Tag Archives: Alan M. Clark

Lizzie Borden – Based on a True Story

Reprinted from the IFD Publishing site.

The outrageous is all the more extraordinary when we know it actually occurred.

My Wife, Melody, and I took turns reading the chapters of Elizabeth Engstrom’s Lizzie Borden aloud on a trip to the World Fantasy Convention in Minneapolis Minnesota over two decades ago. The drive from Nashville, Tennessee took fifteen hours. One of us drove, while the other read. Lost in Engstrom’s tale, a credible expedition into the hearts of characters from a different time, the drive flew by for both of us.

I had produced cover art for Engstrom’s collection from Tor Books, Nightmare Flower, and we met her at the convention for the first time.

Lizzie Borden
Lizzie Borden

In the novel Lizzie Borden, we have horror and history, two of my interests combined, and the perfect volume to launch IFD Publishing’s new imprint, Horror that Happened™. The mystery of a young “proper” Victorian-era woman being accused yet acquitted of the brutal mutilation and murder of her parents, had always captured my imagination, as it had the rest of the world.

Trial jury
Trial jury

In the 1890s, Lizzie Borden’s trial was a media circus, something we’re very familiar with today, but a singular event in Borden’s time. The circumstantial evidence of the case seemed to indicate that she’d done the deed. Though we cannot know the truth, I have always wondered about what might have moved Miss Borden emotionally to such a state that the act could seem reasonable. Of course, the murders look more like the product of frenzied lashing out than reason, but the efforts to avoid prosecution seem to indicate that there might have been planning involved.

Engstrom’s story took me back in time, and gave me a solid view of the world through the eyes of a very troubled Lizzie Borden. Her sensibilities were different from mine, but I could relate to her emotional state in each scene, a credit to Engstrom’s writing ability.

Andrew Borden, deceased


Abby Borden, deceased

I was so inspired by her approach with Lizzie Borden, I later began to write novels based on historical events. And, like Engstrom, I told dreadful tales. Many of my Horror that Happened novels will also be released under the new IFD Publishing imprint in the coming months. Following the release of Lizzie Borden on July 1, IFD Publishing will release on September 1 my novel, A Parliament of Crowsinspired by the crimes of the three Wardlaw sisters, Carolyn, Mary and Virginia, women who taught social graces while also committing insurance fraud and murder. Their trial, nearly two decades later, was the next media circus concerning the heinous acts of “proper” women.

—Alan M. Clark

Eugene Oregon

One of three imprint book badges
One of three imprint book badges

Horror that Happened, the new imprint from IFD Publishing, provides riveting stories in three categories: True Crime, Based on a True Story, and Lifted from the Past. We hope you will come back to IFD Publishing for your high-quality reading entertainment.

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A good time was had by all.

One of the golden moments of an author–there are quite a few, actually–is the big hometown booksigning/reading/talk/party that launches a new book.

Last night we had a fairly decent turnout, despite competing with the first Presidential debate, and we all had a good time. I read a story from The Northwoods Chronicles, Alan M. Clark presented me with a matted print of the cover art for the same book, we ate, drank and made merry. Lisa Alber even came down from Portland with her adorable little pooch.

After the party, seven of us came back to our place to watch the debate.  Anticlimactic, to be sure. The crock pot chili that we ate while watching the debate was definitely the highlight of that event.

In addition to everyone who went out of their way to come help me celebrate, I received literally dozens of cards, emails and phone calls from people who couldn’t make it to the party for various reasons. All of which made me feel good. I have lots of friends, lots of fans.

What a great evening. Thanks, everyone.

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Filed under Friends, My New Novel, Promotion, Reading, Writing