same kids who know every word of Hamilton, not being taught about the founding of our country. 

But it also made me proud that in a small way, Saving Washington can help bring heroes to our children but also remind us older kids what real patriots are.

“Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism…”
George Washington

Saving Washington

The lost story of “America’s 400 Spartans”—an army of unexpected heroes who changed the course of history.

On a marshy Brooklyn battlefield on August 27, 1776, four hundred men from Baltimore, Maryland assembled to do battle against a vastly superior British army. Seemingly overnight, these young soldiers had matured from naïve teenagers to perhaps the most important, yet most forgotten, citizen soldiers in all of American history: “America’s 400 Spartans.”

Saving Washington follows young Joshua Bolton and his childhood friend Ben, a freed black man, as they witness British tyranny firsthand, become enraptured by the cause, and ultimately enlist to defend their new nation in a battle that galvanized the American nation on the eve of its birth. 

Chris Formant’s gripping tale blends real-life historical figures and events with richly developed fictional characters in a multi-dimensional world of intrigue, romance, comradeship, and sacrifice, transporting us two-and-a-half centuries back in time to the bustling streets of Baltimore and the bloody, smoke-filled carnage of battle in Brooklyn.


Courtesy of Permuted Press.

After the wake, she returned to her bedroom and shuttered the blinds. She lay back down and allowed the days to pass, not distinguishing morning from evening. She didn’t eat—she had no appetite whatsoever—only she did have a blurred recollection of Lydia coming and going with tea, which she had cajoled her into sipping.

Why Sam…why?

“Mary?” Lydia asked.

Mary didn’t realize she had uttered the words aloud and wasn’t aware of Lydia’s presence in her bedroom. She had no idea how long she had been hovering over her. “What do you want?” she snapped.

“It’s time,” Lydia answered, flinging open the blinds. The room instantly flooded with morning sunlight.

Mary, frozen on her bed, shielded her eyes with her arm.

Lydia had never seen her in such poor condition: She looked frayed and fragile, already shedding pounds from lack of sustenance. “Let me give you a hand…”

Lydia wasn’t about to give her any say in the matter. She took Mary by both hands and coaxed her into sitting up and then onto her feet. Lydia hardened her grip to help Mary as she waivered. Mary’s face flushed. “You all right?”

“A bit dizzy…but I’ll be all right,” Mary said, steadying herself on her own.

“We’d better get a move on; we’re a bit late,” Lydia said. “There’s quite a fuss out there already.”

Lydia helped Mary undress and hoist on an all-black dress with an embroidered matching shawl. She adjusted the silver brooch on Mary’s chest and then reached for a brush on the nightstand. Mary plucked the brush out of her friend’s hand. “No—I can brush my own hair, thank you very much.”

“Ah, good,” Lydia remarked, stepping back. “Returning to your wonderful old curmudgeon self, I see.”

Mary brushed out her knotted hair, wrapped it into a bun, and pinned it all together. Her color and strength were somehow returning to her all on their own.

“What are you going to say?” Lydia asked, handing her an appropriate black hat and thickly netted veil.

“I suppose I’ll know when I step out there,” she replied.

After a bit more primping, Mary announced, “Ready.”

They made their way through the house, opened the door, and paused together in the doorway, astonished at the sight in front of them: A stream of mourners dressed in black had gathered to pay their respects. Seeing Mary, they all began to remove their hats, out of respect. Further down the street, patriot supporters seethed with pent-up rage as they held protest signs and flags at their sides.

Mary felt her eyes become misty and gulped back tears. She was thankful to have the veil as a shield.

“Sam’s death has changed everything,” Lydia said, her voice quivering.

Mary smoothed the wrinkles in her dress with her hands and stepped forward into the mass of townspeople—whites and Negroes, men and women, merchants and dockworkers, city dwellers and local aristocrats in their finery—clapping in her honor. The reactions became deafening, engulfing her tiny frame.

When she reached the center of the crowd, she held up her pale hand and everyone fell silent. “Thank you all…for gathering here today,” she sputtered. “Sam…would have been honored by your presence.”

The crowd cheered. Mary could hardly believe that all of this fuss was for her husband, a reserved man who didn’t particularly enjoy being the center of attention.

“I was informed that my husband was killed four days ago…a senseless act of cowardice,” she said under her breath. “I have been trying to come to terms with it…to understand why. To know why the Lord would claim my husband…and why He did so in such a brutal manner. Sam was a moderate, religious, and peaceful man. He never harmed a soul…. He deserved nothing but honor and respect.”

Her surrounding audience responded with applause, but she would have none of it. She raised both hands and quieted them down with a voice that was unexpectedly strong and unbroken. “But that is not really the entire reason why you are all here, is it? It took me a long time—far too long—to realize that a terrible evil has infiltrated our land. They tax us with impunity. They force our businesses into debt. They march troops through our cities to the north. They treat us as if we are not worthy of their citizenship. Now they murder us in cold blood when we speak our minds. I say, ‘No more!’ There comes a time when even the lambs must fight against the wolves. I believe with all of my heart and with all my soul that the Lord is on the side of the lambs. We are the chosen ones who will be delivered!

The claps, whistles, and cries surrounded her with such force that she once again became unsteady. She could hardly believe such rebellious words had come from her lips. But she was not finished…not yet. When the crowd simmered down, she continued, “I know many people in our colonies remain loyal to the Crown. Until this week, I too had doubts about our cause. But I say to you now: Any sovereign who would tax, pillage, and murder his own subjects does not deserve our loyalty. We are God’s children, not the king’s!”

She gazed downward, exhausted. The crowd roared out of control, chanting and cheering. Lydia held her shoulders for support—and to assure her of how well she had spoken.
“That was the most inspiring speech I’ve ever heard in my life,” a patriot said to her.
“Bless you, Mary, bless you,” sobbed one of her female neighbors.

Greenwood, with his arm in a sling and his eyes wet with tears, somehow found his way to her for an embrace. “You do a great honor to Sam…and all of us.”

She heard a familiar voice from behind. “Mother…I’m speechless.”

Before this tragedy had occurred, Mary had ruminated over the lecture she would give her son the next time she saw him: a harsh combination of inducing guilt and scolding him for having treated his own mother and father with such disrespect. But now that Josh stood right there in front of her—his boyish face smeared with tears—she helplessly fell into his arms and wept.

Pick up your copy of Saving Washington today!

Amazon UK • Amazon US • B&N

Chris Formant

Novelist Chris Formant is a student of history. He’s a former top executive of a multi-billion-dollar global business and now technology company CEO. Formant is an unlikely author of historical fiction, but the heroic story of Maryland’s Forgotten 400 drove him to assemble an expert team to help him conduct painstaking research and then write his highly anticipated second book, SAVING WASHINGTON.

His debut novel, Bright Midnight, received lavish praise and has been dubbed the “Da Vinci Code for rock and roll fans.” In the thriller, Formant created a unique mystery in which he re-imagined the deaths of rock icons as murders. Chris divides his time between Baltimore, Maryland and Sedona, Arizona.

Connect with Chris: Website • Facebook • Twitter • Linkedin

1 comment:

  1. This book is definitely on my to-read list now. Such a great excerpt.


See you on your next coffee break!
Take Care,
Mary Anne xxx