Passing By Samaria
by Sharon Ewell Foster
Publication Date: Jan 01, 2001
Page Count: 382
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Parent Company: Bertelsmann and Pearson PLC
An inspirational read of racism, romance and religious conviction
When the discovery of a schoolmate's lynched body puts her own life in jeopardy, Angela is sent by her parents from her beloved Mississippi home. With thousands of other African-Americans, Angela begins making her way north to the Promised Land of turn-of-the-century Chicago. On the way she meets two men who will dramatically impact her life: James, a young African-American believer determined to establish a newspaper in Chicago, and Pearl, a man with questionable intentions. A stirring novel by an exciting new writer, Passing by Samaria beautifully shows readers the path to truth, purpose, reconciliation, and joy.
Who knew that you would read it?
I wanted to write a novel that would sell millions and make me the darling of the literary world. So, I came up with a surefire 7-point plan.
1. Steamy romances are the rage; sex sells.
My response: Who cares? I'll write a book with only a thread of romance but no explicit sex scenes; no one will be able to keep the book in stock. And while I'm at it, I'll write without curse words. People will love it!
2. Books with tragic endings make headlines and best seller lists.
My response: I'll write a book that is full of faith, optimism, charm, and hope.
3. People are angry, frightened, and sick of talking about race.
My response: Great! I'll write a book that confronts racism and classism-particularly among Christians.
4. As a long-time Defense Department employee, though I am a Christian, I know nothing about the Christian fiction genre. It is a genre only read by a set group of Christians.
My response: If "discovered," I will have my book published by a Christian publishing house and pretty much ensure that my book will be catalogued as "religious." All kinds of people will run to buy a religious novel with references to God, gospel music, and Jesus. And I'll expect that Christians and non-Christians alike will want to read my novel.
5. Christian fiction readers are overwhelmingly white women, and they don't buy books with African Americans on the cover.
My response: Pooh! Pooh! I'll intentionally write for men, as well as, women...even for young people. My protagonist will be a black female. There will be an African American on the cover, and I will expect that book will be bought by African-Americans. Sales will cross gender, racial, and religious lines.
6. Christian fiction is usually thought to be pretty tame, predictable, and idealistic-always showing Christians in the most positive light and "heathens" as the bad guys.
Fabulous! I'll include lots of adventure, controversy, and plot twists. The story will include Christians who are murderers and non-Christian characters who are funny, charming, and lovable.
7. Oh no, not more history! No one wants to read about history.
Oh, yes! Passing by Samaria will include actual accounts, from 1919, of riots and African American troops serving in WWI. I think I'll talk about Mississippi, about the Chicago Tribune, about W.E.B. DuBois and the black press. That ought to do it.
I wrote this book because I wanted to sell a million copies, get rich, and move out of the townhouse I lease.
Actually, I wrote Passing by Samaria from my heart, from the love in my heart. I wrote it because I could no longer avoid writing it. I wrote it because I love books, and hoped that I could tell you a good story that would make a difference. I wrote Passing by Samaria because I bear on my body healed scars from deep wounds caused by the anger and pain of racism. I wrote it because, like most people who have been miraculously healed, I could no longer avoid talking about the source of my cure. I wrote Passing by Samaria because I wanted to offer comfort and love to you, no matter where you stand on the difficult issues I confront in my novel. I wrote Passing by Samaria because I hoped that if I honestly shared my own frailties and struggles, I might help you or someone you love. I wrote the book from my naked, exposed heart because I had to; and I never really believed you would read it.
May you find a blessing within the pages of the book!
~Sharon Ewell Foster, August 13, 2000