I had the great pleasure of meeting author Tracy Groot last Friday evening as she presented a program on what inspires her to write for my two book clubs, By The Book and Page Turners, and the Perry Historical Society. Tracy was participating in Night Museum at nearby Andersonville Historic Site and graciously accepted our invitation to speak. What a joy it was to hear of her passion for restoring order to her world and letting God do that for others through her writing gift.
Tracy always starts with those nagging questions that don’t leave her alone. In the Sentinels project, it was why women with wagonloads of food were turned away from a prison filled with starving men. What she found was more complex than she imagined. I loved how she used modern-day concerns to place herself in the shoes of the civilian populace of Americus, Georgia. What resulted was a novel that make its readers also ask Why and What If.
Thank you, Tracy, for an informative and deeply personal discussion.
Here are a few pictures from the evening’s event. (Thanks to Judy Hall for her photography.) Make sure you also check out the information on Tracy’s outstanding historical fiction novel, The Sentinels of Andersonville.
The Sentinels of Andersonville. Near the end of the Civil War, inhumane conditions at Andersonville Prison caused the deaths of 13,000 Union soldiers in only one year. In this gripping and affecting novel, three young Confederates and an entire town come face-to-face with the prison’s atrocities and will learn the cost of compassion, when withheld and when given.
Sentry Dance Pickett has watched, helpless, for months as conditions in the camp worsen by the day. He knows any mercy will be seen as treason. Southern belle Violet Stiles cannot believe the good folk of Americus would knowingly condone such barbarism, despite the losses they’ve suffered. When her goodwill campaign stirs up accusations of Union sympathies and endangers her family, however, she realizes she must tread carefully. Confederate corporal Emery Jones didn’t expect to find camaraderie with the Union prisoner he escorted to Andersonville. But the soldier’s wit and integrity strike a chord in Emery. How could this man be an enemy? Emery vows that their unlikely friendship will survive the war—little knowing what that promise will cost him.
As these three young Rebels cross paths, Emery leads Dance and Violet to a daring act that could hang them for treason. Wrestling with God’s harsh truth, they must decide, once and for all, Who is my neighbor?