Lalita Tademy Biography
Tademy was born in Berkeley, California, far from her parents southern
roots. Nonetheless, her parents made sure their household (Louisiana
West) maintained a definite non-California edge, including a steady
supply of grits, gumbo, cornbread, and collard greens, and a stream of
other transplanted southerners eager to share their back-home stories.
Capricorn by birth and temperament, Lalita decided early that
independence and self-sufficiency trumped personal amusement, and set
out with dogged determination and methodical resolve to fashion a
career. She climbed the corporate ladder, rung by rung, entering the
business world when computers were as big as Volkswagens and
mollycoddled by highly specialized experts in refrigerated vaults. By
the time she left her position as VP and General Manager at a Fortune
500 high technology company in Silicon Valley twenty years later, ending
that particular chapter of her life, all she had to do was pack up her
laptop and run for the nearest exit.
The transition from focused, driven, corporate drone to balanced, fully
satisfied, fully realized human being (okay, she hasnt really made it
there yet) was an incredible journey of self discovery and growth, only
impeded by the fact that there was absolutely no money coming in. But
her obsession with finding each root, each branch, stripping the bark
and turning over every hidden leaf and stem of her family tree consumed
her, until she had accumulated such powerful stories there was no choice
but to write about the amazing people with whom she had made
And so, over 1,000 documents in hand, she wrote a novel based on the
lives of four generations of colored Creole slave women in Louisiana,
women from whom she descended. Cane River was a testament to the
strength of those who came before, a blend of fact and fiction, homage,
but hopefully a good, fast, exciting read. Fortunately, Oprah Winfrey
thought so, and she selected the novel as her summer book pick in 2001.
After everything she learned researching and writing Cane River,
book two, Lalita thought, would be much less difficult and involve less
than three years to create. She was wrong. Maybe if not for the
time-intensive process of falling in love and getting married, it would
have been, but she will never know. It will be almost six years between
the publication of Cane River and Red Rivers debut in
January 2007. Red River also takes place in Louisiana, and
is also a historical novel, based on real events during Reconstruction
after the Civil War, a time period and subject matter often summarily
skimmed in our history books. The story of Red River begins in
1873, and follows the ramifications of an incident on Easter Sunday of
that year on successive generations of two families involved.
Reproduced from lalitatademy.com, with the permission of Lalita Tademy.
This biography was last updated on 06/19/2011.
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