Beyond the Story – Sharing Hamilton

Philadelphia, 1791. James and Maria Reynolds are flat broke. Well aware of the attraction between his wife and Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, James hatches a plan to blackmail Alexander and get rich – and sends Maria to seduce him.

Meanwhile, the mysterious Dr. Severus Black befriends the Hamiltons and becomes a close confidant of Alexander’s wife, Eliza. While Mrs. Hamilton grows fond of the handsome doctor, she also senses something different about the debonair young man.

Simultaneously, a vicious serial killer is stalking the city by night. As Hamilton’s affair with Maria runs headlong towards personal and professional catastrophe, the constables of Philadelphia draw a net around the emerged killer of young serving girls.

But what connection could Dr. Black have with the murders, which a hundred years later would be mirrored in his own country… by none other than Jack the Ripper?

In Sharing Hamilton, historical romance author Diana Rubino and award-winning myster/thriller writer Brian L. Porter uniquely blend the mystery and romance genres, based on the true story of the Hamilton affair with the added spice of a serial killer stalking the streets of USA’s first capital city.

My guest this week has not only stepped from the pages of this historical romantic mystery, but he’s stepped into the future.

SJJ: Welcome to Beyond the Story. Please tell our readers your full name.

SB: Well, hello there. My name, to give you my full title, is Doctor Severus Black, although for reasons that will be evident to those who have read the book in which I am featured, I am now known as Doctor Solomon Bruckman.

SJJ: I believe this is the first time I’ve interviewed a doctor on Beyond the Story. Now do I call you Dr. or just Severus or maybe Solomon? You know what I’ll just stick with doctor. So, tell us Dr., where do you live?

SB: I am currently residing in a small township known as Queenstown in the Natal Province of South Africa, having previously lived and worked in London, Liverpool, Paris and Philadelphia.

SJJ: Wow, you sure do (or is it did?) get around. I mean it’s 1791 where you come from.
And how would you describe your personality? Who are you, Dr. Black?

SB: That’s a tricky question really as I’d say my personality is rather multi-faceted.Most of the time, you would probably describe me as affable, some would say charming, and meticulous in all I do. There are times, however, when to be totally honest, I seem to undergo something of a metamorphosis, when another, let’s say, darker side of my nature tends to overwhelm me and takes control of my actions.

SJJ: So, what you’re saying is sometimes you’re a little Jekyll and sometimes you’re a little Hyde. (Laughs at her own joke).

Well, if that is what you’re like now, what were you like as a child? Did you have a happy childhood?

SB: My childhood was not what one would describe as a happy one. My father was a rather overbearing and dominating Presbyterian Church Minster in a small village in Norfolk, called Fenworthy Magna. He was an authoritarian and a fierce disciplinarian and his word was law in our home. I always felt my mother lived in fear of him as did I and my elder brother, Julian. The only person he showed any signs of affection towards was my little sister, Claudia. Beatings were a regular part of my life, for the merest infraction or failure to correctly quote scripture for example. I looked forward to the day when I would be old enough to leave home and make my own way in the world, especially after my sister’s death at an early age, and the death of my mother, of I think, a broken heart. My father’s behaviour towards me and my brother at her funeral was to put it mildly, diabolical and probably shaped the man I am today.

SJJ: I am so sorry you had such a troubled upbringing. But look at you now. I’m sure you are a successful doctor.

So, Dr., what kind of doctor are you?

SB: I am a physician, specialising in the treatment of women’s illnesses and diseases, the only job I have ever wanted to do. I was able to gain entry to the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries at an early age, later moving to the Royal College of Surgeons where I completed my training.

SJJ: You are lucky to have found your calling so early in life.

Do you have any obstacles in your life preventing your from achieving your goals?

SB: I am determined and single-minded and have never allowed anything or anyone to stand in the way of my goals in life, either professional or personal, though the French detective, LeClerc, who had tracked me all the way from Paris has interfered greatly in my life in recent years, which eventually led me to obtain passage on the barque, Emerald, bound for Brazil, from where I then obtained passage as ship’s doctor on the clipper ship, Lady Marian, arriving in South Africa some six weeks later.

SJJ: (Tracking you? Why would a French detective be tracking you?)

(Clears throat and stares at him suspiciously) Um, so, can you tell your readers something about you that not everyone knows?

SB: It is said that I am an expert on the dance floor. I do enjoy the opportunity that dancing affords me to get close to the ladies that would otherwise be beyond my reach on a social level. It is a little-known fact that I was schooled in the art of dancing by a real princess, whose name I shall not reveal, but who not only schooled me in the art of dance, but also in certain ways of conducting, shall we say, affairs of the heart?

SJJ: Dancing eh? (I suppose he’s not about to tell this audience anything incriminating).

Are there any defining moments in your life that made you who you are today?

SB: Definitely. I previously mentioned my father’s behaviour at my mother’s funeral. He, Aldous Black, with a heart as black as his name knew that my brother and I cared deeply for our mother, but we were only nine and seven years old when she died of a terrible wasting disease, which I’m sure was brought on by her heart being broken at the loss of my little sister at the age of four. Not only did my father force my brother and I to assist him in preparing my mother’s body for the funeral, but he publicly forced my brother and I to kiss her corpse in full view of the congregation in church. I will never forget the feel of her dead, cold, wax-like skin as she lay in the open coffin. It affected me for a long time to come and probably gave me my first shred of interest in the human body as a thing, rather than a living being and led me to go on to my chosen profession.

SJJ: What a terrible thing to do to young children. And I would think your mother’s death from disease was the catalyst that led you to become a doctor. Seems a little odd that you’d rather treat a body like a thing. But, hey, whatever makes you tick, I guess.

Do you have any regrets, Severus, I mean Dr.?

SB: I have regretted leaving every city in which I have practised both my medical practice, and my other activities. In particular, I dearly regret leaving Philadelphia as I enjoyed such a wonderful relationship with the ladies of polite society and especially the close bond I had developed with the beautiful Mrs. Eliza Hamilton counting her among my most favoured patients. Unfortunately, the activities of the forces of law enforcement, in particular Detective LeClerc were making life difficult as they appeared to be ready to attempt to take me into custody over the unexplained deaths of a number of unimportant serving wenches.

SJJ: Woah! What? (Shifts uncomfortably) Forget it. I don’t want to know. Well, I do… but I don’t.

Moving on. Is there anyone you look up to, consider to be a mentor, either in the past or right now? Or should I say in the past or further in the past?

SB: One of my earliest teachers in the art of the anatomy of the female body, Doctor Frederick Musgrove will always retain a place in my memory as a great mentor and teacher.

SJJ: Aww, that’s nice.

When you think of all your accomplishments, what is your proudest moment?

SB: That would be the first time I realised how incredibly easy it was to charm the ignorant and ill-educated working-class serving wenches of London into my clutches. How simple it was to lure them into my clutches so that I could indulge my nocturnal passions on their pathetic persons.

SJJ: (Pushes chair back a little further) OK, um. I… I don’t know how to respond to that. Um, you know that Jekyll and Hyde reference earlier was a joke, right?

SB: (Darkness clouds his face and he glares)

SJJ: I’m just going to move on with my interview questions (shuffles paper). What’s your idea of the perfect day?

SB: Visiting and treating the ladies of polite society, followed by, perhaps, an evening at a glittering social function, dancing with those very ladies, and engaging in conversation with them and their husbands on all manner of subjects, followed by a late-night sojourn into the dark streets in search of a young victim with whom I can indulge my nefarious tastes.

SJJ: (Jaw drops) Wow! You’re just really letting it all out, aren’t you? Related to Jack, are you? Never mind, don’t answer that. I don’t want to know.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

SB: My strengths are my knowledge and skills in the treatment of women’s ailments, which I consider to be greater than most of my contemporaries. I suppose my greatest weakness, if I have any, would be my inability to control my baser impulses, though I would hesitate to classify them as a sign of weakness.

SJJ: I remember reading once that a lot of great surgeons are sociopaths, or is it psychopaths? But you know they aren’t dangerous. (Laughs nervously) Never mind.

What do you do for fun?

SB: I dance, I charm the ladies of society, and do I really need to answer to my other favoured pastime?

SJJ: Nope, not at all. Moving on.

What do you do to relax?

SB: I go out for late-night walks in the moonlight.

SJJ: And here I was hoping you’d say reading a good book, or taking a warm bath… alone.
This probably won’t resonate with you, being that you’re a…. forget it. What is your most embarrassing moment?

SB: Embarrasing? Well, I suppose the night I was almost caught whilst enjoying my dalliance with Caroline, the daughter of Seamus Carew, butcher of Philadelphia was something of an embarrassment to me. A zealous and very vigilant constable later named in the newspapers as Constable Fry, almost laid hands on me in the alley where I had just strangled the girl. Only my quick thinking in charging at the constable, pushing him to the ground where he hit his head and was knocked unconscious allowing me to complete my work and make my getaway, unhindered.

SJJ: Oh, for goodness sake! I did not need for you to go into the gory details. Thankfully, I’ve only a few questions left and then you can go back to wherever you came from. Honestly!!!

What are your plans for the future? Wait, let me guess – not get caught by the detective?

SB: I have a good life in Queenstown, as the doctor to the people of the township, where I am a well-respected member of the community as Doctor Bruckman. It is a largely Jewish community, and I have found it easy to adopt the ways of these pious folk. I have not indulged my basest instincts within the township as to do so might lay me open to accusations, but I make occasional journeys to Cape Town on the pretext of visiting friends, where I once again have the opportunity to take advantage of the plentiful young females of the lower order of society.

SJJ: You are one sick…

SB: (Glares)

SJJ: Three more questions and you can be on your way.

If a movie was made about your life, who would you want to play you?

SB: The English actor Ben Barnes, who played the lead in the 2009 movie, Dorian Gray, would be ideal to play me, as he even looks quite a lot like me.

SJJ: Now how would you know about him? He’s not from your time. Unless you’ve stepped out… never mind. I don’t want to know.

Are you happy with the way the narrator told your story in Sharing Hamilton?

SB: Yes, I was extremely happy with the way my story was told and with how I was depicted. After all, I have spent years perfecting my role of the perfect ‘English gentleman doctor’ which is precisely how I was portrayed.

SJJ: Uhuh! A gentleman eh?

If you could change one thing that happened in your story, would you? Can you elaborate or would it give too much away?

SB: It would have been perfect if that interfering Frenchman, LeClerc had not been invited to Philadelphia by the city authorities, having nearly laid his hands on me during my time in Paris. The man knew too much and if I’d remained in the city, he would probably have found me and my story would have ended at the end of a rope. If he hadn’t turned up, perhaps I could have stayed there and indulged myself for a year or two longer, before moving on. But as the Frenchies say, ‘C’est la vie’. Don’t worry, by the time you publish this account of my story, Dr Solomon Bruckman will be no more and will have moved on to pastures new. Where? I’m not sure, but the world as they say, is my oyster…

SJJ: Well, ah, thank you Severus Black for being so candid. I certainly wasn’t expecting that. You are free to climb back into you book. And as they say – don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

Severus Black is a character in the book, Sharing Hamilton, co-authored by Brian L Porter and Diana Rubino. Originally written as a historical romance by Diana, her agent liked the book but felt it would benefit from having ‘something extra’ added to it, perhaps by the addition of a serial killer backstory. Enter Diana’s old friend, British Murder/mystery author Brian L Porter. Diana asked Brian if he would be able to add a serial killer element to her book, without affecting the original story too much. He set to work and very soon, not only was Severus Black created, but the story of his nefarious nighttime activities seemed to slip seamlessly into the original story, and the result was the #1 bestselling book, Sharing Hamilton.

Author Bios

Brian L Porter

Brian is a multi award-winning, bestselling author, perhaps best known for his Mersey Murder Mystery series, set in and around the city of Liverpool, and in complete contrast his true-life Family of Rescue Dogs series. Most recently, his Cold War mystery/thriller, Pestilence: Breathe if you Dare, was the winner of the Best Mystery Novel Award in the Critters Readers Choice Awards 2020. He has so far penned 28 Amazon bestsellers, writing as Brian L Porter, Harry Porter and Juan Pablo Jalisco. He is also an accomplished poet, and his poetry collections are also Amazon bestsellers. He lives with his wife and their family of 9 rescue dogs, in the north of England. You can find all his books on his author pages at Amazon, just search for Brian L Porter and follow him (as Harry Porter) on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/harry.porter.12139862

Diana Rubino

Diana is an Amazon Top 100 Bestselling author. Her passion for history has take her to every setting of her historical and biographical novels: England, Franc, Egypt, Italy, and all over the United States. The contemporary fantasy “Fakin’ It”, set in Manhattan, won a Romantic Times Top Pick award. She’s the owner of engineering business CostPro Inc., golfer, pianist, rachquetballer, fitness nut, Jersey Shore Italian, and real estate tycoon on the side. Visit www.dianarubino.com, DianaRubinoAuthor on Facebook and @DianaLRubino on Twitter.

Author Interview – Brian L. Porter

I am happy to have Author Brian L. Porter as my interview guest this week.

Brian is an award winning and best-selling author who has numerous published works and writes under three names.

I have read one of Brian’s mystery novels, A Mersey Killing, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and I plan on reading more.

Read our interview below to learn a little more about Brian L. Porter.

About Writing/Books/Being an Author

1. Do you remember the first book you read that had an impact on you – in what way and what was the name of that book?

Yes, I was about eight years old when I received a copy of Biggles Goes to War, by Captain W.E. Johns, for Christmas and I was immediately hooked on the whole concept of the adventure story. I ended up asking my parents to buy me another Biggles book for my birthday in March and I gradually accumulated many of the Biggles stories. They had such an impact on me that I decided to join the RAF, (Royal Air Force) when I grew up, and that ambition stayed with me until I did indeed join the RAF at the age of seventeen.

2. When did you first realize you wanted to write?

Although I always loved the written word, it wasn’t until my later years, that I finally entered the world of the author. I’d suffered a mental breakdown and one of my nurses suggested writing poetry as therapy. I did just as she suggested and was surprised when people responded well to my poetry. I went on to write many poems and a friend suggested I should try and have them published. In the end I had over 200 poems published in various anthologies, and then, once again at a friend’s suggestion I tried my hand at short stories, having seen an advert for a short story contest at my local library. I didn’t win, but my story was highly commended, and I spent a couple of years writing short stories until the urge to become a ‘real’ author gripped me and I wrote my first novel, A Study in Red, The Secret Journal of Jack the Ripper. After over twenty rejection letters from various publishers, I decided to try submitting the book to American and Canadian publishers, and I was delighted when the book was accepted within weeks, by Double Dragon Publishing in Canada, and I was on my way. That was about fifteen years ago, and I’ve really never looked back since that time, with over twenty Amazon bestsellers to my name so far, including four bestselling children’s and young adult books written under my Harry Porter pseudonym.

3. Who is/are your favourite author(s)?

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Clive Cussler, Tess Gerritsen, Alistair MacLean.

4. What is your favourite thing about writing? What is your least favourite thing about writing?

I love the freedom of being able to work when I want to and create new characters and new worlds in my fiction. I hate it when I sometimes hit a brick wall in the middle of a book, and have to take a break from writing until my inspiration returns and I’m able to continue.

5. Where do your ideas come from?

For my mystery/thrillers, the ideas usually come from my own imagination. I’ve often thought of the idea for a new book while lying in the bath or while shaving. When that happens, I get the full story in my head and then begins the task of researching any details needed to make the book true to life and realistic. For my Family of Rescue Dogs series, everything of course is real life, as they all are true stories.

6. I’ve often found that creative people have more than one talent, what is yours?

I’m a proficient dog trainer and oversee the training of our family of ten rescue dogs. I also used to be a pretty good bass guitarist and played in a number of groups as we called them in those days, when I was younger.

7. If you could jump inside a book for one day (as an observer) what book would it be?

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

8. When you create characters, are they completely made up or do they resemble or remind you of people you know?

In my Mersey Mystery series, the central characters are actually based on members of my own family, as I recall them from my younger days in Liverpool. In my other fiction mystery/thrillers the characters are all created from my imagination.

9. How do you come up with titles for your books?

They usually suggest themselves to me, based on the subject matter of the book.

10. What are you working on now and can you tell us about it?

I’m currently working on Book 8 of my Mersey Mystery series, A Liverpool Lullaby (He Loves them to Death). A serial killer is loose on the streets of Liverpool. Women’s mutilated bodies are discovered in isolated places, their hearts surgically removed, a rose and a tape recorder left close to the body, with lullabies on them. Detective Inspector Andy Ross and his team from the Merseyside Police, Special Murder Investigation Team, are tasked with the job of apprehending the murderer, who is soon dubbed ‘The Doctor’. As the tension in the city rises, Ross and his team think they know who the killer is. The trouble is, nobody knows where he is or who his next victim might be.

I’ve also just started the 7th book in my bestselling Family of Rescue Dogs series, the life story of three siblings we adopted 7 years ago, as yet untitled.

11. Have you won any awards for your writing/books and if so what?

I’ve won quite a few.

The Best Book We’ve Read all Year 2018 (A Mersey Maiden) from Readfree.lyBest Mystery Novel, 2018 (A Mersey Maiden) from TCK PublishingBest Mystery Novel, 2017 (Last Train to Lime Street) from TCK PublishingBest Non fiction winner 2018 (Cassie’s Tale) Readfree.lyBest Non fiction book, 2018 (Cassie’s Tale) Critters.orgBest Non fiction book, 2017 (Sheba: From Hell to Happiness) Critters/Preditors & Editors Readers PollBest Non fiction book, 2016 (Sasha) Preditors & Editors Readers PollBest Non fiction book, 2016 (Sasha) Readfree.ly Best Mystery Novel, 2017 (A Very Mersey Murder) Readfree.lyBest Mystery Novel, 2016 (A Mersey Mariner) Readfree.lyBest Author 2009 Award, Preditors & Editors Readers PollBest Thriller Novel, 2008 (A Study in Red, The Secret Journal of Jack the Ripper) Preditors & Editors Readers PollBest Poet, 2008, (as Juan Pablo Jalisco) Preditors & Editors Readers PollBest Thriller Novel, 2009 (Legacy of the Ripper) Preditors & Editors Readers PollBest Mystery Novel 2010 (Glastonbury) Preditors & Editors Readers PollBest Thriller Novel 2010 (Requiem for the Ripper) Preditors & Editors Readers Poll

A Little More Personal

12. What is one thing you haven’t done but would like to do?

Pilot a jet fighter plane.

13. Have you ever experienced something weird you could not explain?

My wife and I were sitting watching TV one night when an ornament of an Edwardian Coach and Horses inexplicably and suddenly shot across the room, as if jet propelled. Spooky huh?

14. Are you superstitious? Do you have any rituals for good luck?

Definitely not.

15. What is the strangest thing you have ever eaten?

Call me boring but I’ve never eaten anything that could be described as ‘strange’.

16. Do you have a favourite vacation spot? Where?

I love Puerto Vallarta on Mexico’s Pacific Coast, where Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor owned houses opposite each other, connected by a ‘love bridge’ that was sealed by iron gates at each end when they divorced and opened up again when they remarried. It’s also where I met a wonderful old man called Jesus who taught me all about the history and culture of his country and inspired me to create my alter-ego of Juan Pablo Jalisco, author of the bestselling romantic poetry collection, Of Aztecs and Conquistadors.

17. Can you tell us about one of your favourite childhood memories?

I loved visiting my grandparents’ home, where my Grandad had an orchard, and during the summer he’d take me round the orchard, explaining the different types of apples growing there. In those days, I had a tricycle with a ‘boot’ on the back, U.S. readers would call it a trunk I suppose. My grandad would climb his ladder, moving from tree to tree and then throw apples down to me, with which I’d fill the trike’s boot until it was full. I’d go home laden with fresh apples and I can still remember the beautiful, tasty apple pies, apple charlottes and apple crumbles my Mother would make with those fresh apples, fresher than any that could be bought in the shops. I still remember the smell of them as they baked in the oven and can almost taste the sweet apples and beautiful pastry my Mum used to make.

18. What makes you happy?

I love to see my wife’s smile. When she’s happy, so am I. With ten rescue dogs sharing our home, I also love to see them all happy, with their tails wagging and full of fun.

19. If you aren’t writing (or doing anything associated with writing), what are you doing?

Usually I’d be walking one or more of our dogs, or just playing with them, and training them. Of course, as I write their life stories in my Family of Rescue Dogs series, I suppose you could even call that writing related, too.

20. Have you ever met anyone famous – who?

During my time in the RAF I was once a member of the guard of honour for the Queen when she visited the Central Flying School, where I was stationed at the time, although I didn’t meet her of course. In my later life I met numerous British actors and comedians, including Eric Sykes, Roy Hudd OBE, Jimmy Edwards, Kevin Whately, and more.

Brian’s Links

Website: http://www.brianlporter.co.uk
Amazon Page : https://www.amazon.com/Brian-L-Porter/e/B00466KITC