Photo of Florida Gulf Coast beach by Barbara Feichtinger.
I'm an American journalist, novelist, and New York Times
Bestselling Author. I began my career in the newspaper business and became a book author quite by accident. I wrote a story for The New York Times
in 1991 about two then-unknown centenarian sisters, Sadie and Bessie Delany, who were the daughters of a man born into slavery. My story on the Delany Sisters was read by a book publisher who contacted me and asked if I would expand my story into book form. The Delany Sisters agreed, and we worked together for almost two years to create the oral history we called, Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years.
The book was a blockbuster bestseller. It was adapted to the Broadway stage and for an award-winning film.
Sadie, Amy, and Bessie at the sisters' house, Mt. Vernon, N.Y. 1992. Photo by Blair Hearth.
The Delany Sisters are both gone now but their legacy lives on. Having Our Say
is still a very popular book among reading groups, and it's a classroom favorite. The sisters left me in charge of our book, and as such, I am the go-to person when it comes to the book, photographs, their story, and their place in history. If you can't find my original New York Times
story on the Delany Sisters, let me know and I will send it to you. If you have a question, just ask. Please feel free to invite me to speak about these American treasures. I will share personal stories of what it was like to spend so much time with them.
Although the sisters are no longer with us, I feel their presence in my life and try to carry out their wishes, including their hopes and plans for me. They wanted me to write more books - insightful works which would give voice to the voiceless and shed light on topics in American life which have been largely ignored. I believe I have done exactly as they wished.
Miss Dot, Amy's dog, was rescued from a puppy mill. Photo by Blair Hearth.
Most of the people I've written about are older. I've written a book on a married pair of Holocaust survivors who survived by masquerading as Christians and working for the Underground; and a Native American Elder with the intriguing name, "Strong Medicine."
Most recently, I decided to try something new by writing fiction, and I have published two novels about a book club comprised of misfits and dreamers in small-town Florida in the early 1960s. I loved writing the novels but I plan to keep writing nonfiction as well.
For more information, click on "Bio" in the menu at the top of this page.