Kelsey Gietl Interviews Ruben Radford from Across Oceans

ao-ebookToday, I have the pleasure of interviewing Reuben Radford, one of the two lead characters from Across Oceans, a captivating novel of romance, secrets, and unexpected truths set in Edwardian England. For our meeting, I’ve arranged a lunch reservation around the corner from the Fontaine Gazette, the newspaper where Mr. Radford works. I wait until the food arrives before extracting a notebook and pencil from my handbag.

KG: Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to meet with me, Mr. Radford.

RR: Chuckling. We all have to eat, don’t we? It seems odd for you to be interviewing me though. Usually I’m the one who gets to grill the other bloke.

KG: My questions won’t be nearly as trying as the ones you probably ask. Let’s start simple. Where and when were you born?

RR: Easy question, easy answer. Nineteen years ago on the tenth of August 1891 in Fontaine, Hampshire.

KG: Can you tell me a bit about your family?

RR: Well, we’ve lived in Fontaine all our lives. I’ve never even traveled anywhere else, although my parents have visited London several times. They brought home what I imagine are all the best parts of city culture – theatre programs, gramophone records, stacks of books. They haven’t traveled anywhere lately though. In fact, it’s rare that my mother even leaves our house. You see, my younger sister, Mira, died a few years back and our mother took it really hard. Honestly, we all did. Our family never recovered from the blow. Swallows hard. My apologies, can we talk about something else?

KG: Of course. Tell me about your job. You’re a reporter?

RR: Yes. I’ve worked as a features writer at the Gazette for two years now, same as my father before he took over as chief editor of the paper. Honestly, that’s how I managed to come into this position at such a young age. Nepotism at its finest. Don’t think that means I have it easy though. My father’s tough on his writers, myself included. I think a lot of that transferred over to me. No one’s harder on me that I am on myself.

KG: Your parents must be proud of you following in your father’s footsteps.

RR: They were. But, like I said, our family changed when my sister died. Before that, I would have told you my parents were proud of me, but now? Well, let’s just say, given the option, I’m not certain I’m the child they would have chosen to keep around.

KG: So, what’s the worst thing you’ve ever done then?

RR: Blimey, what kind of question is that? Are you honestly expecting me to reveal all my worst nightmares to you? And trust me, I have them, day in and day out I have them. You do not want to know what secrets lurk inside my head. Takes a deep breath Let’s just say I trusted someone I shouldn’t have and failed everyone. Happy with that response?

KG: Not particularly, but I see you’re uncomfortable with the topic, so let’s move on.

RR: Thank you.

KG: Not a problem. Let’s discuss your romantic interests, Mr. Radford. A young handsome gentleman like you must be quite adept with the ladies.

RR: Smiling. That certainly is a change in topic. I wish I could say that I’m as virile as you give me credit for; however, I’ve actually never been with anyone. But I’m hopeful it will happen. Someday soon if I have any say in the matter.

KG: That sly look in your eye says there’s more to this story. Have you already taken a fancy to someone?

RR: There is one woman, Maggie, who I can’t seem to get out of my head. We met last May Day while I was visiting my sister’s grave. She’s beautiful, spontaneous, and has one sassy mouth on her. She made up all these incredible tales about people in the cemetery, people she had never met, simply because she believes everyone deserves a good story to their lives. I’ve met all the daughters of my parents’ friends and, trust me, she’s not like a single one of them. In hindsight, I wish I hadn’t agreed to meet only on May Day every year after that.

KG: Only one day each year? Why would you propose such an arrangement?

RR: Maggie devised it, not me. But, like a fool, I agreed. I’ve been trying to devise excuses to run into her since then, however even with more proximity, I doubt I’ll convince her to give me a chance. She’s against the concept of marriage. Almost like she sees falling in love as a sign of weakness.

KG: Then why are you bothering to catch Maggie’s eye?

RR: Because that kind of thinking is mental. Forgive me, but I’ve seen what real love looks like and it’s amazing. My parents had it once. My father danced my mother dizzy across our living room. He’d kiss her full on and embarrass my sister and I, red from our teeth to our ears. Every night he told her he loved her, and my mother never lied to my father because she cherished him. That’s the kind of love I’m searching for. It’s rare, but it’s not impossible. Eventually, I hope to show Maggie just that.

KG: But your sister’s death ruined even your parents’ marriage, didn’t it?

RR: He grabs my notebook. Isn’t there something else in here we could talk about? Why yes, look at that, ‘Who are your favorite writers?’ Ask me that one.

KG: I steal the notebook back. Who’s giving the interview here? Very well, Mr. Radford, who are your favorite writers?

RR: I’m fairly diverse when it comes to novels. I’ve read a bit of anything and everything, but I’m drawn to the works of H.G. Wells above any other. The Time Machine in particular always makes me believe in impossible things. I think it’s why I enjoy what I do. Words, even if only in a news article, give people knowledge and hope, just like my favorite books give to me. Maybe I’ll even write a novel of my own someday.

KG: What advice would you give your readers?

RR: Blimey, what could I say? I need my own life in order before I can tell anyone else how to live theirs. But when the time comes, I could tell them how I know that life can be a completely miserable thing, but it won’t always be that way. Yes, that’s what I would tell them. Time changes things. And I’m waiting for it to change me.



 “A beautifully crafted novel and one I would recommend to any historical fiction reader.”

-Tanya E. Williams, Author of Becoming Mrs. Smith

Tragedy, unrelenting guilt, and hostile hallucinations of his dearly departed sister — that’s just typical life for Reuben Radford.

That is until one atypical May Day. In the most unlikely of places — the cemetery of their quiet Hampshire town — Reuben meets Maggie Archer. Quirky and spontaneous, she’s like no other woman he’s ever met. By the time they part ways in a promise not to meet again for a year, he knows she could be the love of his life.

There’s just one problem — Reuben and Maggie’s families have left them both with enough emotional baggage to fill a steamship. Not to mention one other little complication— Reuben has a secret. It’s not pleasant. It’s not pretty. And it’s one he’s determined to keep buried at all costs.

But if there’s one word to describe Maggie, it’s headstrong. Once she resolves to uncover the truth, she’ll stop at nothing to find it. After all, what does she have to lose? Unlike Reuben, Maggie never believed in love. Spanning five years of England’s Edwardian era, Across Oceans is the captivating story of first love, lost innocence, and the unexpected moments that change everything.

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KelseyGietlphoto ABOUT KELSEY GIETL:

 Born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, Kelsey Gietl grew up with a love of books and excessive use of her library card. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Design and Graphic Design from Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, and has made a career in fields from event planning and proposal writing to product management and communications. In her free time—when she’s not writing, reading, or researching—she enjoys yoga, musical theatre, beach vacations, and gallivanting around St. Louis with her amazing husband and two beautiful children. Across Oceans is her debut novel, to be followed by its second volume, Between Rivers.

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