Wednesday, November 25, 2020

WRITING REAL HISTORY IN A CANCEL CULTURE WORLD (A CAUTIONARY TALE) PART 1

Tamera Alexander





We’ve all heard of cancel culture by now, right? It’s not a new phenomenon, after all. By nature, we human beings can be a fairly judgmental lot. But in recent weeks, cancel culture has taken on a much deeper meaning for me. One I never expected.

I write historical fiction/romance steeped in real history. Real Southern history in recent years. I often say I could research for a living and be quite a happy camper. And it thrills me to think that someone who might never pick up a history book, might read one of my novels and, in turning the last page, will have gained a deeper understanding of America’s history and the real people who lived it. We can learn so much from those who’ve gone before us.

Do you enjoy exploring old cemeteries? Reading the fading names and dates etched long ago into crumbling stone markers? If yes, then I suspect we’re kindred spirits at heart. My latest novel, Colors of Truth, book 2 in the Carnton series, is rooted in the history of a 19th century Southern cemetery—the McGavock Cemetery in Franklin, Tennessee. The largest privately-owned Civil War cemetery in the United States.

The details of the tragic origin of this cemetery are intertwined with the story of two fiery-tempered Irish sisters who come to America in search of their brother, and of a United States Secret Service agent hot on the trail of counterfeiters. Following the tumultuous years of the American Civil War, anywhere from one-third to one-half of the currency in circulation was counterfeit. So, this country, already ripped apart from racial strife and injustice, teetered on the brink of financial bankruptcy as well.

Colors of Truth is about the abhorrence of slavery, about racial reconciliation, and the challenges of the post-war period. It’s a novel based in the unshakable truth that the ground at the foot of the cross of Christ is level, that the immutable Word of God says every nation, tribe, people, and language will be present in the Kingdom of God.

Colors of Truth was initially scheduled to release this past spring but was moved to July 7 due to my own delay in getting the book finished, edited, and resubmitted last fall after what was a very rough year for me personally. My precious Dad passed in August 2019 following a ten-year journey with dementia. But he was 87, bless him, and ready to go Home to be with Christ—and with my Mom. Which made our temporary goodbye, while still painful, considerably sweeter.

In late June, around the day Colors of Truth was scheduled to ship from the warehouse, my publisher called to tell me that the novel was being delayed until October 6 due to newly-arisen concerns about the title, the cover, and the book’s Southern plantation setting. (You’ll no doubt recall the pockets of protest and the vandalism of Civil War statues and memorial sites at that time.) I strongly disagreed with their decision to delay the book and did my best to talk them out of it, but I wasn’t successful.

A month later, my publisher reached out again. This time to request major changes to the novel, sharing that they believed some parts of the story could be offensive to current day readers. They expressed concern, too, that the cover (featuring the actual antebellum home of Carnton in Franklin, Tennessee) and that the title itself (Colors of Truth) could be potentially offensive. They informed me that the already-printed and ready-to-be-shipped books were being destroyed.

Part 2 of the story continues Friday, November 27



Tamera Alexander is the USA Today bestselling author of numerous books, including With This Pledge, A Lasting Impression, A Note Yet Unsung, To Whisper Her Name, and To Wager Her Heart.

Her richly drawn characters and thought-provoking plots have earned her devoted readers worldwide, as well as multiple industry awards.

These awards include the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian fiction, the RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, Bookseller’s Best Award, and being listed among Publishers Weekly and Library Journal’s Top Inspirational Fiction, among others.

Tamera's books have been translated into numerous languages. She's toured Germany and The Netherlands meeting readers and cherishes those connections.

5 comments:

  1. Oh wow, I have been following your story Tamera, but didn't know they were planning to destroy the books. As a historical romance writer and lover your books, this grieves my heart. I have purchased Colors of Truth but haven't had a chance to read it yet due to launch team commitments. But I will early in 2021. Thank you for sharing your story and I look forward to the next installment.

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  2. Thank you Tamera for guest posting. I applaud your courage and I especially thank you for sharing your story with us. Have a safe and healthy holiday.

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  3. Oh, my. I got to the end of the column thinking, "And then what happened ...?" So I guess I will tune in tomorrow!

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  4. I read part 2 first (just now). I applaud your courage to go forth and indie-publish what is in your heart to write! Stay true to yourself and God will honor you in the days ahead. I wish you oceans of blessings on the next chapter of your writing journey. You sure have a successful journey thus far!
    Blessings from Sharon Leaf, the almost-famous author

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