Becky Lower Interviews Pepper Brown from A Widow’s Salvation

Becky Lower 10-1-15
Pepper Brown is the oldest daughter in the extensive Fitzpatrick family of New York City. Pepper fell in love with her brother’s college roommate, Michael Brown, at their first meeting. They married immediately after Michael graduated college, and, after a few years were blessed with two boys. Pepper left the rebel-rousing to her younger sisters, who were involved with Amelia Bloomer and were helping with the Underground Railroad movement in the city. She was content to adhere to the myriad of social rules and regulations that befitted a member of New York City’s elite. Her life was perfect.


Then came the Civil War. Michael enlisted, and was cut down with the first volley of the first major battle, and Pepper became one of the first war widows of the conflict. She was also pregnant with another son. One who would never see his father. For the sake of her boys, and for her own peace of mind, she needed to find another life for herself. Immediately after her requisite year of mourning was over, she became a volunteer at the Army hospital, and also began working with the Civil War Widows Pension fund. A Widow’s Salvation is Pepper’s story.


BLL: How did you feel when you first saw the love of your life?

PFB: I was in love with Michael before we finished dinner that first night we met. He was so handsome and charming, not to mention funny. Fortunately, he fell equally as hard for me. We had the kind of giddy, young love that everyone envisions for themselves at one time or another. I was deliriously happy as a married woman.


BLL: What do you want from life now?

PFB: From the time I was eighteen, my course with Michael was set. I envisioned myself growing old with him, being a productive member of New York’s society, doing charitable work for those less fortunate, raising our sons together. That life fell apart in one short moment, with one single gunshot. For the sake of my children, I had to do the impossible and find a new normal for myself. Michael would have wanted me to move on, I know that. But knowing he’d approve and actually doing so are two very different things. It took me quite some time to realize I could love again.


BLL: What do you consider your strengths?

PFB: This is a difficult question for me to answer. For years, I was envious of my younger sisters, who were never afraid to voice their opinions, be it on a soap box in the middle of a busy New York street, or aiding and abetting escaping slaves heading north to Canada. And my mother is the ringleader in this family of forward-thinking women. I never quite fit in with them and their causes, even though I may have believed in their message. I was content to be one who never rocked the boat. I was a wife and mother, and I loved my ordinary little life. But once Michael died, and I became a single parent to three young, rambunctious boys, I realized I had an inner strength. I not only raised my sons, but I also helped the amputees at the Army hospital learn how to use prosthetic legs and walk again. And, since I was one of the first war widows, I volunteered at the Civil War Widows Pension fund, helping those less fortunate than myself. And when I realized I was falling in love again, it took a great deal of inner strength to admit that I could find happiness in the middle of an ungodly war.


BLL: What quality do you most like in a man?

PFB: When I first met Elijah Williams, I was drawn to his compassion for others. As one of the surgeons at the military hospital, he has seen more than his share of horrible situations. It haunted his dreams on those rare occasions when he could get some rest. I grew to admire and respect the man long before love entered into the picture. That came later, and it’s a very different kind of love from what I had with Michael. More mature, perhaps. I was drawn to his compassion for others, but now when I see him being a father to Michael’s sons, my heart swells with love for him.


BLL: What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

PFB: Obviously, the year of mourning when Michael died was my low point. Add to that the fact I was pregnant with our child–Michael’s parting gift to me before he headed off to battle. I cried so much, I thought the baby might suffer from my melancholy. At the end of the year of mourning, I had to throw off my widow’s weeds and create a new life for myself and my sons. So, out of the depths of my misery, a different life evolved.


BLL: What is important to you now?

PFB: I want to love my husband to distraction, and, with his help, raise my sons to be productive members of society. I’d love to have more children, with Elijah. I want to continue my charitable work at both the hospital and the Pension fund, since the war is far from over. And I want to give my husband something else to dream about at night other than the gruesomeness he sees daily in the operating room.

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Becky Lower headshotAmazon best-selling author Becky Lower has traveled the country looking for great settings for her novels. She loves to write about two people finding each other and falling in love, amid the backdrop of a great setting, be it on a covered wagon headed west or in present day small town America. Historical and contemporary romances are her specialty. Becky is a PAN member of RWA and is a member of the Historic and Contemporary RWA chapters. She has a degree in English and Journalism from Bowling Green State University, and lives in an eclectic college town in Ohio with her puppy-mill rescue dog, Mary. She loves to hear from her readers at Visit her website at