Lynn Cullen launched her new novel, Twain’s End, on October 13, 2015, at Margaret Mitchell House, sponsored by the Atlanta History Center (AHC). The novel is a historical fiction told from the POV of Isabel Lyon, personal secretary of Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain). Kate Whitman, VP of Public Programs at AHC, communicated how Cullen found historical fiction as a way to facilitate her passions stating that, “she [Cullen] learned to love history combined with traveling while visiting historic sites across the US.” About 45 people were in attendance. With such a big turn out Cullen decided to mingle and sign books before the event started.
Cullen prepared a visual presentation of her research. She emphasized how pictures tell an untold story. She took the audience through Clemens’ life, starting with his early childhood, recounting stories of his parents and the death of his brother. She described stories of his interactions with his family, especially his daughter Clara. The most interesting photos were those of him and Isabel Lyons. Although, Clemens was married he shared a closeness with Isabel that he did not share with his wife. Cullen’s novel tells how that relationship turned from cordial and blissful to volatile and hateful. The novel brings to light the truth of Samuel Clemens character compared to his beloved pseudonym Mark Twain.
Cullen expressed the importance of everyone in the audience stating that, “no author stands alone. We are a product of our friends and our family and I could tell stories about so many of you and your role here.” She mentioned how her friend, Sue Edmonds, encouraged and insisted that she write about Twain for 20 years. Cullen wanted everyone to know that without Sue this novel would not be possible. Cullen was very humble with giving recognition to others. The night was also her sister’s birthday, and she had the audience give her a big, warm “Happy Birthday.”
The evening concluded with refreshments of wine and desserts while attendees lined up to have their newly purchased books signed by Lynn Cullen. When asked thoughts of the event, attendee, Jane Darby-Day stated “I enjoyed the lecture very much and thought the author “teased” with enough information to want to buy and read her book, but she didn’t give too much of the gist of the story away.” Jane states the she, “will definitely attend more lectures and have recommended them to several friends.”