2023 Reading Challenge

2023 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 5 books toward her goal of 265 books.

Spotlight: Toward the Corner of Mercy and Peace by Tracey D. Buchanan

About the Book

It’s 1952 in the small western Kentucky town of Paducah and Mrs. Minerva Place would prefer everyone mind his own business, follow the rules, and if dead, stay dead. Nosy neighbors and irritating church members are bad enough but when residents of the local cemetery start showing up, the quirky widow wonders if she’s going crazy. Just as distressing, a new boy in the neighborhood seems intent on disrupting her life. Minerva, aggravated by the precocious six-year-old, holds him and his father at arm’s length. Nevertheless, with charming perseverance they find a way into her closed-off life and an unlikely friendship begins. But just when Minerva starts to let her guard down, a tragic accident shatters her emerging reconnection with life. Now more than her sanity is at stake. With the help of the living and the dead, Minerva discovers the power of forgiveness and why it’s worth it to let others into your life, even when it hurts.

Behind the Scenes with the Author

The idea of Toward the Corner of Mercy and Peace started with a “house cleaning.” I was sorting through old computer files and ran across some dramatizations I wrote back in the ‘90s. They were portraits of Paducahans who are now buried in the town’s historic Oak Grove Cemetery. I had researched their lives and used those facts as the skeleton (we are talking about a cemetery, after all) for their stories. But, as with any historical fiction, my imagination fleshed the characters out. As I re-read and considered how I would revise the pieces I got excited about giving these silent voices an audience again. But how? An anthology? Where would I submit it? How would it find publication? After struggling with a couple of styles, I landed on using a narrator to tell these stories. Enter Mrs. Minerva Place, a reticent, often sharply-opinionated, middle-aged widow. The only tie to Paducah facts she had was her name. Minerva Place is the name of a street near where I grew up. I’ve passed it or driven down it thousands of times. And one day, when this idea was simmering on the back burner of my brain, I knew it had to be my narrator’s name. But Minerva proved to be tricky to work with. She took over. (Don’t tell her I said this, but she was a little bit bossy. And did I mention opinionated?) The more I wrote, the more I realized this project had turned into Minerva’s story. The historic characters submitted to her because…well, because they didn’t have much of a choice. I’m glad everyone—the characters, that is—cooperated with me eventually. I love them all, but I might love Minerva most of all. I hope you do, too.

About the Author

Tracey Buchanan crashed into the literary world when she was six and won her first writing award. Fast forward through years as a journalist, mom, volunteer, freelance writer, editor, artist, and circus performer (not really, but wouldn’t that be something?) and you find her happily planted in the world of fiction with her debut novel, TOWARD THE CORNER OF MERCY AND PEACE (June, Regal House Publishing.) She and her husband Kent Buchanan live in Paducah, Ky. You can find her catch-all blog at TraceyBuchanan.com.

Author photo credit: J. Dodson

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