J.N. SULLIVAN is the daughter of Curtis Lee Jones Norman, who used to tell her little girl stories of her childhood, “the olden days” in a small town in south central Virginia in the 1920s. The author always preferred these stories to fairy tales and children’s literature. Those stories of her mother’s inform the local color of From My Father’s House.
Sullivan grew up in Norfolk, Virginia, received a B.A. and an M.A. from Old Dominion University and spent 42 years teaching literature and composition in the Virginia Community College System. She published numerous academic articles and a text book on writing about literature. She is married to an attorney, and together they raised three children.
Her time is now spent writing, gardening, volunteering at her parish, and enjoying her beautiful grandchildren. She lives in Virginia, as she has every day of her life.
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J.N. Sullivan’s protagonist, Ruth Jean, is an adolescent white girl whose high spirits and self-confidence lead her to reach out to Cora, a young black woman who wanders into her father’s grocery store. They form an unusual relationship for the segregated 1920s. As Ruth Jean’s life, her emotions, and her family become wrapped up in the turmoil of Cora’s troubles, the girl learns about culture and society, about friendship and love, and about the importance of family and faith.
The characters move through a world so different from today’s world in many ways. Daily routines, the rhythm of life, how things get done have changed dramatically with time. We hope and believe that some things in society have changed for the better. But people at their core are driven by the same passions in a timeless and universal way. Everybody wants to feel loved and be happy.
From My Father’s House reads like a memoir, putting the reader into small town life in a bygone time. Yet its plot carries the two main characters to a climactic turning point of insight that sets them on a trajectory leading beyond the pages of the novel.
J.N. Sullivan is available for public speaking engagements