Thursday, February 9, 2012

Free Kindle download in honor of Black History Month

First novels are often semi-autobiographical. But I'm one of those fiction writers who enjoys "living" other lives. My first novel, AS FAR AS BLOOD GOES, concerned a fugitive slave who becomes a doctor.

This is a brief description of that novel: Michael’s white master is also his father, but his master “don’t care nothin’ 'bout that,” Michael knows, making up his mind to run up North. Reaching a free state at last, he achieves the near impossible – becoming a physician. But the Passage of the Fugitive Slave Law brings slave-catchers hunting him down. Can he escape slavery a second time – this time with his white half-brother’s help? The riveting prequel to A Different Sin.

Michael is a fictional character, but there were other African-Americans who succeeded in becoming doctors in the ante-bellum years when the book is set. Eight African-American physicians served in the Union army during the Civil War.

In researching and writing this novel I learned how widespread the struggle for equality in Northern cities was, even while slavery still thrived in the South. My fictional protagonist escaped to Boston, Massachusetts, and -- as I mentioned in an earlier blog post -- I was lucky enough to discover the historical work, Black Bostonians: Family Life and Community Struggle in the Antebellum North, by James Oliver Horton and Lois E. Horton. From their superb study, I learned about such historical events as a boycott of segregated Boston schools organized in the year 1849 by Black parents seeking equal educational opportunities for their children.

Michael's escape and recapture are played out against this background of the struggle for freedom and dignity of the African-American people. In honor of this largely forgotten African-American history, I am offering Kindle downloads of As Far as Blood Goes (normally $2.99) free for five days, starting now.