105 days until my thesis is due! In honor of that, I’m starting a running list of “105 Facts about The Left & the Leaving.”
These are facts or Easter eggs I’ve sprinkled into my book: real names, dates, or events, or just subtle nods & inside jokes. This is a running list, and I’ll add to it every week until May 5!
- In the novel, Cal and Ada Claire get married on June 19, 1937. June 19th is my paternal grandmother Teresa’s birthday, and she would have been 10 years old on that day. Even though I was mostly inspired by the maternal side of the family for this book, I wanted to have a little shout-out to my paternal grandmother. Another fact: she and I share the same middle name, Ellis, under which I write fiction.
- Ritchie has six pet opossums named: Peanut, Pickle, Piffles, Pumpkin, Peace, and Pitty-Pat. This is a shout out for two things. First, my mother has six cats of the same name. Second, as a child, my uncle found baby opossums after the mother had been killed and raised them as pets. According to my mother, he’d come terroize his sisters when they brought over dates, by walking into the room with his opossums hanging from his arms.
- In one scene, a jacketless boy is beaten up in the rain on the UA campus. This was inspired by a boy I saw walking jacketless through campus in a pouring rainstorm last fall—it was freezing, and all he had on was a button-up shirt that was completely soaked through. I immediately wondered where he was going or why he didn’t have a jacket, and wrote this scene (which turned into several chapters of events) in response.
- I’m working a ghost story into the novel, and it was inspired by the ghost story of Arthur and Nelly Gordon, the parents of Girl Scouts founder Juliette Gordon Low. Ghosts and superstitions are so integral to Southerners, and this was always one of my favorite ghost tour stops when I lived in Savannah.