Welcome back to our special Q&A series with Old Iron Press authors. Today, we are thrilled to present Playing Authors contributor, Vinnie Hansen.
Vinnie Hansen fled the howling winds of South Dakota and headed for the California coast the day after high school graduation. A two-time Claymore Award finalist, she’s the author of the Carol Sabala mysteries, the novels Lostart Street and One Gun, as well as over forty short works. She claims to be sane(ish) after 27 years of teaching high school English in spite of evidence that she tickles the ivories with ukulele bands. Vinnie lives in Santa Cruz with her husband and the requisite cat.
Mystery shrouds Edgar Allan Poe’s death. Did he succumb to rabies? Based on Poe’s symptoms, a medical doctor put forward that theory. Did Poe die of a brain tumor, heart failure, exposure, tuberculosis, or even suicide? All have been suggested. It’s been proposed that he faked his demise and lived to a ripe old age as James B. Ward. Or better yet, that he might have been murdered by the brothers of his fiancée, Elmira Shelton!
Because Poe was found incoherent and “in great distress” near a tavern, and his acquaintances called to the scene knew of his struggles with alcohol, they seem to have concluded Edgar was in a drunken stupor. When taken to Washington College Hospital, he was, in fact, placed in a room for those ill from intoxication. Small wonder that the theory he died from alcohol consumption holds sway in our collective consciousness.
However, J.E. Snodgrass, one of Poe’s acquaintances called to the scene, noted that Edgar did not seem to be wearing his own clothing. This detail has always intrigued me and supports the idea Poe may have been the victim of cooping. Cooping was a type of voter fraud in the 19th Century. People were subdued with alcohol or drugs, kidnapped, disguised in various ways, and taken to the polls to cast their votes, over and over.
The weird circumstances surrounding Poe’s death don’t stop with his burial. When he died in 1849, he was originally placed in an unmarked grave. In 1860, when a proper marble headstone was finally being prepared, a train jumped its tracks and ran through the monument yard! A person can’t make this stuff up.
And we probably all know about the “Poe Toaster,” the mysterious man who for decades appeared in the wee hours at Poe’s gravesite every January 19th (Poe’s birthday). Dressed in black, the Poe Toaster would salute Poe with a bit of cognac and leave behind the bottle and three red roses.
“Killing Poe,” my contribution to the forthcoming Playing Authors anthology, puts to rest the speculation and mystery about the author’s death and presents the real story of Poe’s end. At least in my mind. In pace requiescat.
Favorite word / font / letter?
Where would your adventure be set: underwater or in space?
Space. I’d like to view the pale blue dot of Earth and experience weightlessness.
Snacks while you work? If yes, what’s your go-to?
Tazo Decaf Chai and Theo Organic Salted Almond 70% Dark Chocolate
What are some of your favorite tools-of-the-trade?
Any recommendations for the OIP community? What have you been enjoying lately? (Or, something you are working on that you would like to share?)
I am currently working on a suspense novel titled Crime Writer, a companion book to my novel One Gun.
Thank you so much, Vinnie! We love what you make, and we’re so excited to publish your work.