My genealogy and fairytales, apparently!

Sophia Alexander Author Interview

Tapestry is a dramatic coming of age saga exploring the 1920’s women’s rights movement through the eyes of two young women and the romance of unrequited love. What were some sources that informed this novel’s development?

My genealogy and fairytales, apparently! Family mysteries inspired the entire trilogy, but after writing Tapestry’s rough draft, I was actually brainstorming what to name the book when I realized Gaynelle’s story mirrored Rapunzel’s in so many ways.

While the fairytale ‘Rapunzel’ may have subconsciously inspired some of my plotline, the bones of the story belong to my ancestors who go back for generations in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. I’ve had a passion for genealogy since age twelve, but progress on my granny’s side was stymied with rumors of adoption, which she denied.

I ran into this local fellow once who looked the spitting image of my uncle, except he had blue eyes like my granny. That man told me he’d been adopted, so I speculated he and my granny might be siblings. The fellow had met his (their?) father only after he was grown up—an old, dying man by the name of Salters, a name you’ll recognize from my story. The trilogy has a mix of real and made-up names, since the stories really are mostly fabrications. As I unearthed bits of information here and there, I tried to fathom scenarios that made sense of all the pieces. Sometimes I even discovered that my guesses had been correct, but I mostly used the facts for a framework, as my muse.

I’ve absorbed much about the time period through my research, listening to family stories and reading local histories, visiting regional museums, even digging into archives. I’ve always been interested in women’s rights, so as I reviewed the news stories of the era from several timeline books, I naturally zoned in on the ones that particularly mattered to women for inclusion in the novel.

I enjoyed watching your characters develop in this story. What were some obstacles you felt were important to defining their characters in the book?

Jessie is the obstacle of obstacles for both Gaynelle and Vivian.

Vivian has a dramatic break from her when she falls seriously ill. That episode—after already having learnt to snatch rare opportunities during brief respites—informs how she learns to live her life: seize the day while she has the chance!

Poor Gaynelle. Her choices are continually undermined. Her exit from the family home is far more reluctant and her life forever constrained by imposed limitations even after she’s away from Jessie. These limitations are a product of her age, gender, and means. Racial boundaries also bar certain friendships and undermine her happiness that way. She does try to make her own choices, but they are inevitably disregarded by those who believe they know better. Gaynelle learns to adapt and occasionally works around these restrictions, but her story depicts the reality of what so many girls and women face both now and then.

What about the 1920’s interests you and makes it ripe for you to write about?

My granny, the muse for a character who appears in Tapestry, was born in 1921. Honestly, that’s truly why I wrote of this era—the 1920s just so happen to be the decade when this portion of my family history falls, but it is a fascinating time period, with so much to draw on.

Such a revolutionary time for women—from their clothing and hair to voting to everything in between! The 1920s were also exactly a century ago, and given how the COVID-19 pandemic echoes the Spanish flu outbreaks, this is an especially interesting time to reflect on what was going on one hundred years ago, how things were changing, how they’ve shifted since then—and how they haven’t.

What can readers expect in book three in The Silk Trilogy?

Well, a love story, of course, this time for Ginny Bell and Jack Caddell. My novels always have love stories, I do believe! Vivian and Gaynelle continue to play significant roles, and there’s a new antagonist in the form of Zingle Caddell, a womanizing, careless alcoholic. He and Jessie Bell loathe one another, which creates a sort of sticky Romeo-and-Juliet situation for Ginny and Jack. There’s a showdown at the end—and deaths, definitely deaths.

Homespun, the last installment of the Silk Trilogy, is due to come out next St. Patty’s Day, March 17th, 2023.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

If your stepmother were a sociopath, how would you know? And who would you turn to? Life is not as ordinary as it seems for Gaynelle and Vivian, who only understand that the woman they now call ‘Mama’ is complicated and difficult to please. Is the romantic love that Gaynelle finds at a too-tender age going to last? And will Vivian uncover the truth about her parentage while recovering from a strange illness? Rural South Carolina meets the Roaring 20’s in this tale of two sisters who face separation and trauma with the resilience of the young and find their way, despite everything.

*Next Generation Indie Book Award 2022 finalist in the category of general fiction.
*Literary Titan Gold Book Award, June 2022.

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on June 12, 2022, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.


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