Monday, September 22, 2008
Booking Matters Magazine: African American Literary Magazine and Me (See Photo on Magazine Cover)
Many of you have heard my story of the 38-year-old saga from the spring of 1970 until the spring of 2008 when MRS. LIEUTENANT: A SHARON GOLD NOVEL was published. And if you know the saga, you also know that a main goal of my persistence in getting this story published was because I wanted to preserve a very specific slice of women’s social history.
And while the novel’s characters are a mash-up of people I met as an army officer’s wife, many of the mash-up pieces are true. In fact, MRS. LIEUTENANT was written in part to solve a puzzle that haunted me.
I was indeed the chair of the entertainment committee for the graduation luncheon of the wives of the Armor Officers Basic course that my husband attended. And on my committee was a black (that term had only recently become the accepted proper term) officer’s wife who quit the skit that I wrote for the graduation luncheon. And she quit without ever saying why.
When I wrote MRS. LIEUTENANT I wanted to provide an answer for this puzzle. And I believe the answer I came up with in the novel is probably the correct one (you’ll have to read the novel to find out the answer).
In addition, there was the story told to my husband and me by a black officer attending military intelligence training with my husband at Ft. Holabird, Maryland (after Ft. Knox, Kentucky, where the novel takes place). The officer came to dinner alone as his wife was home having a baby.
And he told us that his wife had grown up in the South totally sheltered from the realities of racism in the U.S.
This was a different puzzle about a second black woman that I wanted to unravel. How could this be? And then an article in The Wall Street Journal helped me formulate a reasonable answer to this second puzzle. (Again, I’m not giving away any of the book’s surprises.)
My internet marketing efforts led me to Booking Matters Magazine and editor-in-chief Shunda Leigh. As described on the website
www.bookingmatters.com, this is “a company dedicated to celebrating the wonderful literary accomplishments of African American authors.”
Thus I am especially pleased to be able to share the story of MRS. LIEUTENANT with the Booking Matters community in the September issue. I truly believe that the imaginary officer’s wife Wendy Johnson portrays an accurate piece of women’s social history in 1970 during the Vietnam War and only six years after the passage of the Civil Rights Act.
Visit the site of Mrs. Lieutenant: A Sharon Gold Novel.