The Showcase is a special feature of the Author's Spotlight. It is designed to highlight Spotlight author's NEW releases and their soon to be released novels.
The HBS Author's Spotlight SHOWCASES Andra Watkins' New Book: Hard to Die.
Author Andra Watkins is a NY Times Best Selling Author and public speaker. Andra writes Suspense and Memoir novels.
Hard to Die
Author: Andra Watkins
Barnes and Noble
You’ve heard the raves about the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, Hamilton. But what happened to ‘Dear Theodosia,’ the fiery daughter Aaron Burr serenades? An inventive new take on the uncharted fate of Theodosia Burr Alston, the fiery daughter of Alexander Hamilton’s murderer. Hard to Die is an engrossing speculative fiction time-warp that combines elements of history, the paranormal, and suspense to breathe fresh air into Theodosia’s forgotten life and story. By the New York Times best-selling author of Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace. Hard to Die is the highly-anticipated sequel to To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis.
Excerpt from Hard to Die
The train jettisoned me into a Grand Central corridor a few yards from the man who killed my son.
General Wilkinson steamed toward a bank of stairs, and what mother wouldn’t follow? I hued past glassed-in shops flanked by acres of marble and crashed into fedora-clad, wool-suited travelers, but I never lost him. Whenever someone shot me a disapproving look, I used the manners my father praised. “Pardon me. I’m so sorry. Excuse me.”
The General strolled into the Grand Concourse. Amidst throngs scurrying from place to place to place, he paused and looked up. I followed his lead and gasped. e night sky twinkled on the soaring ceiling, lit by arched windows near the top. I traced the outlines of Orion, Aries, and Gemini, friends from my childhood.
Wilkinson was my godfather before he lost the privilege. He introduced me to the stories of the sky. I hovered outside my father’s study whenever Wilkinson was inside, hoping he’d emerge early enough to trace a new character in the heavens. To study starlight was to travel through reflected time.
I swiped a stray tear before it ruined my mascara. I couldn’t recall when I lost the luxury of weakness. Perhaps it died with my boy.
I twisted the ends of my knitted scarf and awaited the General’s next move. His fat fist grasped a buttery croissant, procured from a passing cart. Flakes clung like dandruff along the front of his coat as he munched his snack and studied the schedule board. It twinkled with places I remembered. Ossining. Cold Spring. Beacon. Poughkeepsie. Towns perched along the glaciated shore of a river that echoed with my son’s laughter.
Until his last summer. He perished before we could head north to escape the heat.
I would confront Wilkinson, even if it meant following him on a haunted tour of every agonizing memory. I would—
Damn. He chewed his last bite of pastry and watched me. My breath pulsed a hurried soundtrack for our stare down. Grand Central was too public for a miscalculated scene. Why didn’t I stop to consider where I was before I rushed after him without a plan? Still, I prepared to knock him senseless with my purse as he closed the space between us. His leer never wavered. “Theodosia Burr Alston. I thought that was you, tiptoeing after me. You’ve grown even more ravishing since I last saw you. I’d know you anywhere.”
“General Wilkinson. You always were short on sincerity.”
“Oh, I think that’s unfair. Why can’t I point out how kind the years have been to you?”
“Too bad they haven’t smiled on you.”
He brushed crumbs from his coat, his smile fading. “I saw you on the platform, hiding behind posts and tripping through doorways. I started to speak to you then, but ignoring clumsiness in others is often the most thoughtful approach.”
“You’re still masking your selfishness with exaggerated charm. Don’t be so predictable.”
“Funny how this place delivers unfortunate gifts to my doorstep. You’re like a spray of flowers. Only desiccated and dead.”
I pretended to kiss the air around his head. “I’ll remember how much you like rotted bouquets when I order one to mark your grave.”
“Please, dear Theo. Hysterical, murderous threats are unbecoming to a lady.”
“When one of your many enemies finally kills you, nobody’ll call it murder.”
“As much as I’d love to watch them fail, I don’t have time for fantasy. Let me give you a little advice since you haven’t seen me in a while.”
“You think I’ll follow your advice? Come on, General. Your advice cost me my son.”
“I had nothing to do with your son’s death. My condolences, by the way.”
“Too late. I won’t accept insincere sentiments from the architect of my son’s death. And my father almost died because of your misguided counsel.”
“Misguided? Really? He’s the one who failed. The man ran for president and almost won. Anybody who can get that far ought to know how to assemble a team to carry out a simple plan. We needed a few thousand men to defeat our enemies. I knew how many men they had, remember? But he botched it. He barely found fifty.”
“Because you wouldn’t give a written guarantee of what they were promised.”
“Smart people never put anything of consequence in writing. Besides, he was big-headed enough to believe he could recruit others to the cause.”
“You testified against him in a trial for his life.”
“Pointing out his misdeeds was my patriotic duty.”
“I waited for lightning to incinerate the courtroom when you touched the Bible and swore to tell the whole truth.”
“And in the end, the truth didn’t matter, did it? Your father walked free.”
“I don’t know why he didn’t challenge you to a private meeting of honor.”
“You mean a duel?” He moved closer. “I wouldn’t mention such things
here if I were you. People don’t resolve grievances that way anymore.”
“Someone needs to make you suffer.”
“Oh, I suffer. You have no idea.”
“Then why are you still alive?”
“I know this disappoints you, but I’ve found it hard to die.”
“I’m certain hell is ready to admit you anytime.”
The General’s eyes bored into me. “You don’t understand where you are, do you?”
When I attacked, my purse’s brass clasp raked a bloody gash along his hairline, but it wasn’t enough to fell my father’s arch enemy. Wilkinson always outmaneuvered his foes, especially those with the last name Burr. He seized my arm and steered me through an arched doorway. A subterranean labyrinth harbored a jumbled series of tracks. Pain broiled through my shoulder in my fight to remain upright.
“Don’t worry, Theo. Dying doesn’t hurt much when you’re already
“I’m not dead yet.”
He dragged me to the far end of an abandoned platform. “It’s 1950, Theo. You’ve been gone for 137 years. Don’t you remember what happened on the ship?” He heaved me into the path of an oncoming train and shouted, “You disappeared. You’re dead. And so am I.”
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New York Times Best Selling Author Andra Watkins lives in Charleston, South Carolina.
Not Without My Father: One Woman's 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace, her memoir chronicling her walk and dysfunctional family adventure, was nominated for the 2015 National Book Award for Nonfiction. She is one of the only living persons to walk the 10,000-year-old road.
Her acclaimed debut novel To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis was published by Word Hermit Press in 2014 and planted her desire to walk the ancient Trace.
Natchez Trace: Tracks in Time is a book of photography, shot during her 15-mile daily hikes on the Natchez Trace.
In addition to her books, Andra's writing has been published on recognized sites including Scary Mommy and Minerva Rising, and she has been featured on news outlets including The Huffington Post, The Tennessean, and ABC News.
Follow her writing adventures at andrawatkins.com.
Author's Book List
- Tracks in Time
From March 1 to April 3, 2014, Andra Watkins walked the Natchez Trace, all 444-miles. How does a person fill the time when walking alongside a highway fifteen miles a day for thirty-four days? To stave off boredom and deflect pain, she took pictures. Of highway and sky. Of garbage. Of spring flowers. Of migrating birds. Of trees and fields and signs. Wheels grease the path for the traveller, blurring the details of a landscape. Honoring when Life moved at the speed of footsteps, she documented the minutiae of forgotten traces of Time. Whether one drives or cycles the Trace today, these images will ease a traveller into a deliberate pace. This photographic collection is a gift from the Natchez Trace.
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Not Without My Father
- One Woman's 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace
Can an epic adventure succeed without a hero? Andra Watkins needed a wingman to help her become one of the only living persons to walk the historic 444-mile Natchez Trace as the pioneers did. She planned to walk fifteen miles a day. For thirty-four days. After striking-out with everyone in her life, she was left with her disinterested eighty-year-old father. And his gas. The sleep apnea machine and self-scratching. Sharing a bathroom with a man whose gut obliterated his aim. As Watkins trudged America's forgotten highway, she lost herself in despair and pain. Nothing happened according to plan, and her tenuous connection to her father started to unravel. Through arguments and laughter, tears and fried chicken, they fought to rebuild their relationship before it was too late. In Not Without My Father: One Woman's 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace, Watkins invites readers to join her dysfunctional family adventure in a humorous and heartbreaking memoir that asks if one can really turn 'I wish I had' into 'I'm glad I did.'
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To Live Forever
- An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis
Explorer Meriwether Lewis has been stuck in Nowhere since his mysterious death nearly two centuries ago. His last hope for redemption is helping nine-year-old Emmaline Cagney flee her madame mother in New Orleans and find her father in Nashville. To get there, Merry must cross his own grave along the Natchez Trace, where he duels the corrupt Judge, an old foe who has his own despicable plans for Em.
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