Ann E. Burg is the author of Unbound: A Novel in Verse. From her Q&A with Deborah Kalb:
Q: How did you come up with the idea for your main character Grace, and how did you first learn about the history of the Great Dismal Swamp?--Marshal Zeringue
A: I was actually researching for another story when I came across an NPR article about the work of Daniel O. Sayers, a professor at American University, who has been leading research teams in the Great Dismal Swamp since 2004. That was my first encounter with the maroons.
The idea that an artifact can help us determine what someone ate, how they clothed themselves, or built their homes fascinates me. But it can never tell the whole story. Away from my computer and books, I began to wonder about the people. This connection is always the next step.
My imagination stretches across time and place and begins to stitch together vague shadows. These shadows knock about in my mind until they become infused with life, until they become so substantial that I can even hear them speak—that’s when I begin writing.
There is always more research to be done...[read on]