The Initial Book Idea

Several years ago, for some reason, I — a white woman in my 40s at the time — had this completely off-the-wall (for me) idea for a story:

When their grandmother and sole caretaker dies, two young African American boys must travel by foot to Memphis to find the father who abandoned them.

Why Memphis? I don’t know. I had never even been there, but it was clearly Memphis in my mind, and the working title was On the Road to Memphis. Why two little Black boys? I don’t know. It was just important to me, and I couldn’t shake the idea.

The original time frame for my story was the Great Depression of the 1930s. However, as I began researching Memphis I ran into a much more intriguing possibility: the sanitation workers’ strike of 1968. I found an article about two men — Robert Walker and Echol Cole — who were killed by faulty, old machinery in a city garbage truck. This event sparked a revolution in the black community of Memphis and attracted national attention when union organizers descended upon Memphis and the civil rights movement grew like wildfire in the streets of the city, literally. This series of events culminated in the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis.

1968 it is!

And the story in my mind became much less about a lonely and dangerous road trip and more about the boys’ arrival during the chaos of the strike. The more I began researching the events of those first few months of 1968, the more excited I got about using them as the backdrop for my story, and the more ideas I began to have for a colorful cast of fictional characters’ involvement in the unfolding real-life story.

So I dug my heels in, found/bought/rented various resources, and took a dive. And MAN, am I learning so much!


3 thoughts on “The Initial Book Idea

  1. Hi Rachel. I came across your blog from a comment which you had left on a fellow blogger’s post recently. Honestly, I am just beginning to check out your blog and you do look like a pro writer to me. I think you must write and complete the novel. The thought was put into your heart and spirit for something to be accomplished, which only you are meant to do. I know it will come out really well. I will take some time and come back and check on the rest of your blog. Have a lovely day!.


    1. Thanks so much, Dew! I appreciate your kind words, and I hope you continue to enjoy the blog.
      By the way… you are the very first person to comment on any post in my blog- wish I had a prize to give you! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I love to invest my time to encourage likeminded people with a passion to achieve something. So I really don’t need a prize and I am happy to see you happy! Keep up the good work. Someone out there needs to read what you have written. 🙂


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