Saturday, February 2, 2008


Often I'm asked if I put real people in my books. My answer is always the same. "No, except once."

When I was writing the first draft of my first book, My Louisiana Sky, I thought the grandmother seemed familiar, but it wasn't until I finished the draft that I realized Granny was a lot like my grandmother, Nanny.

My grandmother was a plain-spoken woman. She could be blunt, but you always knew where you stood with her. And if you were one of her grandchildren that meant she loved you, flaws and all.

One summer she took me to the Rapides Parish Bookmobile and told the librarian that I was only nine, but had read all her Readers Digests cover-to-cover. Some of my memories didn't seem so precious at the time they happened. Like the night she watched from her kitchen window as I kissed my boyfriend.

I will never look at a pansy, or an Avon catalog, or a porch swing without thinking of her. And as a writer whose characters always seem to be searching for home, I can tell you this much--I didn't have to go far to find home in her.

Rest in peace, Nanny.

Zora Butter Willis

May 19, 1916-February 2, 2008

No comments:

Post a Comment