INSPIRATION: Years of the culture telling me men were monsters who would trample my timorous soul if I let them.
The character Katherine McCullough came from a dusty unfinished diary in a university library. While doing missionary work (which at the time I thought was savaging a culture) her young son died of lockjaw after stepping on a rusty nail on a barge while crossing the Mississippi to visit his mother. Served her right! I callously thought (btw Katherine’s son doesn’t die in the book).
The original intent of the novel was to trash missionaries and keep the myth of the noble savage alive and well. Then I did research. Turns out I had a lot to learn about human frailty on all sides.
My mother said the problem with me was that I didn’t respect my husband. I wondered what it would look like if I did respect a…
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