"In 1995, I quit my job. And that came as a shock to many people, including myself. I started during the year that I had given myself to find out what I was going to do with the next chapter of my life. And just to fill in the extra hours, I began to do genealogy research. I did research, at first maybe just a couple days a week, and then it became every day. As I began to uncover story after story of my ancestors, I just couldn't keep away from them. And then I began to travel to Louisiana to find out more, and to be closer to the area that I now knew that my ancestors came from, Cane River. I began to understand that there were powerful stories that needed to be told."
"I literally woke up one morning and said 'I am going to write a book.' I didn't write it from chapter one. I just tried to get to know who these women [my ancestors] were. I wrote in their voices for a couple of months. I would write it as a diary, and then I would put two of them in the room together and see how they interacted with one another. And then I put three in a room together until I began to really feel that I had a handle on who they were and how they would react. And what happened was a novel."