Number One, it’s a great read—you won’t be able to put it down. Number Two, you’ll be transported back in time to 1860-61 and experience the emotions as Sidney does: grief, guilt, anger, love, betrayal, and resolution. Number Three, you will learn things you never knew about the Underground Railroad and the Civil War. Many of us take freedom for granted and we don’t realize the price that was paid for it.
2.One Traveler tells the story of Sidney Judson so would you mind sharing a little about him? In addition, if you could offer him any advice, what would you say?
When the book opens, Sidney is seventeen and living in Georgia. His parents have just been killed in an accident—yet he feels responsible. He travels to northeastern Pennsylvania to stay with his aunt and uncle for a while. A lot of the book focuses on his conflicted feelings after he discovers that his aunt and uncle are involved in the Underground Railroad. But he’s also dealing with guilt over his parents’ deaths. I wish I could tell him to let go of the guilt and accept the love of his family, but he has to travel his own path to reach that point. I also wish I could tell him to stay in the North instead of going south again. But in that situation, again, he needs to find his own way. As an author, I can’t control him.
3. One Traveler takes place during the era of the Underground Railroad, so what inspired you to tackle that piece of history?
I’ve always been fascinated with the Underground Railroad, and in awe of the people who laid everything on the line to help runaway slaves to freedom. I admire the slaves themselves. Imagine the risk they were taking and what a long, dangerous journey they set out on when they left their “owners”. I’m dismayed that the institution of slavery was allowed and inspired by the courage it took to seek freedom. I’m also heartened when I remember that people throughout history have been willing to stand up for the persecuted and oppressed. It challenges me to do the same today.
4.What is your favorite line or scene from One Traveler?
My favorite scene is from Chapter Sixteen, Sidney’s one and only battle in the book. I worked hard on the battle scene and I’m very happy with the way it turned out. It’s the turning point for Sidney. He knew what was right before this point, but what happens during the battle just brings it home for him.
5.One of the aspects that originally drew me to One Traveler was its setting. So what inspired you have it take place in Wilkes-Barre?
I grew up near Wilkes-Barre, and went to college there. I love local history. But it may go back to when I was about twelve and I read The Bloody Country by Collier & Collier (better known for My Brother Sam is Dead). That novel was set in the Wyoming Valley, where Wilkes-Barre is located, and it really struck me that a good book could be written about a place I knew so well. There are so many true stories in history and it’s exciting to learn about the people who walked our little corner of the planet generations ago.
6.I am sure you did a lot of research while writing One Traveler, so what is one of the most interesting things you stumbled upon during it?
It’s hard to choose just one, but I included this episode in the historical note at the end of the book. In 1853, marshals attempted to arrest fugitive slave William Thomas. They tackled him in the dining room of the hotel, beating him and attempting to handcuff him. Thomas was strong and fought back, preventing the officers from taking him. Bloodied, he ran into the river. The marshals fired their revolvers into the air to frighten him, but he pressed on, following the riverbank to escape. The gathered mob took Thomas’ side and prevented the agents from pursuing him any further.
7.What’s up next for you book wise? Is there anything else you would like to add?
I’m working on a few writing projects. One of them is a sequel to One Traveler. I’m really in love with the characters in this novel, but I also have other interests and other types of writing I enjoy. I spend the majority of my time with my young children, and at this stage of life they are my priority. I am always writing something, though. My family is used to that. It’s a delicate balance.
Thanks for stopping by, Alison! And I for one know I would love to read more about Sidney and his friends/family, so I hope that ends up working out.
More about the book:
More about the book:
In the spring of 1860, seventeen-year-old Sidney Judson loses his parents in a carriage accident. Although he thought of himself as a grown man before their deaths, now he cannot bear to stay at the home he shared with them. He leaves Roswell, Georgia to journey north to his father’s hometown in Pennsylvania where he stays with his aunt and uncle, soon discovering that they are members of the Underground Railroad. While Sidney is facing the past his father tried to forget and coming to terms with his own role in his parents’ deaths, his entire belief system is challenged by the community around him. His attraction to the winsome Rachel further complicates his situation as her inner person far outshines that of his sweetheart in Georgia. The closer he grows to his northern family, the more he wishes he'd never promised to return to the south.
More about the Author:
Alison Treat was raised in Connecticut and Pennsylvania. After graduating from King's College with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature, she wrote for newspapers and worked in the behavioral health field. She lives with her husband and two children in Northeastern Pennsylvania, with an occasional lengthy excursion into 19th Century America. One Traveler is her first novel.