Thursday, January 15, 2009


about Dancing in Cadillac Light:

1. Jaynell and Racine were adults before they were children. I first wrote about them in a short story called Alaska Fading which was published in Southern Humanities Review. In that story, Racine was the oldest.

2. The book was first a short story inspired by a writing exercise. In the writing exercise, I wrote about the contents in the characters' closets. Racine had a dancing outfit. That one article of clothing inspired Dancing in Cadillac Light, the short story. Later I developed it into a novel.

3. On my first book tour, my friend Kathy Patrick took me to a restaurant in Uncertain, Texas. I knew that I wanted my book to be set there. When I went back to research, Uncertain proved too tiny for the setting.(Although it does appear in the book). I chose nearby Karnack instead. But in the book, the town is referred to as Moon.

4. Grandaddy in the story is a former postman. I chose that because of the stories my grandfather told me about his mail routes when he was a rural postman.

5. My other grandfather would take me on walks through Butter's Cemetery. He knew about everyone who was buried there. I loved those walks because to me they were about life--the lives represented by the headstones. Those walks inspired the scene with Jaynell and her grandfather.

6. The scene where Racine triumphs at the dance recital was inspired by my sister and her violin recital. I used to avoid listening to my sister practice her violin. The screeching! When it was time to go to her recital I was embarrassed. Now I would have to listen to her screech in front of entire audience. But she was magnificent. Practice makes perfect!

Below are some of the illustrations from the German edition. I believe Maren Briswalter captured the spirit of the story.

****January Giveaway: A signed copy of Dancing in Cadillac Light. To enter the drawing, please send your SNAIL mail address to: The deadline is Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at noon central time. Good luck!

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