The Birth of a Novel
In 1934 this young woman bought a small red diary. On the inside cover she wrote, "A line a day or a record of my 1934 doings and thoughts." These "doings" were mainly her job as a maid for wealthy families in Des Moines, Iowa.
In 2005, my mother died and I came into possession of her diaries. I read them cover to cover, fascinated with the story unfolding of life in the Great Depression era. A novel set in the 1930s began to grow in my imagination.
I chose Ruth for my main character. Ruth had made an appearance in one of the first chapters of The Long Ride Home, and I always wondered what happened to her. So she told me her story.
Flight of the Red-winged Blackbird is not my mother's story, but I drew greedily from her diaries for authenticity. Iowa icons mentioned in the book include: the capital, Union and Greenwood Parks, the Italian neighborhood on the south side, Iowa State Fair, the Ledges, and many more. And yes, Ruth works as a maid as my mother did.
Ruth's story, Flight of the Red-winged Blackbird, is now available for preorders on Amazon.
Susan Lawrence taught elementary school for 33 years before hanging up her chalkboard to write and speak. She writes novels for both adults and middle grade children. Susan lives in Iowa with her husband and short-legged Lab, Molly. She has 3 children and 7 grandchildren who love to hear her stories.