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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Writing and publishing books of my Heart

Hey folks. It's been awhile since I blogged. But I have a really good reason for that. I've been busy writing, editing, and self-publishing two of my older titles. Books of my heart that didn't really do that well when they first released in 2006 and 2007. Publishing straight to Kindle has given me the opportunity to bring these books back and so far they've reached approx 15,000 awesome readers like you!

I've had a passion for the rights of African Americans since I discovered very early in my life that my ancestors owned slaves. I don't know why I took this upon myself, but I've always known I wanted to write about the plight of African Americans. When I was a little girl, I wanted to write the sequel to Gone With the Wind and talk more about Big Sam, Dilcey (who didn't make it into the movie), Prissy, and Pork, and possibly Mammy.

When I started writing, my first book (rejected) was a southern historical focusing on the Civil War and Underground Railroad. It didn't make the cut, and shouldn't have! I wasn't ready to write it.

When Barbour agreed to publish The Color of the Soul
and subsequently the sequel The Freedom of the Soul,
I was suddenly gripped with fear. What if I didn't do the topic justice? What if I offended African Americans with my too-realistic portrayal of the bigotry and brutality? What if I offended my Christian readership with references to violence, rape and out-of-wedlock intimacies? But there was a way these stories were meant to be told, and I can only tell the truth as I see it. Finally, I had to begin to trust that for some reason, God had called me to write these books and He would deal with any fall-out.

Here is a letter I wrote to my readers at the beginning of The Freedom of the Soul book two in the Penbrook Diaries:

Dear Readers,
My family history tells of a young man, my great-great-great-grandfather’s brother, who fell ill and was sent by his father to be nursed in the slave quarters. While recovering, he fell deeply in love with the young slave girl who cared for him. After he was well again, he took her to Mexico and married her. Their many descendants are still in Mexico today.
That story of deep, abiding love has always struck a chord in my heart and imagination, and I knew, while writing a series that explores racial tensions and relationship, that I’d have to include that scenario. This book is entirely a work of fiction. All I know about that true-life love story is what I have told you here.
One thing I’ve learned while researching and writing The Penbrook Diaries is that love (in all its forms) transcends race.

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