When Dr. Joan Kaywell asked me to be a co-presenter at the 2017 ChLA Conference, I said yes first and asked questions later. The reasons I automatically said yes were:
1. I love Dr. Joan!
2. The conference was being held in Tampa, practically in my backyard. And…
3. I actually enjoy public speaking.
My first question for Dr. Joan was: What are we going to talk about?
Her answer: When Will We Ever Learn? Linking Relevant Fiction With Nonfiction to Examine Equality in the United States.
Dr. Joan went on to say all she really wanted was for me to talk about my books, and she’d handle the rest.
The burning question was how did my books fit into the topic? It turns out Dr. Joan is smarter than I am, and though I’d never really thought about it, all of my books have an equality theme running through them.
The BALLAD OF JESSIE PEARL is set in 1922, two years after women got the right to vote. My heroine, Jessie, wants nothing more than to go away to teachers’ college, but household chores, the expectations of her family and community, and a tuberculosis epidemic, all stand in her way. THE BALLAD OF JESSIE PEARL has a Women’s Rights theme.
RUBY LEE & ME’s theme is evident. It’s set in the summer of 1969, the summer before the local elementary school in Shady Creek, NC will become integrated. Two girls–one black, the other white, must confront how racism affects their friendship. RUBY LEE & ME’s subplot tackles Civil Rights.
My third book, ONE TRUE WAY, forthcoming on February 27, 2018 has an LGBT rights theme. The book is set during 1977, using Anita Bryant’s Save Our Children campaign, as a backdrop. If you’re not familiar with Ms. Bryant’s crusade, there are great YouTube videos about it, like this one here:
To date, I’ve written about Women’s Rights, Civil Rights, and LGBT rights. I’m excited to see where my writing takes me next.