The Sudbury Publishing Group is pleased to debut Jill C. Baker’s Sutherland Series, starting with Tory Roof. These are books of historical fiction that utilize a touch of paranormal to propel the plots — all of which connect past to present and end with a twist.
While each of these titles stands alone, they are connected by members of the Sutherland family, all of whom, via a series of mechanisms, can traverse time.
Baker’s goal is to create a forum for entertainment, escape, and imagination, giving the reader permission to ponder, “What if?”
Baker is an accomplished copywriter and media marketer who has been bent on trying her hand at long-form content. When asked about her target audience, she chuckles. “I’m not sure yet. I’m testing the water.”
Tory Roof, the first book, is a woman’s story – a lush, unfolding account of love and adventure that challenges Sarah Sutherland’s marriage and mental stability. In trying to sell a vintage home, she encounters Terrence, a fiery Revolutionary War agitator, and is drawn to him physically and emotionally. Sarah becomes a resister, a writer, and a mother. Parallel plots connect modern day New England to 1765 as Sarah tries to reconcile her two realities. She eventually learns that the people around her are not as they seem and that her life is in danger.
Silver Line picks up with Sarah’s son, Jared, who is heading to college in hopes of becoming an investigative reporter. When he meets Alexa, they discover they can slip back into their older, former selves – a rugged miner and beautiful dance hall girl, living in an 1860s Colorado town. Lured by the gritty lifestyle and intensity of a mature relationship, they return to the adventures of the old West while trying to solve a modern museum heist. Unlikely connections bring them to a stark conclusion — that clues to the present lie in the past.
Absent features Sarah’s husband, Carter, a mild-manner science teacher-turned-think-tank-executive, who unlike his family, does not possess extrasensory skills. He is partially color-blind and emotionally reserved, which prompts him to turn to a synesthete – a woman who sees words as colors – for help. She regresses him through 4 sensory-rich journeys that enhance his awareness and provide him with insight for a camouflage project at work. In the process, he stumbles upon something suspicious and a scheme that is more dangerous than he thought.
I grew up in a small town in New York state where my family owned a grocery store—and where I was often enlisted to help.
One summer, as I was shrink-wrapping slices of ham, I was consumed by the sweet, smoky smell emanating from the meat. I immediately felt a sense of the past that conjured up images of campfires and stone hearths. I “saw” Native American women and pioneering men taming the Plains… hardy Colonists and hungry soldiers trying to survive snowy winters. In my mind, there were humble cabins with hard dirt floors, sod huts, and cookstoves being used under the stars.
Of course, none of this aligned with my past, since my Grandparents, like so many others, had come to this country by ship at the turn of the century. So where did these subliminal images originate? Why did they emerge at this random time? Perhaps they were embedded in my DNA, imprinted by prior generations who lived similar lifestyles. Perhaps I had read about these things in musty books borrowed from the one-room library in my home town. Maybe I was simply letting my imagination run wild. Or could it be that I was tuning in to energy that lingered from long ago?
Working in Boston as a young professional, I had a similar experience — transported one night by the smell lifting off a chestnut vendor’s cart. The smoke, mingled with the briny air coming in from the ocean, made me think of sea captains and women on widows’ walks. I felt an acute sense of history, as if I were a first-hand witness. That’s not to say I experienced a physical manifestation as my characters do, but the sensation was so strong and pleasantly persistent, that I wanted to capture it.
Years later, standing in the smokehouse at George Washington’s Mount Vernon, I was again struck by that same sense of déjà vu. At that point, I knew a story had to be told.
Get in the mood for a trip back in time by listening to 9 seconds of sound.
TORY ROOF is now available in paperback and ebook format through 7 online bookstores — accommodating Kindle, Nook, Apple, and Android devices. See the “Buy Now” page for direct linkes.
FREE CHAPTER SAMPLE: To check out Chapter 1, click here. (Viewable on most browsers and mobile devices.) For your convenience, you can purchase and share directly from within the sample.
This story is an easy but intelligent read. Ideal for busy women and working moms. Historically accurate in many ways, but pure fiction.