Dancing in Cadillac Light Author's Note
3–5, 6–8, 9–12
Kimberly Willis Holt's Author's Note
Dancing in Cadillac Light
Dancing in Cadillac Light is, at least in part, about two sisters, Jaynell and Racine. They are very different from my sister and me, and yet the emotions they experience are quite the same. I had actually created these characters previously for an adult story. Then, as part of a writing exercise, I thought about what was hanging in their closets, and I realized Racine's held an old dance costume. The whole story unfolded for me from that one detail.
Another part of the story came out of a conversation I had with my parents while researching the book. They were telling me about their childhoods in Louisiana. After my father talked about being poor, my mother said, "Well, we were poor, too. We just didn't dwell on it!" To which my dad replied, "Oh, ya'll always thought you were better than us because you lived on a blacktop road!" I loved that! Two poor families still had class distinctions, all having to do with tar!
I think it's an advantage to be from the South if you're a writer. The stories are rich and full of interesting characters. I come from a family of storytellers. They can't just tell you how someone went to the store. They have to tell you who they saw, what they were wearing, what they said, and what they had in their grocery cart. I think this helped me tell the stories of Jaynell, Racine, and their grandpa.