If I could wish ANYTHING for you, other than unlimited good health and happiness, it would be to experience that ethereal place I write from. It’s a place I learned to trust implicitly a long time ago. A couple of times, I’ve written about bad stuff and it actually happened. I’m not sure if that was foreshadowing of my own life, but I don’t think it was coincidence.
With Palmetto Moon, I wrote about Round O, South Carolina like I knew it like the back of my hand. I’d never been there before and had only driven through Walterboro, or stopped there to use the bathroom on the way to Edisto Island over thirty years ago. So, before I turned the Palmetto Moon manuscript into my editor, last summer, I decided I should visit to make sure I got the place right.
I was pleasantly surprised and then shocked at one of those ethereal moments. Dana and Bonita Cheney, the nice couple from the Colleton County Historical Society who showed me around Walterboro, offered to show me Round O. To be honest, with the majority of the story taking place there, and having never been there, I was more than a little nervous.
I’d sent Dana and Bonita a synopsis of Palmetto Moon, that mentioned Miss Mamie’s Boarding House. When we got to Round O, which really is a crossroads community (for those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s a crossroads with a few houses, maybe a church, a little store,) Dana asked me if I’d like to see Miss Mamie’s Boarding House.
There on the corner was a dilapidated two story clapboard home that very well could have been Vada’s home in 1947. I was amazed. Then he asked me if I wanted to see what it looked like in 1947. He eased down the road about 100 feet and there was the EXACT house I’d pictured when I was writing the book. I know this picture is a little cockeyed but I was completely stunned.
A few weeks later, I approached Dick Elliott, the owner of Maverick Southern Kitchens, and nationally renowned SNOB in Charleston about contributing recipes for the book. I wanted to use them in lieu of Reader Questions. Turns out the executive chef at SNOB’s name is Frank Lee and my hero’s name is Frank Darling. Coincidence? Maybe, but I’m tagging it as a gift from the ether.
If you’d like to win a copy of Palmetto Moon before the 8/5/14 release date, check out my giveaway on GoodReads!