Here's my take on the New South (new to me, after years of being away and only journeying in and out for relatively short stays): it is the most racially integrated part of the country I have visited, hands down. This is encouraging to me, though I try not to be politically naive. Perhaps I am reading into the situation more positive signs than those on the ground might see. (comments?) Still, I hope I'm right.
I continue to be struck by how what I wrote about racial and regional polarities in 1859 resonates so uncannily with the conversation that's going on in our country today. As with the characters in my book (particularly Serena, at the end), I face the future with a new infusion of hope--though not without an unblinkered realization that hard work still lies ahead.
I have met only three ACW reenactors at my various book events (or at least only three who identified themselves to me): two in Decatur, GA, at the Georgia Center for the Book, and one, Rickey Pittman, an author himself, whose quote from Akira Kurosawa on his business card I like a lot: "The role of the artist is to not look away." Hi, Rickey!
Thanks so much to Dimitri Rotov, who keeps giving me shout-outs, and to all other bloggers who have read or are reading my book. Tip, now that the tour is almost over: you can get it from your library.
Also, for those attracted to the "deacon" part of my blog name: have had some interesting conversations on the role (or lack thereof) of religion in my novel. Will try to post on that when I get back to California, after July 2.