Thursday, October 23, 2014

Guest post: Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley

Lies We Tell Ourselves
by Robin Talley
Amazon | Goodreads | Website

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by Robin Talley
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In which Robin provides an introduction to the characters in her book...

I knew before I even started writing it that the main characters’ parents would play a major role in Lies We Tell Ourselves. It’s a story focusing on two high school seniors ― Sarah, who’s black, and Linda, who’s white ― who are both the daughters of activists in the school integration movement, though they serve on opposite sides of the struggle.

Sarah’s parents are very active in the NAACP. When the story starts they’ve recently moved from Chicago, where Sarah’s father wrote for a major African American newspaper, to Virginia, so they could be part of the Civil Rights Movement in the South.

When I was researching the story, I scoured the Internet for photos of Chicago NAACP activists during this period. I came across a huge group photo of a meeting that took place there in the 1940s (sadly, I can’t find it now but it was along the lines of this one from 1929). As I zoomed in and examined the people in the photo, I saw one couple that made me stop and gasp.

This couple.

The photo wasn’t labeled, so I don’t know who these two activists were. But as soon as I saw them, I knew that in my mind, these two people would always be Sarah’s parents, Robert and Irene Dunbar, and I knew that this photo was taken when they were younger, soon after their wedding, before Sarah was born.

That open, idealistic smile on Irene’s face. The shrewd, tired look on Robert’s. Their neat crisp clothes, the bundle of newspapers clasped in Irene’s arms, the crowd of friends and allies clustered around them.

I knew these were the people who would raise Sarah to be a smart, courageous, stronger-than-she-knows young woman who would change the world before she was even old enough to vote.

Parents are often MIA in young adult books. They usually are in the other books I’ve written. But for Lies We Tell Ourselves, the parents were vital to giving the main characters the foundation they needed to make it through the wrenching story that lay ahead of them.

And I can’t imagine Sarah making it through her story without her parents ― these parents ― standing strong behind her.


Guest post created by Robin Talley, author of Lies We Tell Ourselves
© 2014. All rights reserved.

About the author:

I grew up in Roanoke, Virginia, and escaped to Washington, D.C., at the first opportunity. I now live with my wife, our antisocial cat, and our goofy hound dog on Capitol Hill. I also work for a progressive nonprofit organization.

My first novel, Lies We Tell Ourselves, was released Sept. 30, 2014, by Harlequin Teen. It’s set in 1959 Virginia, and it’s a black girl and a white girl who fall in love in 1959 Virginia while their school is being desegregated for the first time. My next book, Unbreakable, follows a high school couple — Gretchen, who identifies as a lesbian, and Toni, who identifies as genderqueer — whose relationship is tested when they’re separated for their first year of college.

I spend my nights and weekends writing young adult fiction about LGBT characters, reading books, and enjoying The Daenerys Show (you may know it as Game of Thrones). I also read a lot of young adult books and spend an inordinate amount of time getting worked up about things that shouldn’t happen in the world, and yet somehow keep happening.

I was a Lambda Literary Foundation Writers’ Retreat Fellow, and I’m represented by Jim McCarthy of Dystel & Goderich.

Find out more about this book and author:
Twitter @robin_talley

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by Robin Talley
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--~ Book Giveaway courtesy of publisher ~--

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