It is with sadness that we acknowledge the passing of Georgia
Writers member, author Nora DeLoach.
Nora died unexpectedly of leukemia on Tuesday, June 19, only
a short time after she was diagnosed with the illness.
DeLoach is a native of Orlando, Florida, presently
living in Decatur, Georgia. She is married, the mother of three
children, and grandmother of two very handsome boys. Nora started
writing in 1991. Her novels, Silas,
Mama Solves a Murder, Mama Traps a Killer, Mama Saves a Victim,
and Mama is Accused, were published by Holloway House
Publishing Company, a mid-sized publishing company that specializes
in Afro-American books. In late 1995, she changed agents. Her
new agent promptly signed her to a four-book contract with Bantam.
Mama Stalks the Past, the first of the Bantam
books, was released in hardcover in December, 1997, and will
be released in paperback in October, 1998. Grace Covington, nicknamed
Candi because of a golden brown complexion that looks like candied
sweet potatoes, is a case manager for the county's welfare department.
She is also an exceptional cook. Her stories are narrated by Simone, her adult daughter
who lives and works in Atlanta. Candi's real passion, however,
is sleuthing. She believes that if she gets to the truth of a
matter, she's contributed something to mankind. In Mama Stalks
the Past, Simone helps "Mama" uncover a secret
buried for decades beneath greed, family betrayal, and murder.
It behooves Candi and Simone to quickly find this killer when
Mama becomes the target.
"Tell me about your writing career and when and where
it all started. Who were your first Literary inspirations?"
"The "Mama" series emerged out of the
chaos of a collision between my menopause and my daughter's adolescence.
When the dust cleared, my daughter had become a woman and I,
a more tolerant woman. And we were friends. Mysteries, particularly
Agatha Christie's, had always been my favorite read. I loved
Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot. I loved Sherlock Homes and Watson."
"How difficult was it for you to get your first book
"My first book was not a "Mama" book. It was
entitled, "Silas," and was picked up by Holloway House
Publishing Company a year after it was written. It was difficult
in that Holloway House contracted it after fifteen rejections
from other publishing companies."
"Your main character is Grace Covington known as 'Candi'
and mama. Tell us about this lady and how did her character transpire?
Where did mama's recipe for sweet potato pie come from?"
"Grace Covington is a combination of all the elements
of the mysteries I've read and loved over the years. However,
"The Imperial Woman," a book written by Pearl S. Buck, is the inspiration
behind the "Mama" character. That book is the story
of a woman who has fulfilled her duty as a mother and wife and
spends her later years doing what she really wants to do, developing
her soul and mind.
The sweet potato pie is a staple in the Africian-American
diet, especially when there is a large gathering. The movie,
"Soul Food," highlighted how important food is to the
African American family. My family gets together about six times
a year and there is plenty of food. The sweet potato recipe is
a family favorite."
"In your books the story is told from the point of view
of mama's daughter Simone. Why did you not choose to tell the
stories from mama's point of view? Will there ever be a 'Mama's
novel' told from the point of view of mama?"
"I liked Sherlock Holmes stories as told from Watson's
point of view and I liked Nero Wolfe as told
from Archie's point of view. Both allowed idiosyncrasies to be
told about their protagonist, things that add charm and personality
to their protagonist. I don't plan to change the point of view
of the "Mama" series."
"Plot and character; which do you feel is the most important
"I started developing the characters of my book. However,
the more I write mysteries the more I understand that "mystery
readers" desire a puzzle. So, while an unusual character
will get your a specific audience, you have to give that audience
a plot puzzle that satisfies."
"Tell us a little about your last novel and it's theme."
"Mama Rocks the Empty Cradle," is a story
of guilt, incest, revenge and babies."
"Any advice for beginning mystery novelists?"
"Writing is rewriting. Even after you've gotten an agent
and an editor, you'll have to rewrite. If
you fall in love with the vision you want of your work and not
your words, the rewriting will become easier."