Beginning November 1, I am beginning a giveaway of twenty copies of Cradle to Grave.
This is my third book and of the four I have published, and the one coming out next spring, is the one with the most emotional resonance for me. My daughter had had a baby the year before. There were some problems and she had to have a C-section. Then there were some problems with the baby, most of which he has grown out of of. That poor kid was in the hospital more times than I can count.
I had already come across the practice of warning out in my research for A Simple Murder and Death of a Dyer but it wasn’t an appropriate topic for those books. (And I must say, the research for the first two and then Death in Salem were a lot more fun. I love Salem, the Shakers are fascinating and, for Death of a Dyer, I messed around with dyes for months. The research was pretty grim for Cradle.) But I started thinking, what happens to single mothers? How would I feel if I had children and was trying to feed and raise them? What happens to orphans? How could a single mother even try to fight the power structure?
At the same time, I read an article in the New York Times about the practice in Las Vegas of rounding up the homeless and shipping them to California. The more things change, the more they remain the same, right?
I was also babysitting some older children so their mother could work. So, I based Jerusha, Simon and Nancy on these kids, and the mixed race foundling that no one wanted is my first grandson.
I had to have a happy ending. Spoiler alert.
It may not be the best mystery of the lot but, for me, it has the most heart and the one that means the most to me.