Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Autobiography of Fezziwig by Danny Kuhn

Some of the great advantages of being involved in a local author group (Beach Author Network) are meeting many amazing writers, reviewing their diverse works and being exposed to various books and genres that I might not ordinarily encounter if I were sticking strictly to my typical reading trends. I frequently find it an incredibly positive experience--hopping out of my comfort zone of typical literary proclivities, and I discovered that reading The Autobiography of Fezziwig was definitely one of those affirmative events.

Based on Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol character, Fezziwig, this is the tale of a man who was initially stripped of his entire existence as he had once known it. His station in life becomes incrementally elevated through the most unlikely circumstances, events, individuals, Providence and hard work.

From the coffeehouses of London to the fledgling business deals of Charleston, South Carolina, Fezziwig is a man of integrity. He is fiercely loyal to his employer and deeply cares about the employees, treating them kindly and fairly, unlike the typical 18th Century employer and even many modern day company owners and managers.

There are references to Eliza Lucas Pinckney, a very real individual, who managed three plantations at age sixteen in the 1700’s and proved that indigo could be a viable South Carolina cash crop. Fezziwig's dealings with her reminded me of another book I recently read entitled A Woman Rice Planter by Elizabeth Allston Pringle, who found herself owning seven plantations after the Civil War and told of her struggles and attempts to survive and prosper in a southern society, dominated by the male population.

The Autobiography of Fezziwig tells us how 18th Century business was conducted in London and the colonies and how travel from England was fraught with danger from storms, illness, tainted food, villains, boredom, enemies of war, and loneliness.

Written in the first person point of view, this story guides the reader directly into the experiences, inner thoughts and reasoning of William Fezziwig and the details of his interaction with some rather influential and famous characters. It also emphasizes that the raging conflicts in England during this time were relative to tightly intertwined religion and politics.

Stepping back in time as one reads this book is a satisfyingly intriguing experience! It’s like a history lesson that actually entertains, informs and invites the reader into the heart and soul of William Fezziwig. Danny Kuhn has captured a great glimpse of the challenges of life and family during that era and uses Fezziwig’s thoughts, conversations and actions as vessels to educate the reader.
Book Description

Dickens gave us only a glimpse of Scrooge's first employer, as a jolly old man who loved Christmas. This is the whole life of Fezziwig, an English businessman during the cusp of the Industrial Revolution who travels to colonial Charleston, South Carolina promoting his warehouse trade. Along the way, he befriends a young man named Washington, and returns to spend time in the London coffeehouses with the likes of Dr. Johnson and Erasmus Darwin. Even those meetings pale compared to his adventures afield with the irrepressible Benjamin Franklin!

 "A true look at a remarkable time, so full of historical facts and characters as to be totally believable as autobiography. It reminds us of the astounding array of scientific, literary, and philosophical geniuses rubbing elbows in the eighteenth century London coffeehouses, and of the social and political unrest of the day. As Fezziwig says, 'The only thing that outlives us, as our legacy, is the good we do for others.' Mr. Dickens would be pleased!"

In the words of Danny Kuhn

“The Autobiography of Fezziwig is my first novel, though I write a monthly column for a magazine back home (in West Virginia) and have had other periodical articles published. It takes a minor character from Dickens' A Christmas Carol and gives him a full life.  As a young man, he travels to the West Indies and Charles Town, SC  to further his warehouse trade, and, back in London, befriends an American agent there by the name of Benjamin Franklin. Along the way, he interacts with Samuel Johnson, Erasmus Darwin, Joseph Priestley, and many other famous characters to be found in eighteenth century London.”  
Danny Kuhn
About Danny Kuhn

Danny was raised in the coalfields of Southern West Virginia, earned degrees at Marshall and West Virginia Universities. His career has included being a social worker, high school science teacher, and Federal Probation Officer. In 2010, he retired as Deputy Chief United States Probation Officer in West Virginia and relocated to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where he is a magazine columnist and training consultant for Connect with Danny Kuhn on Facebook!

Come on back in a couple of weeks, and you'll see another book and author featured. I love to highlight authors and their works. There are so many of us out there who strive to share our efforts, but the competition to be seen by a world of eyeballs is staggering. Thank you so much for visiting today!

Mary Anne Benedetto

Author of Eyelash, 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing: Build a Priceless Legacy One Story at a Time!, Never Say Perfect and From Italy with Love & Limoncello.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing by Mary Anne Benedetto

Have you ever been smacked in the head by a lightning bolt? Figurative lightning bolt strikes occur when a particular event elicits an enlightenment, a major change, a turning point.

A few years ago, my husband Fred and I visited Hawaii, and as we reverently stood on the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, my personal lightning bolt flashed before my eyes.

Listening to the history of December 7, 1941 was a moving, emotional moment for everyone present, but especially for me as I remembered that my own dad was present at Pearl Harbor during the bombing and had survived. I tried to recall anything that he had ever told me about that day, but there were no details coming to mind. I had a multitude of questions running through my head, but it was too late to ask him. He had passed away about five years before my Hawaiian trip. I would never learn his version or perspective of that day.

I was incredibly upset with myself for never having taken the time and effort to obtain his stories while it was possible. Had I been so self-absorbed that it never occurred to me? This concern ignited a fire in my heart to inspire others to preserve their stories and to capture the memories of their loved ones before it is too late. Everyone has a worthy story, even if not as dramatic as a war tale.

Through extensive research, I discovered memoir writing expert, Denis Ledoux, and his certification program for memoir writing instructors now known as The Memoir Network. Visit Ledoux and his comprehensive program gave me the foundation to begin a mission to influence and instruct on this important topic.

Through teaching workshops for a few years,  I sensed a personal need to present the subject in a totally uncomplicated manner. My important goal was to simplify the process into easy steps for people, especially senior citizens, and to give them confidence that preserving their stories does not have to be overwhelming. 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing: Build a Priceless Legacy One Story at a Time! was born. Using the step-by-step method in my book might not produce a Pulitzer Prize-winning story, but it will get significant life stories and some family history into the hands of loved ones, and that is my primary goal and passion.

This book is a compact publication containing a powerful tool kit, message and program. Following the seven logical steps will guide the reader on a successful journey of memoir writing. It offers additional tips and hints that help in alleviating the overwhelmed feeling inherent in tackling a memoir project. It provides a comprehensive list of questions for interviewing relatives or for formulating your own story, a list of additional resources and select sample stories by a few of my amazing memoir writing workshop students.

The reader will discover that preserving our stories, before they are no longer obtainable, can actually be an enjoyable experience! Children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews will be thankful to have in their possession the stories that we choose to write today! It is the only way they will really know us, how we lived, our significant life events and the paths we traveled. I view memoir writing as a priceless gift that we present to loved ones and a legacy of memories that we provide to future generations.

Utilizing the 7 Easy Steps will ensure that we don’t internally hoard our stories and take them to the grave. Allow this article to be your personal lightning bolt! Capture the stories of a loved one, as well as your own, in 7 Easy Steps.

Please visit for links to all formats including print, Kindle and Nook. 

Book Description

Share with others the significant moments of your life. Make available a collection of your written memories for loved ones to cherish. 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing removes the fear and apprehension of starting a memoir preservation project. Loved ones and future generations will someday appreciate the stories that you choose to write today!

About the Author

Mary Anne Benedetto
Mary Anne Benedetto is an author, speaker, blogger, ghostwriter and Certified Lifewriting Instructor. Although she writes inspirational fiction, her foremost passion is teaching memoir writing workshops and helping people capture their life stories to pass along to future generations. Author of Eyelash, Never Say Perfect, 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing: Build a Priceless Legacy One Story at a Time! and From Italy with Love & Limoncello, she enjoys golf, travel, walking the spectacular South Carolina beaches and curling up with a great book. Mary Anne is the founder of Beach Author Network in the South Carolina Grand Strand.