While researching the setting of my novel, I encountered many photos of young Black WWI veterans being threatened by white people—often police officers—for wearing their uniforms in public.  But the one featured here struck an especially deep chord, the valiant young Black man at its center becoming the model for my character, George Gumbs, a […]

In researching this novel, it became clear that most women in the early 20th century were burdened with an inordinate amount of dirty, strenuous, and downright dangerous labor.  They worked with chemicals like lye and boric acid, handled open laundry fires and sizzling stoves, hauled water, and handled raw meat, and also worked outside the […]

In the midst of writing this novel, I had a chance to return to Texas after many years away.  While there, I visited the orphanage in Waxahachie where my grandmother and her siblings lived after their mother’s death in 1919. The ‘Home’, as it is still known, exists in some form on the same spot […]

When she was 12 or so, my grandmother’s father lost his arm to a sawmill blade.  Nana rarely spoke of her father, but I do remember her describing the fateful day Papa’s coworkers brought him to their house, heaving his mangled body onto their kitchen table, blooding dripping everywhere. That moment becomes a pivotal scene […]