You have several books we can talk about, let’s start with the award winning “The Unheralded King of Preston Plains Middle”. What was the inspiration behind this book?
The inspiration was twofold. It began with a character I encountered ten+ years before the idea of writing a book was in my head in I Know This Much Is True (Wally Lamb) set close to where I grew up in Southeastern CT. Described as a person of color – Black, Native American, European, Ralph Drinkwater draws passing mention in the book as a sidekick to twin brothers, Dominick and Thomas Birdsey. I found his story most fascinating. How did he come to live in that part of the state? What was his family history? What if anything of consequence had he set out to accomplish in the world? KoPPM picks up where Lamb’s story leaves off, my protagonists, Trajan and Langston Hopkins, set at a point in time to potentially be Ralph Drinkwater’s nephews or grand nephews. From there, I wanted to explore what it might mean to come of age as a person of color at a time and place where cultural heritage takes center stage. With the resurgence of Native Tribes in the region reclaiming rights to their land, it suddenly became fashionable, profitable even to examine cultural history, to determine where your people come from. That I chose to write about brothers is an inevitable spill over from Lamb’s narrative surrounding the Birdsey twins. Only the brothers in this case more closely resemble Ralph Drinkwater, resemble a person who looks like I look.