Ginger’s Reckoning – About This Book

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 .

Blessings, Cindy

 

 

 

 

What is Teen Life in the Suburbs REALLY Like? Lifting the Lid Off The Wholesome Face of Suburbia (And Finding a Homeless Kid Living in My Daughter’s Closet)

When we think of the suburbs, we might automatically think of mostly white, middle-class, “normal” folks living in three bedroom “Knox Box” houses, a dog and a cat in tow.  We might think most of these people are fairly affluent, have extra money for vacations, cars, and spending money for their kids and their extracurricular activities.  This was my concept of Suburbia when I lived in town and only saw the suburbs from the car window while driving past the scores of subdivisions in and around West Knoxville.

It wasn’t until my teenagers attended public high school that I saw the realities of suburban life in Knoxville.  During my time as a mom of teenagers, we often hosted teens who were in over their heads in crisis.  Parents divorcing.  Parents in poverty.  Parents who can’t pay the mortgage and in the throes of losing their homes.  One young man showed up on Thanksgiving afternoon with no place to go and needing something to eat.  Another young lady ended up in my basement rec room, suicidal and needing someone to talk to.  Then there was the time I discovered a homeless teen living in my daughter’s closet (complete with cigarettes, condoms, drug paraphernalia, and a few of my son’s clothes someone had snatched for his use). 

At the same time as I experienced this, I worked for a Church that claimed to minister to youth through “confirmation programs,” “mission trips,” and youth group meetings that consisted of pizza parties, trips to Laser Quest, and scavenger hunts at the mall.  During these years, the best youth ministry I saw was carried out by an Evangelical congregation that ran a community service program for kids getting out of juvenile detention.  Little old ladies from the church taught wayward teen girls to cook for the homebound and make blankets for preemies in the local children’s hospital.  The teens in the program loved it.  Perhaps what they liked most was the one-on-one attention from mature adults and the opportunity to learn meaningful, practical skills.

I know there are indeed wholesome, “normal” people living in Suburbia.  Perhaps I am one of them.  Perhaps you are, too.  But the days of the “poor” or “needy” living in another part of town are over.  Poverty Next Door is the new face of Suburbia, complete with the drug use, unemployment, homelessness, crime, and other “problems” we previously associated with neighborhoods closer to the center of town.  This is the New Suburbia. 

For my followers:  The first two chapters of Runaway Kitty are available (for free) at this link: runaway-kitty-two-free-chapters

Cynthia Coe is the author of the newly released novel, Runway Kitty, the story of a 15 year old runaway teen who journeys through this New Suburbia after her family loses their “Knox Box” home to foreclosure.  She lives and works on her farm outside Knoxville, Tennessee.