Rae Meadows is the author of Calling Out, which received the 2006 Utah Book Award for fiction, No One Tells Everything, a Poets & Writers Notable Novel, and the widely praised novel, Mercy Train (released in hardback as Mothers and Daughters).
Meadows's new novel is I Will Send Rain.
From her Q&A with Adriana Delgado at Blogcritics Magazine:
You’re not a stranger to writing about difficult topics like the one portrayed in your novel, Calling Out. What made you delve into the realm of historical fiction, and the Dust Bowl in particular?Learn more about the book and author at Rae Meadows's website.
I started writing a novel fictionalizing the photographer Dorothea Lange, but it wasn’t working for me, and I found myself returning again and again to one particular photograph of hers of a young woman nursing her son. They sit in a makeshift shelter, a tarp overhead, the California sun a fierce glare behind them. They are Dust Bowl refugees from Oklahoma. The woman’s gaze is a live wire of determination, anger, and shame. She made me wonder about the life she left behind. We’re familiar with the migrant story from Steinbeck, but I wanted to know what life was like for those who stayed. I also felt that the Dust Bowl was actually quite relevant, given the effects of global warming.
Was your portrayal of the Bells inspired by a real “okie” family during the Dust Bowl era?
The Bell family was entirely fictional, but I did spend countless hours immersed in the photography archive of the Library of Congress. The photographs taken in the 1930s for the Farm Securities Administration—Dorothea Lange was among the photographers—were a source of inspiration, particularly those of...[read on]
The Page 69 Test: Mothers and Daughters.
The Page 69 Test: I Will Send Rain.