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Bandeaux Creek
Between the Rivers,
Book II

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Between the Rivers

Ask Carolyn about Bandeaux Creek



Bandeaux Creek: Between the Rivers, Book II

Q: Why did you write a sequel to Between the Rivers?

A: Because there was more to it, as my grandmother used to say. And readers asked for it. I wasn't sure myself exactly what would happen after Maggie Lorena came back from Boston. I knew she would come back, but what would her life be like after living the high life in the City?

Q: Did your grandmother really go to Boston to publish her book?

A: Now, don't start asking me what is true or not true. Maybe she did. But what matters is that women and men, husbands and wives, often search for things outside their marriages. They go off-sometimes with the blessings of their spouses-sometimes not. If...when they come back, they most likely have changed. And, sometimes, they find the partner they left behind has changed too.

Q: Is that the message you intend to leave with your readers?

A: Let's just say that it is more an observation than a message. I think marriage is about endurance, dedication, devotion. I've only done what writers do: observe and cast their observations against their own life experiences. If a reader finds a message in an observation, the writer has succeeded in provoking an emotional response.

Q: IsBandeaux Creekabout marriage?

A: That's only one of the thingsBandeaux Creekis about. I'd like to think that readers will find the historical setting intriguing. The mid-to-late Twenties were times of great change. People were literally on the move; trains provided links to every major city on the East coast, and the automobile industry was flourishing, changing the face of the land with tourist homes and gas stations. Restless youths were no longer content to stay on the farms where paying crops came in only once or twice a year. There were jobs to be had in the cities, paying jobs that allowed a guy or girl to have their own place, to save money, to make investments.

Q: Is that what happens in Maggie Lorena Ryan's life?

A: Maggie was caught up in the excitement of the Twenties, but her pursuit of happiness was on a different scale. By this time, she's in her early forties, she's married and she's a mother who wants things for her children. But there is another family who enters the story. They're from the same region between the rivers. The young folks in the family have found jobs in Wilmington; eventually, they bring their aging parents to join them. How this family makes the transition from farm to city reflects a cultural trend of the times that would eventually reduce the size of families, because large families were no longer needed to operate farms.

Q: How did you come up with all of this, and how does it tie into your story of the Ryans.

A: It began with a search of my own family's roots. My father and mother were second cousins. They were both born in Bladen County, but my mother grew up in Wilmington, North Carolina. Her parents had a boarding house there. Most of her brothers and sisters lived and worked in Wilmington after they were grown, but her parents moved back to the country. Not until I began writing my story did I realize how this had all come about in the context of the historical timeline in which they lived.

Q: This is the family of Rob and Eva McBryde?

A: Yes. You can see where things are going, can't you? If the Ryans are based upon my father's family, then the McBrydes are representative of my mother's family. How my parents came to marry is at the crux of the story. Davy McBryde provides the link.

Q: Was there really such a person as Davy McBryde?

A: Oh, yes. That's not his real name, of course. He is my tragic character-you know, the good guy to whom bad things happen. The story is true, but it caused so much sadness in my family that some of my cousins forbade me to tell it.

Q: But you did tell it?

A: Yes, I did. Davy McBryde was part of my life, too, and I felt that enough time had gone by that this family secret was no longer sacrosanct.

Q: He adds a little salt to the story, too, doesn't he?

A: Yes, he does. I've heard some objection to the strong language in Bandeaux Creek, but that was Davy McBryde. He was a country boy, a good young country boy who sewed some wild oats. I really loved Davy. He was too young to die.

Q: Why did you let him die?

A. I didn't let him die. He was a real person and this was the way he died. I brought him back to life to tell his story. He wasn't exactly a hero in Bladen County. His notoriety is one of the legends of Bladen County. The real story was never openly discussed because he was related to a number of people who had political ambitions. I guess it was a matter of family pride as well. I wanted to vindicate him-bring Davy to life. He was a real person and he had the same history as the rest of my mother's people. Yes, he made some mistakes, but he deserves a place in our family history.

Q: Do you intend for your books to be the history of your family?

A: It is whether I intended it or not. We write what we know.


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