Wednesday, October 30, 2013

How I Began Writing My First Novel

Picture of Keshia Thomas with Karen Simpson. Photo taken by Karen Simpson
Keshia Thomas (L)  shown with Karen Simpson (R) at the University of Michigan in March, 2013. 
About 12 years ago, I read about a heroic incident that happened in1996 in which a young woman, Keshia Thomas  lived up to her values of  hope and love during a Klan rally in our  hometown of Ann Arbor, Michigan.  

With nothing but a picture and a few paragraphs I started on my writing journey.  I used my imagination to contemplate how much courage it would take to shield someone who is full of hate. My novel, Act of Grace developed into a paranormal,  speculative fiction taking on race relations in America. 

Although my novel departed from the original story, I still often wondered about what happened to Keshia. March of this year I was able to help bring Keshia to the University of Michigan to speak about her experience via the Understanding Race Project.  I was over the moon to finally meet her and grateful for the experience.  

I was elated this week to see Keshia and the wonderful photographer who took those historic photos, Thomas and Mark Brunner spark positive thoughts about race relations across the globe.

Please take time to read about Keshia and her wonderful act of bravery.