Maybe this rain has got me down…just when I was getting used to seeing patches of purple around the city, the crocuses disappeared. The daffodils are out, and the magnolias will soon be in full bloom. Yet I’m a bit sullen b/c someone for whom I had high hopes has let me down. That’s life, right? People aren’t always as bold or daring or honest as we’d like them to be. Saw Alice in Wonderland in 3D today—sort of wished we’d gone to see the regular version, and sure hope all films won’t now feature soaring dragons just to make the special effects more dramatic. I’d rather watch a flat image with solid writing…one the upside, we got another great review from Examiner.com. The reviewer asked me to answer this question:
Readers can make their own inferences about why you chose the day before 9/11 as the date of Genna’s return, but what was your motivation for selecting that date? What significance does the date of Genna’s return have to you?
I think of my novel as an example of speculative fiction and as a neo-slave narrative—a “new” look at slavery and the struggle for freedom. I especially wanted readers to question the idea of progress—how far have we come? What has changed, and what has stayed the same? Genna leaves one historical moment and arrives in another only to find the city is still in flames; how could this happen—again? For many people, history began on 9/11, or rather, their consciousness of history started with that traumatic event. But if you take the long view of history, then you’re able to situate horrific acts of violence in relation to one another. AWAM begins with Genna reflecting on the execution of Timothy McVeigh; when the Draft Riots of 1863 ignite, she recalls the riots that took place in Crown Heights in 1991. By the end of the novel, she must use what she learned in and about the past to deal with the trauma that lies ahead.