At times it takes me far above the earth to another world. My husband tells me I go there when I'm writing— to that other planet, sometimes making it impossible to communicate properly to earth. But he protects those times for me, insisting that I go—go to that place where no one follows. It is in those times that I am able to do what I do.
I had no idea the dramatic separateness, the acute closeness, if that makes sense. It will when you read my story. Like when Solomon of old visited Queen Esther and learned "the half has never been told" —as I research what took place on the continent of North America in the strangest of times, I have found that same statement to be true on a different level. "The half has not been told." At least not unless you go searching for it. Oh, it's out there, mostly in the archives of the northern newspapers. God love those editors and journalists and proprietors who dared tell the real story at the risk of being arrested or imprisoned without the right of a trial (habeas corpus). It has given me hope to know that much of the North pitied the South, loathed the way we were treated during the most hideous of wars, and tried, some to their own peril to tell the story. And I had no idea how grossly they were affected by Radical decisions that disturbed their lives, their thoughts, their days.
RACHEL, After the Darkness will be my best work, if I do say so. Maybe my last work. I keep saying that, for time is no longer on my side. Longevity has met me head on. But . . . perhaps I will be like most other writers, hesitant to lay down the pen and tablet. I've become inordinately attached to "my people" and to say good-bye to them would change my life. I don't know if I'm willing to make that change. I'm fiercely proud of my ancestors. Proud of them on a level they would not have understood during those most trying years. I have to remind myself every day that they were fighting for one reason—to defend. I'm proud of them for far more reasons than that, though it was a noble cause. I hope when you read RACHEL After the Darkness, you will understand.
From Chapter Ten of the Manuscript The Decision
week later, Rachel loaded the wagon, slipped the bag containing her commentary
under the seat of the buckboard and covered it with two blankets. She and
Samuel, once again, headed for the Jamison farm.
“It looks like rain, Samuel. I do hope not
for we will get wet and cold. This may be crazy, but I can’t help myself. Am I obsessed?”
she wailed, as she and Samuel sailed toward Sarepta.
“No ma’am, you’re just determined.”
“Oh, I like that better, Sam.”
“So far, so good," he said.."Just cloudy and cold.”
He struck the mules for a little more speed.
“I wonder what Jesse will think of me,
coming again without an invitation.”
“You know she will be glad. And, Mama,
she knows you by now anyway. Don’t worry about that part.” Sam yelled over the
noise of the wagon and the thud of hooves hitting the hard-packed dirt.
“What part should I worry about, Sam?”
“I don’t know, Mama, ‘cause I have no
idea what you’re writing about, but I think that
has something to do with why you maybe should worry. I know how you feel about
Papa and the boys going to war and Papa and Henry dying. I know. And I feel the
same way. Don’t we have a right to feel some way about it?”
“Sam, you’re more discerning than a man
of twenty,” said Rachel. “Thank you for your amazing insight and above all for
your calmness in the storm of my life. Surely you got that trait from me, back
when I exercised it properly.”
“I like that you are—what’s a good
“That is a really good word," said Rachel, "although I
hope I’m not like a ‘reed shaken in the wind’.”
“Not that,” he said, laughing. “More
like a cane. One that can ‘give’ when it’s time to. Or maybe even a whole canebrake!”
“I see what you’re saying. Sturdy, but
pliable? And a whole lot stubborn?”
“Yes’m, that’s it exactly. A whole lot of sturdy and pliable, Mama. And a whole lot of stubborn." RACHEL, After the Darkness Planned for publication in early 2014 Jane Bennett Gaddy Trinity, FL
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First signing at Atlanta Bread Cherrydale Point in Greenville, SC was awesome! Thank you, Jeff and Amber Massey for hosting us! It was great to see old friends from the past, new ones I had never met in person, and those that have kept in touch through the years. From as far away as Waynesville and Hendersonville, NC they came! And locals from Simpsonville, Easley, Piedmont, Travelers Rest, Greenville, Taylors—I couldn't believe it. I started signing at a little past 5:00 and hubs and I didn't leave until 9:00. I was able to get a few pictures, but if you were there and you have some to send me, please email to email@example.com. I will love you for that!
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What was going on around them at the time is quite another story. Rachel, After the Darkness covers a relatively condensed timeframe,
beginning in late fall of 1872 and ending in late September 1873.
Research that covers a little less than a year may not seem significant,
but the year 1873 was not one of those insignificant years.
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The exhausting job of proofing the
book block and cover copy is over,
and soon I will see the final proofs
before we call this book published!
I can hardly wait. This is not easy. The
worst part is handing it back to the
publisher for the final dip. It has my
blood, sweat and tears all over it.
There is at least one error in every book
that has ever been published, but I crave
a perfect book. To clear my personal hang-ups,
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laid my hand on Gone With The Wind.
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opened it, and you know the intimidation
of a book designed with two columns
on a page, like The Complete and Unabridged Works of Flavius Josephus!
Yes, I opened it to the middle part of the
book and, low and behold, a mistake on
that very page. I looked no further. I was
convinced. So if you go searching my
book for a mistake, please don't tell me.
Just know I reall…