Welcome, Sharon! You're my northern neighbor.
The Greatest Generation made our world safe for democracy—and then sired a generation that began transforming our nation into one that was safe for diversity. Escaped Alone transports the reader to mid-20th-century Virginia—to a time when the American South was experiencing its Last Hurrah. As a society struggles to return to its prewar stability, the slower-paced mode of living for the very young remains sheltered and in many ways idyllic, allowing ample time to savor the joys of childhood. Yet accompanying this pleasant existence is a darker undercurrent of institutionalized injustice that gradually awakens one child to the ugliness of racial, religious and lifestyle discrimination within her community. Departure for college provides the opportunity to begin her search for a more tolerant mode of living. The tale of her development into one who will seize this opportunity is punctuated by abundant humor, occasional horror, the emergence from the closet of some wildly animated family skeletons, and a generous outlay of unmistakably Southern storytelling. Its entertainment value aside, Escaped Alone may well be the first in-depth chronicling of exactly how a new kind of American conscience was formed.
Since the book is nonfiction/memoir and I am the narrator, there is none of myself that’s hidden in it. My characters don’t take on lives of their own. Their lives are depicted as they are (or, in some cases), were. Truth may be stranger than fiction in the case of many of the characters I present.
It’s perfectly fair to say that my biggest challenge was bringing myself to stop editing it and to get on with the process of finding a publisher.
I have mostly traveled for work or for pleasure. The doing of research and the finding of inspiration are incidental aspects of travel for me. In terms of travel during my developmental years, some several special places (one of which is depicted in the opening scene) are shared within Escaped Alone—which, among other things, is a book that evokes a very strong sense of place and of drawing the reader into certain scenes in a very vivid and intimate way.
The greatest lesson I’ve learned about writing so far is to make the writing as beautiful as the story is compelling. Very often when I write, I apply two criteria to any given sentence. The first is “Does it read well on the page?” The second is “Would it sound equally good, or even better, if read aloud?” If the answer to both questions is an unqualified “Yes,” I know that I’ve achieved the effect I’m seeking.
To new writers, I’d say that letting your creativity have full rein requires that you first know and observe the basics: spelling, grammar, usage, sentence structure, etc. Unless you’re willing to attract only readers who are themselves too lackadaisical to be distracted by errors in a published work, the devil definitely is in the details.
Sometimes in my head, sometimes in a notebook. Never on a spreadsheet.
Friends, family, neighbors, word-of-mouth from those who’ve already read the book, publisher, signings and other appearances, Facebook Author Page, web site. At the moment I’m working on sewing the title of my book in mother-of-pearl buttons on the back of my jean jacket for a bit of a springtime/rock star effect. Will be interested to see how that works.
Yes. The buy link can be found to the right on my web site: