Learning the dark family secret behind her father's warning, Alicia leaves her home in Chesapeake, Virginia, and heads for San Francisco, a big city on the opposite coast, whose pictures always look pretty. Alone, pregnant, and homeless, Alicia makes a decision that will alter her relationship with her family forever: making a new home for herself a Lil's Place, an escort service of girls who become Alicia's confidantes, sisters.
After placing her son for adoption, Alicia realizes that success is the only solution to shame, and struggles to become worthy of the symbolic silver teapot handed down among the noble Tilman women. As the years go by, and her efforts build, Alicia is determined to reconnect with her mother, her father, and her son, whose life she had protected at the risk of ruining her own.
Chronicling the hardships and triumphs of four generations, Raising Redemption is a sweeping tribute to the salvation we can only find from within.
Book Talk Stop Q&A
The story started to come to me more than twenty years before I began writing the book. During that period, I dismissed the idea of writing for a number of reasons, but approximately ten years ago the story had evolved in mind to the point that I knew I would have a lifetime regret if I didn't put pen to paper, so to speak. My inspiration for writing the book was my desire to rid myself of that regret.
Raising Redemption is driven by the plot, and the characters are arranged and shaped to accommodate the plot. From my perspective, the plot is the engine that drives the book, while the characters bring life to the book.
I would like readers to walk away with the major underlying theme of the book, which stems from a series of questions, the answers to which I thought about as I was thinking about the story. The questions are: Why are certain communities well entrenched in the middle class, while others are poor? What are the common factors that lead to a middle class existence? My answers to these questions can be found in how the Tilman family in this four-generation family saga deals with their struggles for redemption. I like to think of the novel as a book of possibilities. Might the Tilman family and what they come to stand for serve as a guiding light for other black families? Might their sacrifices, struggles, devotional parenting, and generational bootstrapping, among other things, serve as a good example to follow for black folk as a whole?
I practice law for a living, and have done so for forty years. It's the right side of my brain, the rational side, that people best know, including family members and friends. For some reason, when I started writing the story the left side kicked in, and as ideas rained down upon me I discovered an internal level of creativity that I had previously believed to be nonexistent. It's the creative side that would surprise--no shock--others, because it surely shocked me.