My debut novel, PRECIOUS BONES, is a tribute to a time, a place, and a people that have all but vanished. The story takes place in a small Florida community in the summer of nineteen-forty-nine.
The womb of the world, that’s where ten year old Precious Bones lives, or at least that’s what Nolay her half-Indian father calls it. Actually she lives in a cracker box of a house without electricity, perched on the edge of a pristine Florida swamp. It is a time not measured by hours and minutes, but by the events that make up a day. It is also a time and place still filled with deep-seeded prejudice and segregation.
Bones lives with her parents and a menagerie of animals. Nolay instills in Bones his deep love and respect for the swamps and nature. He is determined to protect his family and his way of life from the fast encroaching dangers of progress. Mama, on the other hand, is as practical as cornbread and looks forward to the day when the family has electricity and a refrigerator.
Bones lives an isolated simple life, close to nature and her two best friends, a young boy, Little Man, and a severely wounded World War Two veteran Mr. Speed. Her conversations with Mr. Speed reveal a wealth of information concerning Florida’s rich and diverse history. The small community she lives in is filled with an assortment of colorful characters; each one playing a unique part in weaving the tapestry of Bones’ life together.
On several occasions she has mysterious encounters out in her beloved swamp and is convinced that there is some thing or some body dangerous lurking out there. Doubt and mistrust enter her life the day two Yankee real estate agents drive out to her house. Nolay mischievously chases them away with a gun, but not soon afterward one of them is found dead on the edge of their swamp. All evidence points to Nolay, he is arrested and sent to jail. Bones’ simple life begins to unravel. All hope that her father will be found innocent rests on the shoulders of bumbling Sheriff LeRoy, who in Bones’ eyes is as slow as pond water.
Along the journey, Bones goes head to head with the cruel specter of prejudice. She experiences the death of one of her best friends, and learns the priceless lesson that sometimes a stranger is just a friend in disguise.
Unwittingly, Nolay, will bring to his beloved swamps, the very element of destruction that he has fought so hard to resist.
It is my hope that readers of PRECIOUS BONES will not only enjoy the story and the characters, but perhaps become more inspired to look around and help preserve this magnificent land we live on.
Our guest blogger today is Mika Ashley-Hollinger. Mika is the author of Precious Bones, a novel she wrote in tribute to a way of life that has all but disappeared. Read more about Mika and her debut novel on her website.
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