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  • Susan Stoderl

A Lifelong Journey | Writer's Voice and Vision

woman looking out into the universe for inspiration
A Lifelong Journey and Quest

I wrote a prequel to use as a marketing tool after I published Book 1 of my Sophia of the Bright Red Sneakers series. In it, Sophia and Pedro undertake a “library investigation” at the Jefferson Market Library of the Triangle Shirtwaist strike and fire. The library once was the courthouse which tried all the strike and fire cases.


While posting excerpts from the prequel, I realized it was a recitation of historical facts with playful banter instead of interaction. Sophia and Pedro needed to exist in that time and investigate it themselves. After all, they have so much in common. Many shirtwaist factory workers were their age. Pedro is an immigrant and Sophia is an orphan. I had only given hints of my writer's voice and vision. There is a captivating story to be written out of all those facts.


Book 2 of the series was to be published on February 19. I delisted it and am now rewriting it to correct the mistake I made in the prequel. Instead of telling Sophia and Pedro about their life in 1832, the book will be in two time periods. Several additional chapters now portray Jeb and Liza’s life as enslaved twins. They and their grandmother MawMaw were enslaved at Oak Grove Plantation in 1832 and worked as house slaves. When their Free Black father finds they are in danger, Elijah Jr. helps them try to escape on the Maritime Underground Railroad. MawMaw is left behind and the twins disappear in a severe lightning storm. They have time-traveled to 2019 in New York City.


A spin-off will feature Elijah Sr.’s life as a Hudson Valley young enslaved man. He earns his manumission by fighting with the colonists in the American Revolution. Post-war, he sets out for the notorious Five Points slum to earn a living as a Free Black printer, where he marries and Elijah, Jr. is born. 


A second spin-off features Elijah Jr.’s life after his father's death and leads up to Jeb and Liza escaping in Book 2. The first book section, “Prelude to 1832,” encompasses his life as a Free Black seaman up through the birth of his twins and his wife’s death. The “Postlude to 1832” is a portrait of Elijah Jr. and his abolitionist wife living through the 1836 Anti-Abolition Riots in New York City, and building a life in Seneca Village.

 

Together, Jeb, Liza, Sophia, and Pedro will fight for the marginalized across various times, striving to create a better world.


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