Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Character Interview: Alice of 'One of Windsor: The Untold Story of America's First Witch Hanging'

We’re thrilled to be talking to Alice (Alse) Young from Beth M Caruso’s, One of Windsor: The Untold Story of America’s First Witch Hanging.  It is a pleasure to have her with us today at Pimp That Character!

Thank you for your interview, Alice Young. How old are you and what do you do for a living?

I am a mother and wife in my early thirties. I live in the town of Windsor, in the colony of Connecticut, as an herbalist, healer, and assistant to the town midwife. The year is 1647.

Can you tell us about one of your most distinguishable features?

 I am extremely petite and have been told that my eyes resemble deep blue pools.

What would I love the most about you?

I am devoted and loyal to those I love at all costs. I will sacrifice to protect them. I am also devoted to my work and my community as well as steadfast and skilled at my calling. I help those in need but only by the grace of God.

What would I hate the most about you?

Because I am so loyal and love my family so much, I am unable to distinguish at times where my own life begins and ends. I merge with them. I started out in life as very timid. I am still shy but have been forced to come out of my shell because of my calling. As a consequence of not always being able to speak up for myself (especially in my younger years), I find myself in an unfortunate circumstance that has sadly become more complicated over time.

Where do you go when you are angry?

I go to my herb garden and remember the many gifts that I have been given. I sit next to a calming plant like lavender. I crush the leaves and inhale their essence to help me quiet the anger or anxiousness inside me.

What is your greatest fear?

I fear separation from my family again. I am afraid that others will persecute me for my intuitive abilities and that those who love me will suffer as well. Townspeople have not accepted us fully into their community so I try to hide my psychic gifts. I fear that my secrets will expose me and the family members whom I love.

Do you think the author portrayed you accurately?

Yes. She sensed me. It took her a long time to arouse me from my deep shock but she saw what I saw. I showed her.

What is your idea of a perfect day?

My perfect day is having the time to go to my secret and magical place in the woods amongst the ferns, the grove of hemlock and pine trees, and the trueness of my heart.

Do you have children?

Yes, I have one child. She is named Alice after me as I was named after my own mother and she after her mother, a long line of Alices. It is tradition in my time.  However, my daughter is called by her nickname Alissa. Both mothers and fathers name male and female children after themselves.

What is your most treasured possession?

My most treasured possession is lace and ribbon. Beautiful broad lace and silver- lined thread from Bruges, a place between France and Holland. It was a gift from my dearly loved cousin that always reminded me to remember that I would reunite with my family in New England. However, fine embellishments in dress such as this, are forbidden by our godly ministers and so I’ve had to hide them.

If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, what would you do today?

I would show my daughter and my family just how much I love them, for deep down, I am wary. Rumors now circulate about me in the town of Windsor and the way people have started to look at me differently causes an uneasy feeling to stir within my being.

Thank you for taking the time to get to know me today. It was a pleasure to be here at Pimp That Character.

About the Author

Beth M. Caruso grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio and spent her childhood writing puppet shows and witches’ cookbooks. She became interested in French Literature and Hispanic Studies, receiving a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Cincinnati. She later obtained Masters degrees in Nursing and Public Health.

Working as a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand, she helped to improve the public health of local Karen hill tribes. She also had the privilege to care for hundreds of babies and their mothers as a labor and delivery nurse.

Largely influenced by an apprenticeship with herbalist and wildcrafter, Will Endres, in North Carolina, she surrounds herself with plants through gardening and native species conservation.
Her latest passion is to discover and convey important stories of women in American history. One of Windsor is her debut novel. She lives in New England with her awesome husband, amazing children, loyal puppy, and cuddly cats.


About the Book:

Title: One of Windsor: The Untold Story of America’s First Witch Hanging
Author:  Beth M. Caruso
Publisher: Ladyslipper Press
Pages: 358
Genre:  Historical Fiction

Alice, a young woman prone to intuitive insights and loyalty to the only family she has ever known, leaves England for the rigid colony of the Massachusetts Bay in 1635 in hopes of reuniting with them again. Finally settling in Windsor, Connecticut, she encounters the rich American wilderness and its inhabitants, her own healing abilities, and the blinding fears of Puritan leaders which collide and set the stage for America’s first witch hanging, her own, on May 26, 1647.

This event and Alice’s ties to her beloved family are catalysts that influence Connecticut’s Governor John Winthrop Jr. to halt witchcraft hangings in much later years. Paradoxically, these same ties and the memory of the incidents that led to her accusation become a secret and destructive force behind Cotton Mather’s written commentary on the Salem witch trials of 1692, provoking further witchcraft hysteria in Massachusetts forty-five years after her death.

The author uses extensive historical research combined with literary inventions, to bring forth a shocking and passionate narrative theory explaining this tragic and important episode in American history.

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