Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Pursuit of Lucy Banning: The Big Reveal

Book One in the “Avenue of Dreams” series 
Prairie Avenue Novel Cover Revealed
On October 6, 2011, I announced a new book series set on Prairie Ave. during the late 19th century. The first book in the “Avenue of Dreams” series, The Pursuit of Lucy Banning will be released in May 2012. Author Olivia Newport has crafted a three-book series that takes place during a five-year span, 1892 – 1896, during the glory days of Prairie Ave.

A Daughter of Prairie Ave.
The publisher, Fleming H. Revell, just recently added it to their online catalog with the book cover illustration. Pictured on the cover is heroine, Lucy Banning, a daughter of Prairie Ave. who yearns for more than a life of ease and the obligatory marriage joining family fortunes.

Publisher Has Chicago Roots
Fleming H. Revell is now a division of Baker Publishing Group out of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Revell has Chicago roots. It was co-founded by D. L. Moody and his brother-in-law Fleming H. Revell in 1870. At a recent “behind the scenes tour” of the Glessner House Museum, I discovered several Revell titles on the shelves in the Glessner family library. At least one of the books discovered would have been on their shelves during the time period that The Pursuit of Lucy Banning takes place.

More Novels To Come!
Books two and three have been accepted and contracted for publication, but have yet to be scheduled or titled. If you’re a fan of Prairie Ave. and Chicago history, I think you’ll enjoy these historical novels.

Everyone Should Have An Aunt Violet
Full disclosure: The author of this blog, Stephen Reginald (that would be me), conceived this series with author Newport. I did the principle research, but Newport did all the writing; the characters, in their fullness, are out of her very creative mind. If I can take any writing credit—and this is stretching it, it is my advocacy for the full character development of Lucy Banning’s Aunt Violet. Aunt Violet was a wonderful character Newport created that I thought could play a bigger role in the novel.

Newport and I have worked together at various publishing houses since the 1990s. I was usually working in the role of acquisitions editor, so we got to know each other rather well, even though we’ve only met in person twice. Newport is a gifted writer who can handle fiction and nonfiction projects with equal success. I always thought given the chance, she could be a bestselling fiction author. With the publication of the “Avenue of Dreams” book series, she is well on her way.


  1. Can't wait to read the whole series. Congrats.

  2. Thank you @knit239. We're really excited and couldn't be more pleased about the cover. Historical fiction fans should enjoy this series.

  3. Steve it looks AMAZING! I cannot wait to read through them!!!! Congrats!

  4. What a beautiful cover. It looks like it will capture the minds and imaginations of women and girls everywhere not just Chicago. Was the main character racy or gentile? Did she carry a dark secret? Inquiring minds want to know! Congratulations to both of you for the series. I do miss your name up front Steve. Couldn't you have a small byline? Researched by...I heard some researchers get credit as well as the writers. If it wasn't for your due diligence in helping gather and shape the info, the book would not be made. I'm just sayin'...

  5. Thanks Edye. "Olivia Newport" and I have been friends for a long time. True, I came up with the idea, but if left to my own devices, it would have taken a lot longer to get this project written, accepted, and launched. I'll get an acknowledgement inside the book and that's fine.

  6. can't wait.. hope you guys do a book signing at glessner house and that they will sell the series!! great idea.. keep us posted as the time gets near!

  7. Bonnie, don't worry I'll keep you posted. Olivia Newport would be a great blog interview for "The South Loop Observer!" :)

  8. Thanks, everyone, for the enthusiasm I see in these comments!

  9. Congratulations, Olivia and Steve! So excited for the official debut next year!! And thanks for advocating the correct spelling of "Clarke".

  10. Becky, Olivia and I are both writers and editors so we know how important it is to spell the Clarke family name correctly!


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