The book I’m currently working on has been with me all of my life. My mother told me these stories from the time I can remember. I was born at the right time, a time when some homes here in the south still had outhouses, when hog killings still took place, when some still relied solely on a fireplace to keep them partially warm in winter (only the part turned toward the fire), and relied on nothing but hand-held fans or old fans that could cut off a finger, if you got too close, to keep a little cooler in the hot, humid summers. I walked barefoot in the fields of cotton, burning the soles of my feet. I helped slop the hogs and watched my grandmother milking the cow. I saw the one-room school my mother attended and the red-clay hills she walked to get there.
So the stories solidified in me because I saw and experienced some of the same things my mother did. And I knew I wanted to share these stories with others.
I took the stories and molded them into a book, but changed the characters. The mother in the book is not my grandmother. My grandmother was a kind, loving woman. We’ll just say the mother in the book is not so kind. I never met my grandfather, but I did not base the father on what little I know of my grandfather. Except perhaps his sense of humor. My mother said my grandfather would sometimes explode into laughter and never told them what he was laughing about. And the main character, Sarah Jane, is not my mother. Some say writers cast themselves as their main characters. Perhaps Sarah Jane is a little like me, but I think she is more of who I wish I had been growing up. Perhaps me, but a better me. Not that she doesn’t have flaws.
And I organized the stories into what I think is a coherent, entertaining, and touching book.
Thundersnow is the book. And it will hopefully be published—if not by a major publisher or a small publisher, self published by me. It is too much of the lives of others to never come into a life of its own.
And too much of me.