I promised to keep y’all updated on the progress of Peach Seed Monkey so here I am (finally) with a real update. Thanksgiving is two days away so I’m also here to give thanks ~ first to you for visiting/reading/subscribing to the PSM blog.

It’s been quiet the past couple of weeks for good reason ~ I  focused all available energy on finishing the first drafthallelujah! This comes at the end of a long, hard road: snatching time to write while motherhood and family life marched on—throughout the tail end of homeschooling and into the high school transition. Thank you Universe for the sanity to survive.

I’m often asked where the idea for the book started (and especially how the peach seed monkey made it’s way in) and much will be revealed by and by, but I will share this much now ~

The seed (really is the best word)  for the story was planted in September 2005 while my family and I were visiting Albany, Georgia for a family reunion. I went in search of an untold story and knew little about exactly what that would be—only that I wanted to tell a story about how black men of my father’s generation (he was born in 1921) in a place like southwest Georgia managed to be leaders in their homes and communities when the larger society did not see them that way at all. My dad passed away six years before I was pondering the question, but all my life he had shown me how that was done. Thank you, Silas.

Cousin Jessie on his property: Putney, Georgia, Sept. 2005

And I still had a very valuable resource: my cousin Jessie Jones (born in 1919) who lived right next to Albany in Putney. He and my dad grew up together and Jessie had a good memory. He passed away last year at age 91, but I have lots of audio interviews with details that serve the story well. Thank you Jessie.

A month ago I found out that my agent would be ready to read around the middle of November, so I set last Friday, November 18th as my deadline to wrap up the first draft. I thank my husband, Rob (a graphic designer used to deadlines) for making me set them.

Last Wednesday I was given a gift that made meeting the deadline possible ~ the use of a friend’s beach house for four days and nights in complete solitude. With the help of several pots of tea, chips, hummus and a huge jug of Superfood the 14-16 hour days yielded results. (Having the space and solitude to walk around reading the whole manuscript out loud made all the difference. ) It’s hard to thank my friend enough.

And now after a six year journey it feels almost unreal to have a first draft. This sudden,  post-partum freedom from the everyday demands of my fictional folk is VERY strange. So now I’m waiting to hear the thoughts of the agent who receives the last—but in no way the least—of my thanks.