6 June 2022

Book Launch Guest Post by Samantha Wilcoxson, Author of But One Life


New from Amazon UK and Amazon US

But One Life: The Story of Nathan Hale is an intimate retelling of the life of a great American patriot. As a young man, he debated philosophy at Yale and developed his personal politics of the revolution. Shortly after graduation, he joined the Continental Army and volunteered a spy in 1776. How did Nathan become a man willing to sacrifice himself with just one regret – that he had but one life to give for his country?

Inspiration for But One Life

It may seem odd, but I became inspired to write about Nathan Hale during research for my nonfiction book, Women of the American Revolution. Some ideas for novels about women of the era are percolating in my brain as well, but Nathan’s was the one that grabbed hold of me and demanded to be written first.

What most people remember about Nathan Hale is that he was an American spy who was captured by the British on Long Island. He was hanged, possibly after paraphrasing Cato with the words, ‘I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country.’ His life was snuffed out tragically early in the war on 22 September 1776 when Hale was only twenty-one years old.

One of the reasons Nathan Hale intrigued me was because, though he was a young man, he shared many characteristics with the women I typically write about. He was erudite, faithful, and loyal to his friends and family. So many young men like him lost their lives in the American Revolution but few in such a publicly tragic way. His unreached potential and sacrificed future tugged at my heartstrings, as I’m sure it will my those of my readers. 

The story of Nathan’s life made me wonder about my own sons, currently aged eighteen and twenty-three. What would they do if faced with the decisions that Hale was forced to make? Would they be willing to lay down their lives? Would I be able to face watching them do so? It made me want to write a story that is as full of emotion as my stories about women but from a point of view that young men – and people of all ages – can relate.

I enjoyed researching and writing about Nathan’s time at Yale with his best friend and brother, Enoch Hale. Developing their relationship was satisfying but heartbreaking, knowing where it would lead. Benjamin Tallmadge, who many readers will know from the television series TURN, was another fun historical figure to include. Tallmadge was close friends with Nathan and committed himself to successful espionage strategies for the Americans after Nathan’s death. Instead of seeing these young men as names in a history book, I hope readers connect with them as friends, brothers, sons … fellow patriots.

It felt remarkably easy to transport myself to the revolutionary era, and I hope I have helped readers do the same. What these young men faced were decisions with no easy answers and sacrificial lives that could have easily led to defeat. Nathan Hale is remembered as the quintessential American patriot. After reading But One Life, I hope that readers remember him as a living, breathing person who was willing to sacrifice everything he had – even his life – for his country and for those of us who enjoy unprecedented freedom today.

Revolution. Friendship. Sacrifice.

But One Life: The Story of Nathan Hale is an intimate retelling of the life of a great American patriot. As a young man, he debated philosophy at Yale and developed his personal politics of the revolution. Shortly after graduation, he joined the Continental Army and volunteered a spy in 1776. How did Nathan become a man willing to sacrifice himself with just one regret – that he had but one life to give for his country?

Experience the American Revolution alongside Nathan, his brother, Enoch, and good friends like Benjamin Tallmadge. They dream of liberty and independence. But at what cost?

Friendship, faith, love, and loyalty motivate young Nathan to become a name recognized throughout America as the quintessential patriot.

If I had ten thousand lives, I would lay them all down.

Samantha Wilcoxson

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About the Author

Writer of historical fiction and sufferer of wanderlust, Samantha enjoys exploring the past. She strives to reveal the deep emotions and motivations of historical figures, enabling readers to connect with them in a unique way. Samantha is an American writer with British roots and proud mother of three amazing young adults. She can frequently be found lakeside with a book in one hand and glass of wine in the other. Find out more at Samantha's blog https://samanthawilcoxson.blogspot.com/ and find her on Facebook and Twitter @carpe_librum

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