A Nonfiction Classic, an Acclaimed Debut Novel, and More....
"A proud, vivid oral history" - Newsweek magazine review of HAVING OUR SAY
"Sometimes, an exceptional writer finds an exceptional premise, and the result is a truly exceptional book." Philip K. Jason/Southern Literary Review, in his review of MISS DREAMSVILLE.
Welcome to my personal website. I am the author or co-author of seven nonfiction books, including HAVING OUR SAY: THE DELANY SISTERS' FIRST 100 YEARS, an oral history of two centenarian sisters who were the daughters of a man born into slavery in the American South. The Delany Sisters are gone now, but their story lives on. HAVING OUR SAY, published in 1993, continues to inspire and inform. It has been added to the curriculum of countless American high schools and colleges. As the writer who discovered them ("discovered" being a word they delighted in using), and worked side-by-side with them for two years to create the book, the sisters chose to leave me in charge of this American literary legacy.
I am still trying to live in a way the Delany Sisters would condone and respect. It doesn't matter that they've gone to the Spirit World; as far as I'm concerned they're looking over my shoulder every day. I believed in them and wrote their story even though my colleagues thought I was making a career mistake. I became like the daughter they never had. These were precious years in my life but in a way they continue. I turn down writing projects that I know the sisters wouldn't want me to do. And I feel confident that they would love what I have been writing and publishing. Before they passed away they told me to get out there and keep trying to change the world with my writing, and that's what I've been doing. I even tried my hand at fiction. In 2012, at the age of 54, I published my first novel, MISS DREAMSVILLE AND THE COLLIER COUNTY WOMEN'S LITERARY SOCIETY (Atria Books/Simon & Schuster). It's the story of a group of outsiders in a small Southern town who find their place in the world by joining a book club. I know the Delany Sisters would have loved it.
And Now, a New Novel in the Works:
I'm under contract with Atria B00ks/Simon & Schuster to write a sequel to MISS DREAMSVILLE. The setting for the sequel will remain the same (Naples, Florida) with the same cast of characters (plus a few new ones) but a year later, in 1964-65. The working title is LOST AND FOUND ON THE RIVER OF DREAMS.