Not a romance novel

I have learned that some people are confused about the genre of Well Considered due to the cover, which depicts a black man and a white woman.  Having discovered this at Capital Bookfest Harrisburg, we made a point of quickly telling our table visitors at the Baltimore Book Festival on Saturday at Baltimore’s Washington Monument that this book is a mystery-thriller, not a romance.  Several chuckled as if we had read their minds. One imaginative festivalgoer had even connected the picture of the large new houses at the top of the cover with the woman below it and the older, more modest structure to the man, and theorized that the novel is a love affair between a rich white woman and a poor black man. NOT!  Inside the covers, the reader will learn that the man depicted is a CPA manager in a government office in Washington.  I have been happy that the cover attracts so much attention. My cover artist Audrey Engdahl (see Illustrator widget on sidebar) captured exactly the expressions I wanted—a  man and woman pondering issues of trust, justice, and forgiveness. Returning to the subject of the Baltimore Book Festival, one of the most interesting authors I met this year was Armand A. Lakner who sat with his wife across from our table in the Authors’ Tent. Mr. Lakner wrote From Mauthausen to the Moon based on his experiences as a prisoner at the Nazi concentration camp at Mauthausen, Germany, and his scientific work at NASA. Next to us was Terri Lyons from Philadelphia with her poetry and books about her mother and father, Let Me Tell You What Mama Said and Take It from the Top.  Her father, Ben Lyons, was a bandleader, and her mother, Hazel Lyons, sang with the band in the style of Billie Holliday and others. Saturday, eighty-four-year-old Ms. Hazel Lyons sat beside me in her wheelchair in the authors’ tent, and I took the opportunity to softly sing “God Bless the Child” to her while she fed me words.  We also enjoyed talking to the author next to Ms. Lyons’ space,  Rena Shipp, a former teacher and school administrator and author of I Did It Nanna’s Way and Carly Finds Out for young adults. We took pleasure in talking with passersby, too, one of whom was an historian who was interested in my research references in the Author’s Note at the end of Well Considered, especially Leon F. Litwack’s Trouble In Mind (1998), James W. Loewen’s Sundown Towns (2005), Sherrilyn A. Ifill’s On The Courthouse Lawn (2007), Robert J. Brugger’s Maryland, A Middle Temperament 1634-1980 (1988), and Barbara Jeanne Fields’ Slavery and Freedom on the Middle Ground, Maryland during the Nineteenth Century (1985). He asked what libraries had copies of Well Considered. I was pleased to be able to tell him that both Well Considered and Cologne No. 10 for Men are in libraries in Prince George’s County and can probably be obtained by interlibrary loan, and that he also might be able to find Well Considered in the Maryland Historical Society Library, a block from where we stood.  But I had to tell him that if he was looking for a romance novel, Well Considered was not for him.  

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