Andra Watkins, Author of To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis, Asks One More Question of the Famed Explorer and Opens up About the Best and Worst Experiences She's Had During Her Own Historic Walk of the Natchez Trace

Monday, April 7, 2014

I would very much like to welcome Andra Watkins, author of To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis. Ms. Watkins was nice enough to answer some questions for me about her own historic walk of the Natchez Trace and Meriwether Lewis. Thank you so much for stopping by Emeraldfire's Bookmark, Ms. Watkins, and I wish you all the best now and in the future!

Meet Andra Watkins

I’m Andra Watkins. I’m a native of Tennessee, but I’m lucky to call Charleston, South Carolina, home for 23 years.

I’m the author of To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis from Word Hermit Press. It’s a mishmash of historical fiction, paranormal fiction and suspense that follows Meriwether Lewis (of Lewis and Clark fame) after his mysterious death on the Natchez Trace in 1809.

I Like:
  1. Hiking
  2. Eating (A lot; Italian food is my favorite.)
  3. Traveling (I never met a destination I didn’t like.)
  4. Reading (My favorite book is The Count of Monte Cristo.)
  5. Coffee (the caffeinated version) and COFFEE (sex)
  6. Performing (theater, singing, public speaking, playing piano)
  7. Time with my friends
  8. Sirius XM Chill
  9. Yoga (No, I can’t stand on my head.)
  10. Writing in bed
  11. Candlelight
I Don't Like:
  1. Getting up in the morning
  2. Cilantro (It is the devil weed.)
  3. Surprises (For me or for anyone else.)
  4. House Cleaning
  5. Cooking

Synopsis of To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis:

Is remembrance immortality? Nobody wants to be forgotten, least of all the famous.

Meriwether Lewis lived a memorable life. He and William Clark were the first white men to reach the Pacific in their failed attempt to discover a Northwest Passage. Much celebrated upon their return, Lewis was appointed governor of the vast Upper Louisiana Territory and began preparing his eagerly-anticipated journals for publication. But his re-entry into society proved as challenging as his journey. Battling financial and psychological demons and faced with mounting pressure from Washington, Lewis set out on a pivotal trip to the nation’s capital in September 1809. His mission: to publish his journals and salvage his political career. He never made it. He died in a roadside inn on the Natchez Trace in Tennessee from one gunshot to the head and another to the abdomen.

Was it suicide or murder? His mysterious death tainted his legacy and his fame quickly faded. Merry’s own memory of his death is fuzzy at best. All he knows is he’s fallen into Nowhere, where his only shot at redemption lies in the fate of rescuing another. An ill-suited “guardian angel,” Merry comes to in the same New Orleans bar after twelve straight failures. Now, with one drink and a two-dollar bill he is sent on his last assignment, his final shot at escape from the purgatory in which he’s been dwelling for almost 200 years. Merry still believes he can reverse his forgotten fortunes.

Nine-year-old Emmaline Cagney is the daughter of French Quarter madam and a Dixieland bass player. When her mother wins custody in a bitter divorce, Emmaline carves out her childhood among the ladies of Bourbon Street. Bounced between innocence and immorality, she struggles to find her safe haven, even while her mother makes her open her dress and serve tea to grown men.

It isn’t until Emmaline finds the strange cards hidden in her mother’s desk that she realizes why these men are visiting: her mother has offered to sell her to the highest bidder. To escape a life of prostitution, she slips away during a police raid on her mother’s bordello, desperate to find her father in Nashville.

Merry’s fateful two-dollar bill leads him to Emmaline as she is being chased by the winner of her mother’s sick card game: The Judge. A dangerous Nowhere Man convinced that Emmaline is the reincarnation of his long dead wife, Judge Wilkinson is determined to possess her, to tease out his wife’s spirit and marry her when she is ready. That Emmaline is now guarded by Meriwether Lewis, his bitter rival in life, further stokes his obsessive rage.

To elude the Judge, Em and Merry navigate the Mississippi River to Natchez. They set off on an adventure along the storied Natchez Trace, where they meet Cajun bird watchers, Elvis-crooning Siamese twins, War of 1812 re-enactors, Spanish wild boar hunters and ancient mound dwellers. Are these people their allies? Or pawns of the perverted, powerful Judge?

After a bloody confrontation with the Judge at Lewis’s grave, Merry and Em limp into Nashville and discover her father at the Parthenon. Just as Merry wrestles with the specter of success in his mission to deliver Em, The Judge intercedes with renewed determination to win Emmaline, waging a final battle for her soul. Merry vanquishes the Judge and earns his redemption. As his spirit fuses with the body of Em’s living father, Merry discovers that immortality lives within the salvation of another, not the remembrance of the multitude.

Coming to Amazon on February 5, 2014!

This particular author interview is slightly different from recent ones that I've posted, Ms. Watkins was kind enough to answer my three questions by video. She took the time to answer these questions while making her own modern-day historic trek of the 444-mile long Natchez Trace. Thank you very much, Ms. Watkins, and congratulations again on your incredible achievement! :)

My first question actually became the 36th Reader Question that Ms. Watkins answered:
Emeraldfire's Bookmark: If you had the chance to ask Meriwether Lewis one (or two things) about anything at all - what would it (they) be?

My second (compound) question actually became the 39th Reader Question that Ms. Watkins answered:
Emeraldfire's Bookmark: What was possibly your best day spent during such an incredible experience? What was your worst day spent during such an experience?

May you read well and often