Red Clay and Roses: The Story Behind the Story

As promised, here is the guest post by the author of Red Clay and Roses, S.K. Nicholls herself, where she discusses the inspiration behind her book. I have already reviewed the book myself. If you haven’t read it, you can read it here. To know more about the book, please click here. Without any further ado, I hand over the writing space to her.

I am honored to be invited to do a guest post on the site of Howanxious.  It is a privilege to be on the same site with so much beautiful and spiritually moving poetry and some very thoughtful and honest book reviews.  I first want to say that my book is a faction; a cross between fiction and truth.  I wrote what happened and did not set out to write a novel.  Publishing was not planned.  I was encouraged to publish after friends read the manuscript.  I have learned so very much from the WordPress community since that time and feel honored also to be among so many talented writers.  I am planning to write more and with serious thought to design and construct.

Howanxious and I discussed a topic for today’s guest post and we decided that a post on the inspiration behind the book would be appropriate.  As I mentioned, the book is fiction based on a true story, otherwise known as a “Faction Novel”.  For that reason, I had limited control on what would happen to the characters, and basically wrote about things that happened based on a collection of stories from my own experiences in getting to know the characters in real life and the characters they exposed me to through their own stories, their tragedies and triumphs.

Finding the Ledger in 1992 was the impetus for the story in Red Clay and Roses.I did not want the stories of the real people and characters to be forgotten.  The book has two primary themes:  Racism and women’s reproductive rights and responsibilities.  These are two themes which are sensitive and delicate, and often ignored in literature or skimmed over briefly.  I sought to provide a more in depth and personal examination.

There are political and spiritual overtones in the book.  Much research of factual historical matter was woven into the story for posterity’s sake.  My inspirations for writing this book were twofold:

1. Civil Rights: The love of my grandchildren and my desire to see them grow up in a world that is not only tolerant, but accepting of people of color with full integration and understanding, and without bigotry.

I have two mixed race grandchildren.  I raised my children to not see color in their observations of people. White people often do not understand the anger of blacks or other people of color because we have not suffered the oppression and effects of bigotry.  Red Clay and Roses examines the history of those oppressions; the bigotry that existed in the 1950& 60’s, the dilemmas faced by those who suffered through the era before the Jim Crow Laws were repealed and then enforced in the South, and how life was for people as they attempted to acclimate to the new law. I wanted to record that history of the Civil Rights Movement in context to the characters of the story. People tend to forget that it was once not only inappropriate to mingle and mix with people of color; it was actually against the law to do so in many places. I want my offspring and others to know and understand where they came from, and where they need to go if we are to more forward and progress to the point where we are truly “post racial”.

2. Women’s Rights: A strong desire to present the realities of the world as it was for women before Roe vs. Wade.

In Red Clay and Roses, many women from many different situations and backgrounds are faced with the issue of pregnancy when it was not expected.  There were no birth control pills in that era (until 1960), and women’s rights and resources were minimal.  They often resorted to unimaginable tactics and were faced with unmentionable horrors in their plight to assume some sense of control over their lives.   Chauvinism perpetuated those horrors.  It was not my desire to choose sides with respect to the prolife or/& prochoice movements, but merely to give examples of the reality of the world for women when their choices were so severely limited.  It was also an opportunity to demonstrate the complexities of adoption and share how that option changes outcome.  I had worked with the National Organization for Women (NOW) in my college years and had much experience in working with young women who were like-minded in fighting for women’s rights.  Those rights are tempered with major responsibilities and the book explores those.

Finding the ledger, hearing the true stories of the history of it from the real people who were involved in its origin was most inspiring.Real life is not always pretty.  Red Clay and Roses was my way of recording what the ledger truly represented in my mind.  The ending was bittersweet, and my only regret is that in the writing of the book, staying true to the story, I was unable to dedicate much upon the many positive effects of our history and of our progress away from that which was about to destroy us as a free society.

That really makes us think about the society and the various notions which can make life a difficult prospect for some, doesn’t it? I know you are now interested in reading the book. Grab a copy for your Amazon Kindle. The book is also available in various other formats like pdf, epub, etc. So you do not have to worry if you haven’t got Kindle. Moreover, a paperback version of the book will be available soon. Visit the following links for more information regarding the very same-

Smashwords

Amazon

iTunes

Barnes and Noble

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