Guest Author S.K. Nicholls

Today our guest is S.K. Nicholls, author of yesterday’s book “Red Clay and Roses”. You can check out my review of the book here. http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-4Ge

S. K. Nicholls

Let’s find out more about Susan and her writing.

1)  Where is your home town?

I was born in LaGrange, Georgia, USA, and lived in the surrounding area while bringing up my own children.

2)  How long have you been writing?

I first had a short story published when I was seventeen and in high school. I put writing aside while focused on my nursing career. Upon retirement in 2011, I picked it up again. A visit to my father in 2012 stirred up an old story from my youth that I still wanted to tell. So I set myself to writing it down.

3)  What key element inspired this book?

Based on a true story, it was finding the ledger in 1992 that truly propelled the development of the story, but there is something more. So many have this image of the Deep South as one of little old white ladies sitting on the front porch swing sipping mint juleps. Life and reality was more harsh than that for most people, especially the African Americans. I have mixed race grandchildren. I presented the world historically as it truly was for many. There was hardship, dilemma, and many secrets kept. We are more open and accepting now. I don’t want to see us go back there. We learn from history how to move forward.

4)  Did you have to do a lot of research or did you interview people too?

The octogenarians were interviewed, and my father who is seventy five. An enormous amount of research went into the book to assure its historical accuracy. All of the events and setting locations are very real, and had to be researched.

5)  I’m not sure what “Jim Crow Law” was, can you tell us more?

The Jim Crow laws were racial segregation laws enacted between 1876 and 1965 in the United States at the state and local level. They mandated de jure racial segregation in all public facilities in Southern states of the former Confederacy, with, starting in 1890, a separate but equal status for African Americans. The separation in practice led to conditions for African Americans that tended to be inferior to those provided for white Americans systematizing a number of economic, educational and social disadvantages, and leading to prejudice and severe racism. Even though these laws were declared unconstitutional in 1965, many communities continued the segregation long into the seventies.

South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina were the Confederate states, and Kentucky was provisional.

Some examples of Jim Crow laws were; the segregation of public schools, public places (swimming pools, doctors and dentists offices), and public transportation, and the segregation of restrooms, clothing stores, restaurants, and drinking fountains for whites and blacks. The U.S. military was also segregated.

“Jump Jim Crow” was a song-and-dance caricature of blacks performed by white actors painted in blackface. That is believed to be where the name Jim Crow law for this collection of state laws came from.

6) Nathan took part in several campaigns for Civil Rights, can you tell the readers about some of them.

The Freedom Rides were a campaign for blacks to assert themselves in avoiding discrimination practices. The black men would ride in the whites only passenger cars on trains. Other black men would ride in the black cars in case there was trouble, which there often was, as the white passengers rebelled and fought. Many blacks were arrested and beaten for their actions.

The Sit-Ins were started by black university students who would sit down in whites only dining establishments for the same reasons and with the same outcomes.

There were many protests, marches and demonstrations, like Bloody Sunday, some peaceful and some not so, where blacks were joined by liberal minded whites who championed the causes of Civil Right.

7) Sybil faced her own demons when she became pregnant, but she dealt with the situation as best she could. Do you think she made the right decision?

For her, it was right, but I did feel she should have been honest with Nathan, to at least let him know about the pregnancy, yet I can understand why she didn’t. Althea, Bonnie Jean and Sybil all found different ways to deal with an unplanned pregnancy. Who am I to decide what was best or right for any of them?

8) When Trent was sent to prison, Sybil faced several hardships, which was worst do you think?

I think the difficulties she ran into with trying to manage her business were the hardest for her, because she had put so much of herself into its success.

9) Which part of the book was your favourite and why?

I don’t know if I have a favourite part. I liked different parts for different reasons. I liked how Ms. Bea’s character developed. I liked Moses’ stories and his character…but then, these were real people I had met in my own life. The entire story demonstrated the sacrifices that real people made in order to attempt to achieve social progress. These were common ordinary people, who were deeply affected by politics on a micro-level. The very end, in the conclusion, has special meaning to me personally as it conveys a hope for future generations. Sybil and her family are my family.

10) I would describe your book as a window in history for readers to enjoy rather than a book with a massively pleasing commercial content, am I correct?

I did not write Red Clay and Roses with marketing in mind. I wrote the story passionately from my heart based on real life events. I did not deviate from what actually occurred in order to make a more sellable story. It is a fictionalized true story. Outside the realm of genre fiction, it is a niche read.

Red Clay and Roses

Find a copy on Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Thank you Susan for being our guest today.

Red Clay and Roses by S.K.Nicholls

Red Clay and RosesRed Clay and Roses by S.K. Nicholls

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Red Clay and Roses steps back in history to Georgia and the deep south at a time where people struggled to survive and where changes to segregation and inequality faced fierce resistance.

The stories within are written around an old accounting ledger, found many years later, after it was hidden away. Hannah Schmidt pieces together the events and lives of the characters who were associated with The Good Doctor. She interviews relatives and follows leads from which she tells the reader of the everyday lives of a group of people whose destinies became entangled. There is passion, love, fear and survival written over several decades during which the American nation was forced to change laws and move into a new direction.

We meet the Good Doctor who ran a double accounting system and provided a much needed, but illegal, abortion service. Mrs Bea, his wife, who was left alone after he died to face her own guilt about what the doctor did. Moses and his family are the black help who live in a shack on the Good Doctors land. The Good Doctor goes on to sponsor Nathan, Moses’ son, through school and sets him up to train as a doctor. Then there is Sybil, a young, independent white women who wants to start her own business running a salon in town.

The lives of the characters show some great hardships. There was such prejudice and fear of stepping over the acceptable line. This book is like a window in time which lets us peek at history in the making.

Find a copy on Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

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S.K.Nicholls will be our guest on the blog tomorrow, do come back and read more about her and her book.

The Doctor’s Deceit by Kathy Steinemann

The Doctor's Deceit: Sapphire Brigade Book 2The Doctor’s Deceit: Sapphire Brigade Book 2 by Kathy Steinemann

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“The Doctor’s Deceit” is the follow on book from “Vanguard of Hope”, set in the 1800’s it deals with a society trying to protect innocent victims of sexual abuse, rape and prejudice. I really liked this book and the way the author has developed the story from a set of diaries. The Sapphire Brigade do their best to protect victims and go further than the police in dishing out punishment to those who have abused. It highlights the length to which people will go to help others. Another good book from author Kathy Steinemann.

This is what Kathy said about her books;
“I am going to keep producing these books in an attempt to give victims a voice. The next book will have a section containing letters from victims to the Sapphire Brigade. If any victims of such abuse in today’s world want to get in touch with me, I would be happy to include their wish lists. The letters might have to be re-worded somewhat in keeping with the time frame (late 19th century early 20th century). For such people the writing process is giving them a forum to vent their frustrations, because their stories are real.”

If anyone wants to get in touch with Kathy, contact me and I’ll pass on your details.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Doctors-Deceit-Sapphire-ebook/dp/B00CKG2VGI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1368864185&sr=8-1&keywords=the+doctor%27s+deceit+by+kathy+steinemann

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One Woman’s choice by Karen Whitaker

One Woman's ChoiceOne Woman’s Choice by Karen Whitaker This book had a place in my 2013 April A to Z Challenge. Karen then invited me to read and review her work, which I have the pleasure of providing for you below.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Karen Whitaker’s book reveals her life from its start in the 1960’s in America, it was a challenging life at times, filled with struggles including; prejudice, single parenting, step children, half-brother and sisters. We feel Karen’s pain as she grows up in an extended family where love was often needed more than it was given. Karen’s family, peers and religion shape some of her later choices involving abortion, adoption and her own single parenting. Karen hopes that her book will help others who find themselves with similar choices to make in their own lives.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/One-Womans-Choice-Karen-Whitaker/dp/1475952155/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1367170677&sr=8-1&keywords=One+Woman%27s+choice+by+karen+whitaker

View all my reviews