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When I wrote my YA-novel, Honeysuckle Holiday, I knew it would take place in Memphis and in St. Louis -- two areas where I spent part of my childhood. Each city would leave a huge thumbprint on my life, particularly as I grew older and moved with my family to West Virginia, where the story concludes -- or perhaps, to some degree, begins.

The main character in the novel is Lucy. Her sisters Caroline and Grace play significant roles in young Lucy's life, as she makes her way through the tumultuous period of change throughout the south in the 1960s.

This photo was taken during that period in the backyard of Aunt Dodo's and Uncle Herman's house in St. Louis -- I'm the one on the right. And the tavern across the street -- there seemed to be one on every corner -- became the inspiration for a pivotal scene in Honeysuckle Holiday. If I close my eyes and concentrate real hard it comes to life, and I feel the beads of perspiration from a nearly unbearable summer heat form on my forehead.

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