If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

Our May author interviews: Marla Cooper-5/3, Rhys Bowen-5/10, Cindy Brown-5/17, Martha Reed-5/24, Sherry Harris--5/31.

Saturday Guest Bloggers in May--Paty Jager-5/6 and Maren Anderson-5/13. WWK Saturday bloggers write on 5/20--Margaret S. Hamilton and on 5/27--Kait Carson. E. B. Davis blogs this month on 5/30.


“May 16, 2017 – The Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) today announced the finalists of the second annual Star Award, given to authors of published women’s fiction. Six finalists were chosen in two categories, General and Outstanding Debut. The winners of the Star Award will be announced at the WFWA Retreat in Albuquerque, New Mexico on September 23, 2017.”

In the general category, WWK’s Carla Damron was one of three finalist for her novel, The Stone Necklace. Go to Carladamron.com for more information. Congratulations, Carla!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Sight Unseen" in Fish Out of Water, Guppie (SinC) anthology, just released, and "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

Linda Rodriquez has two pending book publications. Plotting the Character-Driven Novel will be released by Scapegoat Press on November 29th. Every Family Doubt, the fourth Skeet Bannion mystery, is scheduled for release on October, 18, 2017. Look for the interview by E. B. Davis here on that date!

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Writing Down the Hard Stuff

After much urging I have decided to start my seventh novel. It is set in a fictional town in Delaware in the 1750s. After some poking around in historical sources, I realized that I couldn’t write about Colonial Delaware without including slavery. In the 1700s half of the slaves in Delaware were born in Africa.

Delaware ran hot and cold on the issue of slavery. The colony was divided between the Quaker north, where slaves were house servants or worked small plot s of their master’s land, and the south, where larger plantations demanded free labor to survive. While there are no slaves in Delaware today, that division still exits.

Early on, people of color, free or enslaved, were not allowed to leave the state or return to it. This kept them from being sold south to the harsher work conditions on the large cotton plantations. If they left the state and were gone more than three days they couldn’t come back. This kept slaves from being purchased elsewhere and brought into the state, but it also meant that people were not allowed to return to their families.

Delaware was a Union state during the Civil War, but at the time there were 1800 slaves within our borders. Not a single one of them was freed by the Emancipation Proclamation, since it freed only slaves from the rebel states.

Newspapers offer useful details about runaway slaves or indentured servants: clothing, patterns of speech, country of origin, education, and the amount of the reward. Books by Delaware scholars provide understanding of laws, living conditions, and social interactions. It’s harder to find a narrative that tells what it felt like to be uprooted from your home and live the rest of your life in servitude.

The more I read the more I realized that slavery was going to be central to the plot, not just something to be mentioned in passing. How is a novelist supposed to deal with this? I need my main characters to be likable but they have to be slave owners. How can I strike that balance? I’ve read plenty of good books where the writer tackled cultures not their own. How does a 21st century white, middle class woman write about 18th century slavery? I will be working through this problem the whole time I am writing, and rewriting.

My plight reflects a split that has been present since the beginning of the colony, and is evident in the paper this morning. The black community is disputing the right of the city to award a grant to the Delaware Historical Society (run by people like me) to set up a black heritage and cultural center.

The other day I ran into this quote by James Baldwin: People who treat other people as less than human must not be surprised when the bread they cast upon the water comes back poisoned.

Seems like a pretty good basis for a novel.

3 comments:

Warren Bull said...

I commend your persistence and your honesty. Slavery was important in the development of the colonies and then the states. I don't think we can ignore the truth just because it is uncomfortable/difficult/inexcusable. I've written two novels about Abraham Lincoln and one about "Bleeding Kansas." I have characters who are slave holders and who argue for the "Peculiar Institution." They were hard to write about, but it would have been dishonest to ignore them.

Linda Rodriguez said...

KB, I think if you are aware and try to write consciously and unflinchingly that this will be a great book. Good luck!

Gloria Alden said...

Interesting blog, KB.I think you can do it and quite well. Although there were some complaints about the author of THE HELP witing about black maids, all in all most people think she did a good job. Could the daughter or son of one of your slave holders be opposed to slavery? Just a thought. And then some slave holders honestly felt their slaves depended on them for their care. Misguided, of course, but that was often the thinking at that time.