SPOILER ALERT: This blog post contains numerous plot details from my novel, The Cherokee Rose! If you don’t want to know yet, stop reading now!
During the Q & A after a recent reading from The Cherokee Rose at the Georgia Center for the Book, an audience member said to me: “I understand the tension between Cheyenne and Ruth, but I don’t understand the instant attraction between Jinx and Ruth. Can you explain that?” The questioner happened to be someone I knew casually but was utterly surprised to see in the greater Atlanta area. She was Veta Tucker, a literary scholar and historical writer from Michigan who I knew to be working on an edited collection about the Underground Railroad in Detroit. (I am eagerly awaiting that collection due out next year from Wayne University Press, by the way.) Veta had recently moved to Atlanta to be closer to her family and had kindly taken the time to come hear my talk. Veta had clearly read the novel with interest and attention, but the development of a relationship between two of the characters puzzled her. Since this was the third time I had been asked a similar question (the first time the questioner was my mother; the third time the questioner was a staff member at the Chief Vann House State Historic Site), I realized the third time was an opening for me to try to construct a thorough answer for readers.