Welcome Alexandra Christle for this week’s Tell Tale Tuesday
Between Nowhere and Lost started at a party. I overheard someone say his grandmother used to say an isolated place was “between nowhere and lost”, and my first reaction was, “What a great title for a book!” So I tucked it away until a plot started to wander around in my brain. I wanted to do something with a secret love, but I needed an occupation for my hero. Most of my family is from South Carolina and one of my cousins had worked for Springs Mills at one time. I started researching textile mills, and fell upon a Supreme Court case about Darlington Manufacturing.
In 1956, the workers at Darlington voted, by a very slim margin, to join TWUA (Textile Workers Union of America). Roger Milliken, the plant owner, hated unions, and threatened to close the plant if the vote passed. It did, by eight votes, and a week later Milliken announced that Darlington Manufacturing was not profitable, and he shut down operations.
The labor union sued Milliken, and the case lingered in the courts for twenty-four years before finally finding in favor of the workers, making it the longest-running case in Supreme Court history.
As for Darlington, the plant’s closure nearly destroyed the town, and some residents say it never fully recovered, even with the NASCAR track located there. I spent many hours at the Darlington Historical Commission, researching the plant’s background. On my last trip to the town, I drove past the plant’s site, but the buildings had been torn down, leaving nothing but a vacant lot.
While Between Nowhere and Lost relies heavily on information about Darlington, the town, the people, and the events are strictly fictional. For those who are interested, there are some blog posts on my website with pictures and the history of the plant. www.alexandrachristle.com
No one can understand Helen Hodges’s burning need to have a child, a need she’s abandoned in her childless marriage. But when David Drummond, the local textile mill’s owner, visits her small South Carolina town, those repressed yearnings come forth again, deepening her discontent as she falls in love with him.
David’s appearance brings escalating union and racial tensions to the town, and Helen is torn between her Catholic faith, her duty to her husband, and her growing desire to be with David. Overrun with guilt over her feelings, she renounces her lover and chooses to remain with her husband, until she learns some life-changing news and rushes to tell David before he leaves town, and her life…forever.
Helen is with her best friend, Dina, who manages to coax Helen into telling her about David.
Dina leaned back in her chair and eyed me. I averted my gaze under her scrutiny. “What’s got you so bummed out?”
“Aren’t you meeting Jake for dinner? Don’t you need to go?”
“No. Spill it.”
My mouth scrunched. Keeping my emotions in check had never before been so difficult, but I’d never had reason to be so…discontent. My tone became defensive. “I am not, as you put it, ‘bummed out.’ I’m merely…” I searched for an appropriate substitution.
“Depressed? Thinking about kids again?”
I stared at the pale yellow concrete block wall behind her, imagined my finger tracing down and across the lines of grout between each block. She waited patiently for me to speak. “No. Not this time.” I paused, debating. “Fine. I met a man.”
She straightened. “What do you mean, you ‘met’ a man? You have a man. His name is Harold. What kind of man? Where?”
“He was lost.”
“This is the sixties. Everyone is lost. What was he, a hippie? Was he driving a Volkswagen bus with flowers on it? I suppose he was trying to find himself.”
I clucked. “Not that kind of lost. Geographically. He pulled into my drive and asked for directions.”
“Did you tell him the commune is four hundred miles to the north?”
I rolled my eyes. “To Mayfield, nitwit,” thinking my use of her standard verbiage might ease up this onslaught of questions.
Instead, her eyes narrowed. “Harmless enough.”
“It was, until I asked him over for dinner.”
She sucked in a breath. “You didn’t!”
The office door flew open and the boys’ gym teacher stuck his head in the room. “You locking up, Deen?”
“I got it. Later, gator.”
He yanked the door shut behind him and was probably halfway across the gym before his muted ‘bye’ reached our ears.
“So you asked him over for dinner? And you didn’t think Harold would notice?”
“He’s in Connecticut, at one of the other plants.”
“Convenient. All right, lay it on me.”
I told her the entire sordid story, prudently omitting the part about wanting to kiss him.
“You want to kiss him, don’t you? Helen Hodges, I never would’ve believed it. You’re thinking about having an affair.”
**Between Nowhere and Lost has 4.8 stars for reviews. Five 5-star reviews on Readers Favorite.
All major retailers: https://books2read.com/u/b6KEME
If you’d like a free prelude to Between Nowhere and Lost, click on the link for your copy of Almost Lost. (available free everywhere; .99 on Amazon) https://books2read.com/u/4EPrql
About the Author
Alexandra has not traveled to 47 countries, worked in law enforcement for 25 years where she single-handedly apprehended ten of the world’s most wanted, or practiced law or psychiatry.
She doesn’t speak 5 languages fluently, rival Beethoven on the piano, or send rescue dogs to save flood victims.
She does, however, do a heck of a lot of research.
She has jumped from an airplane, spent the day on a commercial shrimp boat, spent a weekend with a houseful of Navy SEALs, and hitchhiked across 3 states. She has worked for newspapers, taught high school English, and had a lengthy stint as a graphic designer. Raised a son and daughter, scored 3 grandchildren; and, written a few books along the way.
The human condition and people fascinate her, and especially men. They are, in her words, pretty cool creatures.
And she imagines.
Find Alexandra Christle online at https://www.alexandrachristle.com