Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Crossing Day by William A. Glass

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. William A. Glass will award a $25 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Why do you write juvenile fiction? What draws you to it?

I normally write historical fiction and that’s what Crossing Day is with a twist – it’s alternative history and it’s geared toward younger readers. Alternative history starts with a true historical event, in this case The Civil War, and then fictionalizes the outcome to create a speculative world. In the case of Crossing Day, the historic alteration is that the Confederacy won its independence in The Civil War. So, the characters all live in a world where slaves of African descent still do most of the work. My objective in writing the book was to warn against what could happen if racism, homophobia, and authoritarianism become government policy. Thus, Crossing Day is a controversial, thought-provoking novel. I made younger readers the intended audience because they tend to be more open-minded than adults who have in most cases already made up their minds about the questions the book poses.

Pretend your protagonist is at school and opens his/her locker – what will we see inside?

Ryan Walters is the protagonist of Crossing Day. As the story opens, he’s a senior in high school, so your question about his locker is spot on. I imagine that once he works the combination lock and opens the door Ryan’s going to find school books, binders, spiral notebooks, pens, pencils, a ruler, scotch tape, and other study materials. Hanging from the hook might be the letter jacket he got for playing varsity soccer. There would also be a bag with his cleats and shin guards for soccer practice later.

What books were your favorite as a youth and why?

I grew up during the 1950s and the books my parents recommended were a classic reading list which I am eternally thankful for. I read Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, Robinson Crusoe, Treasure Island, The Three Musketeers, The Man in the Iron Mask, Ivanhoe, and other great books. My favorite was The Count of Monte Cristo. For some reason I identified with the travails of the main character and so reveled when he made a spectacular comeback!

What did you want to be when you grew up? Why?

I grew up in a wildly dysfunctional military family headed by an alcoholic army colonel. My brothers and sisters were completely out of control, and I was the worst of the bunch. My wasted youth provided plenty of fodder for my first two novels, As Good As Can Be and Off Broadway: A Marriage Drama. I was in-and-out of trouble until my late twenties just trying my best to keep it down to a steady roar. This is a long way around making my point that I had no ambition growing up other than to survive my family and stay out of jail.

What would you write in a letter to your teen self?

If I could write a letter to my teenage self it would say “Hey Bill, you are not retarded as everyone thinks you are. It’s just that you have some learning disabilities including ADHD, dyslexia, and Aspergers. You’re actually quite intelligent. The problem is that it’s 1952 and your teachers, parents, brothers and sisters don’t know anything about learning disabilities, there is no special ed, so they have just written you off. Hang in there. Your life will get better as you find a constructive outlet for your talents.”

What book is on your nightstand currently?

I am currently rereading The Coming Fury by Bruce Catton. It’s the history of the lead-up to The Civil War. I first read this around sixty years ago and have read much more scholarly treatments of the subject since. The reason I’ve taken it off my library shelf again is to prepare for any discussions, prompted by the publication of Crossing Day, that I might fall into with folks who don’t accept the idea that the preservation and expansion of chattel slavery was the motivation of the southern states that seceded to form the Confederacy. Hard to believe, but there are still people, especially where I live, who argue otherwise!

Thank-you for featuring my novel Crossing Day on Books in the Hall today!

It's been one hundred and sixty years since the Confederacy won its independence at the Battle of Altamaha Crossing. Slaves of African descent still perform most of the work in the South. This seems normal to Ryan Walters and his friends who attend high school in Huntsville, Alabama. Like teens everywhere, they enjoy sharing videos, playing sports, and hanging out with friends. Jaybird's drive-in is their favorite gathering place. There, they befriend Mish, a slave girl who works as a car hop. When the drive-in’s owner sells Mish to a dirty old man, Ryan and his friends awaken to the injustice around them. Despite the danger, they decide to help Mish escape. Will they succeed?

Read an Excerpt

Melanie wanders into the dining room and finds her parents already seated at the table with their personal slaves standing behind them. Her mother, Dorothy, takes a sip of orange juice and replaces the glass on the lace tablecloth. Her servant, Natty, immediately gets a pitcher from the sideboard and refills the glass. Meanwhile, James is smiling at Melanie. “Morning, Miss,” he says. The white-haired Black man pulls out her chair. Once she’s seated, he spreads a cloth napkin over her lap.

“What was all the ruckus at Jaybird’s last night?” Dan Montgomery asks. He’s the mayor of Huntsville and knows everything.

“A German boy started it,” Melanie says defensively.

“Yes, and his father already called me to complain. He’s a big wheel at The Space Flight Complex.”


Montgomery points to the syrup. His slave, Parker, reaches for it and then pours. “Enough,” Montgomery snaps. He turns back to Melanie. “You and all the others will have a week of detention.”

Melanie gasps. “What about cheerleading practice?”

“You should have thought of that before you went to the drive-in. That’s where all the delinquents hang out and you with them.”

“I won’t go anymore. Please.” Melanie bats her baby blues at her father. His expression melts. “Go to detention after school today, and maybe we’ll see about tomorrow.”

“Thanks, Dad.”

Montgomery cuts off a bite of pancake and pops it into his mouth. That reminds Melanie to eat as well. It’s almost time for the bus.

About the Author:
Bill is a retired business executive who now lives in a small southern town with his wife, Bettina. She’s a retired high school German teacher. Bill coaches soccer at a small college. Often, Bettina, who has a commercial driver’s license, pilots the soccer team bus to away games.

Bettina and Bill have three sons, Alex, Robert, and Gordon who have all graduated from college and moved away to pursue careers. Instead of having an empty nest, Bettina and Bill now host three rescue dogs. They enjoy finding promising hiking trails to explore with their dogs.



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