Thursday, December 4, 2014

'Mixed-race love story' started as memoir of author's mother

NORWALK, Ohio — Cherry King’s historical romance started out as a memoir about her late mother.

But then the Willard woman’s imagination took over. The end result is HURRICANE HILL ROAD, released by Tate Publishing in the fall. The novel is available through Tate, Amazon and by emailing King at

“It’s my first novel,” King said, but it took 10 years to write.

“I started it in 2003. My mother just died and I was going to write the story of her life,” said King, who has lived in Willard with her husband for the last 20 years.

The intention was to King write so she could heal over her mother’s death and share stories for King’s children and grandchildren. King will be at a book signing at Sheri’s Coffee House, 272 Benedict Ave., in Norwalk from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday.

It was a World War II-era plane crash near her childhood home that inspired the fictional aspects of HURRICANE HILL ROAD.

King’s parents were married in 1940.

“They had two babies and one on the way when (my father) was drafted into World War II,” the author said.

King’s mother cleaned up an old, abandoned house on Hurricane Hill Road, where she lived with her three young children, her sister and her 2-year-old son. The sister’s husband also had been drafted and she was on bed rest because she was ill. The house was about 10 miles from the Dyersburg Army Air Base, which is now inactive and located in Western Tennessee, where B-17 bomber pilots were trained.

“Those big planes went over all the time,” King said.

“(About) 7,700 pilots were trained there and there were many accidents; 114 pilots were killed while training there,” she added. “One accident happened near where we lived in that old, abandoned house.”

Cherry King, author of HURRICANE HILL ROAD
King imagined her mother stepping out of the back door to empty her dishpan when she saw a plane crash. The bomber went into a large oak tree.

“When I thought of the accident, my imagination took over,” said King, who taught school for 30 years at South Central Local Schools. “It became a mixed-race love story.”

When King’s mother, named Margaret in the novel, takes off the pilot’s helmet, she realizes he is a black man. The pilot, who was badly injured and near death, eventually falls in love with Margaret who helps him recover.

“The armed forces was segregated. What was he doing here?,” said King, imagining what her character might think about the black pilot.

“Even the veterans’ hospitals wouldn’t take him, so she takes him in,” the author said. 

To read the full version of this feature published by the NORWALK REFLECTOR newspaper, check to read the e-paper.

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