Fear of the Misunderstood.
Internal Torture that Lasts for a Lifetime.
The Lynching Calendar gives readers a sneak peek into one of America’s darkest times. History tends to tell the story from one perspective, but what if we had the chance to hear the story from those involved? The Lynching Calendar allows us a chance to hear the full story and show that, no matter what the circumstance may be, there is more than one side to every story.
Read the Excerpt Now.
I didn’t know how far along she was and was trying to keep my other girls happy, so I didn’t go see her for a long while. I had originally planned to just beat her up pretty bad and make her lose it, but she had already had the baby when I finally decided to go back to see her! I got drunk because I hit harder when I’ve been drinking, so seeing the baby there just made me even angrier. If I’d had it my way and the law not have gotten involved, the boy wouldn’t be around either.
But I’m old now. The boy’s probably an adult by now, or somewhere near it. No use in trying to deny him. They say he looks just like me, but a negro, you know? Say he’s real smart too. People talk about how nice and caring he is. He’s got his mama’s spirit, that’s what that is.
Never married. No kids that claim me. I have a few friends here, but most of them moved off. So I’m just an old lonely man. As much as I’d like to disagree, some whisper that I deserve to be alone, that I deserve every bad thing I get. I don’t know, maybe I do. But, even if I cared to, I can’t change the past. Life keeps going, whether you want it to or not.
- Claude Arnett, Chapter 3 of The Lynching Calendar
Mallie Finch has always been unladylike. She drank all the time, was always making spells, and was just the strangest nigger girl I had ever met in my life. I never did understand how she and Phera shared the same blood; I used to tell my girlfriends that all the time. They were just as frightened of her as I was. Thomas, my husband, told me that they might be by, but I didn’t know what for. He never tells me anything. So when they came galavanting up to my front porch talking some nonsense about a cow, I just froze. It was almost as if I was entranced, that’s what I told my girlfriends. I had never been that close to Mallie Finch before. She was hideous! Her features were fair for a nigger, I guess, but it was her skin that bothered me. It was so dark, I couldn’t bear it! It was terrible, poor girl. Her mother was a darkie too, but it was just different. And when she walked away…Mallie had always been thin, but she had such a large bottom and hips. She was just a disaster. Calvin, Malcus’ father, was always handsome for a nigger. I always thought he was too good for her. When they started taking the cow I panicked and I called the sheriff, who came out as quick as he could and got my story. I always have liked out Sheriff. Such a kind and gentle man.
When Thomas came home, I told him what happened. I told him about how they scared me so, but as usual, he ignored me. He’s so inconsiderate. He pushed me away and explained to me that they had bought a cow and came to pick it up. When I told him that I called the sheriff, he just laughed and said, “Our sheriff is lazy. He don’t care nothing about two niggers and a cow!”
He stopped laughing when he saw the postcard. Our sheriff does do his job, no matter what Thomas says.
Do I feel guilty? Course not! For what? I didn’t kill anybody, I’m not a murderer. I did my civic duty and reported what I thought was a crime. My hands are perfectly clean.
- Cynthia Rainswell, Chapter 2 of The Lynching Calendar
- Have you always wanted to be a writer?
I have always wanted to be a writer. Even as a child, I dreamed of becoming a published author. Even in my adult life, my writing is not limited to books – it takes on many other forms, including marketing, copywriting, beta reading, and much more.
- How did you come up with the title of your book?
The title of my book, The Lynching Calendar, actually came to me before I had written the book. The book discusses lynchings, of course, but the “Calendar” portion of the title comes from the fact that each story takes place in a different year. It also symbolizes the continuation of time and how, although these particular stories took place in the past, lynchings and racial violence continue to be an endless cycle.
- Where is your favorite place to write?
I don’t really have a favorite place to write. As long as it’s a comfortable spot, I can make do, LOL.
- Does your family support your career as a writer?
Yes, my family is very supportive of my career as a writer. I come from an extremely creative family, and I am thankful to have been raised by parents who allowed me to explore my creativity to the fullest. They are my biggest cheerleaders.
- What is your interesting writing quirk?
One interesting writing quirk that I have is that I can’t start a new manuscript on the computer. Instead of typing, I have to write in pencil manually. If not, I feel like I can’t get my thoughts out properly.
- When did you write your first book, and how old were you?
I wrote my first book, The Lynching Calendar, in 2013, during my senior year in high school when I was 17 years old.
- Do you plan to write more books in the future?
I do plan to write more books in the future. I have another book that I wrote during my senior year in high school, as well as several other historical fiction drafts that I plan to complete and publish soon.
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