by K. S. Jones
It is May 1932 and life in the timbered rise and fall of Western Arkansas has just gotten harder for sixteen-year-old Sooze Williams. With debt mounting and both friends and family fleeing, Sooze is determined to “do the right thing.” She promises her heart to a well-to-do man believing true love is just another loss along the way. But when her uncle is murdered and family is accused of the crime, Sooze faces a battle too important to lose. Is salvation within her grasp by relying solely on truth, or is it in the security of her intended’s money? Sooze must decide before it’s too late.
“A heartfelt, coming of age story set in the Great Depression. I found the novel so fascinating that I read it in a single sitting.”
“Ms. Jones did a fantastic job of bringing the reader into the 1930’s and then allowing us into the heart of one girl who wanted to help her family at all costs.”
“Superb historical fiction; move over, John Steinbeck!”
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CIR: What inspired this book?
JONES: Although a fictional story, the setting of this book takes place in Coaldale, which these days is just a tiny community made up of a few homes, a church, and a cemetery. It is where my mother was born. She loved it so much that she spent a lifetime talking about it. I became as enchanted as she, and at a young age began “making up” stories about fictional people and events in this Oklahoma/Arkansas border town. That is how Coaldale came to be the setting for this story.
CIR: Did this require any research, and what kind?
JONES: Fifteen years of research, including the use of family history, went into writing this book. I wanted to learn about everyday life during The Great Depression so that the story itself would be an authentic record of what life was like in this area. I was fortunate to receive a few personal letters from townspeople who lived in the vicinity during the 1930s, too. But the most fascinating of all was the research I did for the court trial. I studied the Scopes Trial, the Sweet Trial, and the trial of the Scottsboro boys to form an authentic courthouse feel and trial for Shadow Of The Hawk.
CIR: What would you compare this book to?
JONES: Readers who loved The Grapes of Wrath, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Moon Over Manifest will feel right at home with Shadow of the Hawk!