Editor’s Note: This exchange is part of a series of brief interviews with emerging writers of recent or forthcoming books. If you enjoyed it, please visit other interviews in the I’ve Got Questions feature.
- What’s the title of your book? Fiction? Nonfiction? Poetry? Who is the publisher and what’s the publication date?
Indigo Field, Novel, Regal House Publishing, Pub Date: 3/14/2023
- In a couple of sentences, what’s the book about?
Indigo Field is about the hidden history of the South, buried in an old field, rising to confront present-day characters. It’s about an elderly Black woman who knows it all but will not tell; it’s about how in our culture we believe only the history that is written down; it’s about people, Black and white, who must find their courage and need each other to survive.
- What’s the book’s genre (for fiction and nonfiction) or primary style (for poetry)?
Indigo Field is often listed as general or literary fiction, but it has elements of magical realism, generational saga, and historical fiction, as well as a pretty big nod to murder mystery and cli-fi. Some have called it a social justice novel, as it looks closely at questions about the court system, generational racial violence, and the possibility of restoring balance and justice.
- What’s the nicest thing anyone has said about the book so far?
Peter Mock, the buyer at McIntyre’s Books – he’s a hard-boiled mystery reader so he just about made me cry with this. In fact, I tear up every time:“What an incredible story of the past and present colliding, revealing scars upon the land that can’t be healed until the pain is confronted and atoned for. Told with such superb skill, and a prose style that left me weeping, Marjorie has crafted a novel that will resonate with the reader long after the last page is turned.”
- What book or books is yours comparable to or a cross between?
The Good Neighborhood, by Therese Fowler (Black and white neighbors feud) meets A Hell of a Book by Jason Mott (the spirit of a murdered child has conversations out loud with the main character) meets The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (nothing about Afghanistan, but a grown man needs to find a way to atone for his past).
- Why this book? Why now?
I’ve been bothered about the issues raised in this novel for a long time, and it took me a long time to figure out a structure that was clear-eyed about different kinds of characters and their particular way of creating barriers against “the other.” While I was revising over a 30-year period I wondered if anyone would understand what I was talking about – the pervasive unspoken crimes against Black and Indigenous people in the South, the pervasive turning away from acknowledgment of that. So – why now? – I guess by now it’s clear to most people that this is a problem for white people too.
- Other than writing this book, what’s the best job you’ve ever had?
It’s hard to pick, but here are some favorites: Music manager, Food for Thought Restaurant in DC – I got to audition and promote new singer-songwriters. Features Editor, National Parks magazine – I got to meet some extraordinary environmental warriors and traveled to Germany for a wilderness conference. Copyeditor, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill – I got to read great books and get paid for it!
- What do you want readers to take away from the book?
I want readers to love my characters as much as I do, and I hope they look at the world around them a new way – with more empathy and heartbreak and hope.
- What food and/or music do you associate with the book?
Strawberry shortcake with farmers market strawberries; white liquor in Mason jars; goat cheese; Nabs crackers; Cheerwine in cans. A blend of old-time mountain music and spirituals. In fact, I’m working up a show with some musician friends: nine scenes, nine songs, with Bill Payne, Bobby Doolittle, and Nancy McCurry in Greensboro, NC. Watch for news!
- What book(s) are you reading currently?
Tell Me One Thing by Kerri Schlottman. The Sound of Rabbits by Janice Deal. Alone with All that Could Happen: On Writing Fiction by David Jauss.
Learn more about Marjorie on her website.
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Buy the book from the publisher (Regal House Publishing), McIntyre’s Books, or Bookshop.org.