Barnum’s Angel by Len Boswell

by | Feb 26, 2024 | ReadersMagnet Authors' Lounge | 0 comments

What is your book all about?

While touring a London freak show, P. T. Barnum finds a little albino girl named Lily, who was born with wings. He is immediately smitten by her and hopes to turn her into an “angel,” a major money-making attraction that will challenge the diminutive Tom Thumb as his top act. But she is neither girl nor angel. She is something OTHER, a species with unimaginable power, a power she struggles every day to control.

What inspired you to write the book?

Reading. In this case, I was reading two books, the Beagle diaries of Charles Darwin and a book popular at the time: 1421: The Year China Discovered America.

The Darwin book chronicled his every move on the second voyage of HMS Beagle. But I noticed gaps. He would leave the ship at various points along the voyage, sometimes for days, and in a couple of instances, he failed to report on those “missing” days. So I thought, what if he discovered a new species on one of those outings, a species he wanted to keep secret because it threatened a theory he was developing.

Likewise, I found the China book intriguing. The emperor sent his “treasure fleets” all over the world. Suppose he also sent along dragons. Suppose one of the ships sank in the waters around Tierra del Fuego, where Darwin would visit four centuries later. And suppose he found a new species there, one descended from dragons.

What is your target audience for the book?

The book is appropriate for YA and adult readers who love fantasy and history. I spent over six months researching Barnum, Darwin, Dickens, and half a dozen other historical figures before I started clacking away on the keyboard to make sure that the background for the fantasy was historically accurate. The Historical Fiction Company praised the books seamless blending of fantasy and history, and awarded it Best Historical Fantasy for 2023.

What do you hope readers could get out from your book?

First off, I would hope Author’s Lounge members and other readers would experience a fun, enthralling adventure, one that stretches from the cold, barren shores of Tierra del Fuego and the voyage of H.M.S. Beagle to the bustling crowds of Victorian London. I would also hope that the reader would come away with an appreciation for the everyday lives of albinos, who in most books and movies are portrayed as villains and freaks. Lily and several other albinos in the book are heroes.

What are your future goals/plans for the book?

Barnum’s Angel is the first book in a series: The Pale Chronicles. The second book, The Barnacle’s Son, is already out, and I am beginning work on the final volume, which I hope to finish later this year.

And something more about yourself.

I always wanted to be a writer, but I didn’t get serious about it until I retired nine years ago. Since then, I’ve written twenty-one books, from fantasies to mysteries to memoirs and other fiction and nonfiction. Author’s message: It’s never too late to do anything!

Where to find Barnum’s Angel.

Where to find my other books.


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