Of all the writing projects I’ve done, Ginger’s Reckoning is my all-time favorite. This book recalls the early days of my marriage, when we had the time and the money to travel, enjoy life, and look forward to a bright future. Things didn’t turn out quite the way we imagined. The investment bank my husband worked for went under, leaving us with an income of exactly zero at one point. We faced the heartbreak of infertility. I hated my job practicing law. Eventually I left the practice of law to do what I always wanted to do – write novels. Ginger’s Reckoning was written during that time.
I’m often asked of my fiction, “is this a true story?” This book is really and truly fictitious. There are, of course, similarities between my life in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. But as the novel developed, my fictional characters eventually found their own lives. Portions of this novel are set in the Fort Sanders neighborhood, where I lived while a student at the University of Tennessee. The characters who lived in my fictional Fort Sanders started out based on real people I knew or observed back in the early 1980’s, but they also became their own people. (My husband thinks one of these characters deserves his own novel. I’m mulling that over.)
The portions of the novel set in Berlin, immediately after the Wall came down, are absolutely sights and circumstances I personally experienced in the late summer of 1990. It was a great time to be an American in Berlin. Berliners greatly appreciated what Americans had done to keep them in the Western Bloc since the last days of World War II and throughout the Cold War. Cab drivers really did turn the meter off when they heard us speaking American English. The hotel where we stayed insisted on giving us a free upgrade to Berlin Philharmonic conductor Herbert von Karajan’s suite. East Germans, “Osties” lined up to gawk at the live eels, the wall of mustards, and over-the-top bounty of the food gallery of the KaDeWe department store.
The scenes set in Moscow are, oddly enough, realistic as well. I originally wrote these scenes based on an old tourist guide to Russia I found in a used book store. I had, at that time, never visited Russia. When we eventually visited Moscow in 2005, I was astonished to find that the scenes and circumstances described in Ginger’s Reckoning were actually fairly true to life. The hotel where we stayed was actually much worse than the hotel described in my novel. We felt relieved to get out of there, much like Ginger and Steve so many years before us.
I hope you enjoy reading Ginger’s Reckoning as much as I enjoyed writing it and then re-reading and polishing it for publication. It’s available in both print and Kindle editions at http://amzn.to/2hwtxTi .