In fact I have never visited a Haitian orphanage. When I was in the process of creating Radley’s character I decided I wanted her out of the country when the U.S. began to unravel. Ever since I read a beautiful book by Frances Temple called TASTE OF SALT and the exquisite MOUNTAINS BEYOND MOUNTAINS by Tracy Kidder and the extraordinary work of Edwidge Danticat, I have been more than a little interested in Haiti. I decided to place my protagonist there at the beginning of SAFEKEEPING. By coincidence, a young Brattleboro woman, Mariam Diallo, was recognized in our local newspaper (the Brattleboro Reformer) for her volunteer work in Haiti. I contacted Mariam and she became an indispensable resource for creating Haiti with authenticity and power.
“In SAFEKEEPING, an orphanage in Haiti is an important memory for Radley. You visited a real Haitian orphanage. Was that the inspiration for this book?”