Monday, October 5, 2020

Freedom Lessons ~ Book Blog Tour Author Interview & Giveaway!


Book Details:
Book TitleFreedom Lessons (a novel) by Eileen Harrison Sanchez

CategoryAdult Fiction (18+) ,  245 pages

Genre: American Historical Fiction

Publisher:  She Writes Press

Release date:   November 2019

Content Rating:  PG. This book is a clean read. The use of the words Negro, colored, and a one time reference use of nigger, though not politically correct by today's standards, is era specific and not intended in any kind of pejorative sense.

Chosen as a 2020 Pulpwood Queens Book Club pick
2019 Best Book Awards Finalist in Fiction (Multicultural)

“This powerful tale offers a beacon of hope that individuals can inspire change.”
Library Journal

Book Description:
Freedom Lessons begins in Louisiana 1969 as Colleen, a white northern teacher, enters into the unfamiliar culture of a small Southern town and its unwritten rules as the town surrenders to mandated school integration. She meets Frank, a black high school football player, who is protecting his family with a secret. And Evelyn, an experienced teacher and prominent member of the local black community, who must decide whether she’s willing to place trust in her new white colleague. Told alternately by Colleen, Frank, and Evelyn, Freedom Lessons is the story of how the lives of these three purportedly different people intersect in a time when our nation faced, as it does today, a crisis of race, unity, and identity. 

School desegregation is something we all learn about in history class; perhaps we even remember the striking image of Ruby Bridges being escorted to and from school by the U.S. Marshals. But for most of us in 2019, that’s near the extent of what we understand about that tumultuous time. Eileen Sanchez, the debut novelist behind Freedom Lessons (She Writes Press, November 12, 2019), draws on her own remarkable experience as a young, white teacher in the Jim Crow South during desegregation, to write her immersive work of fiction inspired by those events. The result is an unusually authentic exploration of a snapshot in history through the eyes of characters that are relatable and unmistakably human—living lives and navigating relationships against the backdrop of extreme societal upheaval. Sanchez has woven a beautiful story not just about desegregation as an abstract concept, but about the people who lived it—and asks us to question our assumptions about that time, and the issues it has left in its 50-year wake. 
Author Interview:
Q: Do you ever get writer’s block? 
A: I think of it as more a signal that this isn’t the way the story is supposed to go. I think writer’s block comes when I’m not listening to myself. 

Q: What helps you overcome it? 
A: I’ve learned to trust myself and either write what my subconscious is suggesting just to get it out and see where that takes me. The characters tell you what they want to do. I also take a break, read, walk, have lunch, and leave it be. The ideas will come, or I let it go for another day. 

Q: If you could go back in time, where would you go? 
A: How interesting! Sometimes I believe I’ve lived before. When I met my husband 50 years ago, I recognized him immediately and knew I would marry him before I knew his name. It was so unusual; I just knew him. We clicked immediately. I’d like to go back to the time I’ve fantasized and meet him in Spain during the Gilded Era between the wars. I think something sad had happened and we were destined to meet again. 

Q: Is there any truth to your story that is personal to you?
A: My book is based on my personal experience that I more fully understood by studying the impact on the black families and teachers forty years later through research and interviews about that school year of 1969-1970. Colleen represents my own experience, and I created two characters to tell the point of view of a black teacher and a black high school student. I fictionalized my experience to create the characters of Frank and Evelyn. Having two POV characters who are black and one white misplaced “Yankee,” I have tried to give a more accurate expression of the small stories and the wide impact of this event. 

Q: In your book you make reference to The Crossover, what is that?
A: My November 12, 2019 publishing date commemorates the 50th anniversary of southern states meeting the mandate of the Brown v BOE decision. It is known as The Crossover in Louisiana. On October 29, 1969, the US Supreme Court ordered schools across the country to desegregate in the little-known but milestone case, Alexander v. Holmes. It was 15 years after Brown v Board and most black students in the South still attended segregated black schools. If they had not integrated public schools, they would have forfeited federal funds on Dec. 31, 1969. Stubborn resistance to move beyond “Freedom of Choice” plans created numerous last-minute decisions to meet the mandate.

Meet the Author:
Eileen Harrison Sanchez is now retired after a forty-year career in education. She started as a teacher and ended as a district administrator. She has been writing part time for seven years with a writers group in Summit, NJ. Eileen is a member of the Historical Novel Society, Philadelphia Stories Writers Community, Goodreads American Historical Novels Group, and several online writers’ groups. A reader, a writer, and a perennial—a person with a no-age mindset—she considers family and friends to be the most important parts of her life, followed by traveling and bird watching from her gazebo.

connect with the author: website ~ facebook ~ twitter ~ instagram

Enter the Giveaway
Win an autographed copy of FREEDOM LESSONS
or a $15 Amazon Gift Card
(2 winners, USA only, ends Oct 16)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tour Schedule:
Sep 28 – Cover Lover Book Review – book review / giveaway
Sep 28 - Jazzy Book Reviews – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Sep 29 – All Booked Up Reviews – book review
Sep 29 - Pen Possessed – book review
Sep 30 – Rockin' Book Reviews – book review / guest post / giveaway
Sep 30 - Rajiv's Reviews – book review
Oct 1 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review / author interview / giveaway
Oct 2 – eBook addicts – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Oct 5 – Book World Reviews – book review  
Oct 5 - Momfluenster - book review / giveaway
Oct 5 - Jackie's Book Reviews - book review
Oct 5 - Hall Ways Blog - book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Oct 6 – Library of Clean Reads – book review / giveaway
Oct 6 - Books and Zebras – book review
Oct 7 – My Fictional Oasis – book review
Oct 7 - She Just Loves Books – book review / giveaway
Oct 8 – Literary Flits – book review / giveaway
Oct 8 - Divas With A Purpose - book review / author interview
Oct 9 – On My Bookshelf – book review / author interview / giveaway



  1. Thank you for the Spotlight for FREEDOM LESSONS on your blog today and sharing it with your followers. I am grateful for the opportunity to connect with new readers. I believe that reading historical fiction can create empathy and understanding for the challenges that people have experienced in the past. My hope is that we can learn and consider our own reactions and behaviors for the future. Be the change you want to see. Please enter the giveaway and keep Freedom Lessons in mind for future reading choices if you don't win! It's available in libraries and anywhere books are sold. Eileen Harrison Sanchez