Local author writes fiction book

Vickie Morrow Blackwell, who grew up in Yanceyville, recently penned her first novel, titled "The Age of Blessing." The Age of Blessing is situated at the crossroads of many aspects of Vickie’s life, including her childhood in the South during the Civil Rights movement, and her passion for eldercare and education.

The golden years are tarnished for Corinthia Pearl Jacobs, a proud Daughter of the Confederacy, and Ada Passmore, a Civil Rights activist from the North. Both Cori and Ada have strong constitutions shaped by their respective past experiences and environments. When circumstances force them to share a home, they are soon forced to confront the prevalent racial, social, economic, political, and religious challenges posed by society. Defying ageism, challenging contemporary parental methods, and confronting social injustice, these women probe the deep roots of the problems they face and examine how differing perspectives have the power to form solutions. Their electrifying pasts collide with their shared present when their relationship faces its greatest challenge—the 2008 election. Will things ever be the same? 

Vickie Blackwell Morrow, freelance writer, poet, editor, and first-time novelist, was born into a large North Carolina family in a small town during the peak of the Civil Rights movement. Vickie’s life experiences, career, and outreach to her community helped ground her literary work and better connect with readers. Vickie is a constant creator who wrote, produced, and choreographed a musical entitled, The Storm is Passing Over. In addition to her writing, Vickie enjoys spending time with her husband, a retired Air Force Chaplain, her two adult children, and engaging with her college freshmen, church and community via charities and non-profit organizations. 

The Age of Blessing is situated at the crossroads of many aspects of Vickie’s life, including her childhood in the South during the Civil Rights movement, and her passion for eldercare and education. While The Age of Blessing is her first novel, Vickie has also written several short stories, including A Lick and a Promise, Granny’s Braids of Hope, and the award-winning He Keeps on Truckin’, detailing her father’s struggles as a long-haul truck driver through a segregated country.

The Age of Blessing is registered with the American Wholesale Book Company, Baker & Taylor, Follett Library Resources, Ingram, and Partners Book distributors and available online with the following retailers. Mascot Books, located in Herndon, Virginia, was co-founded in 2003 by Naren Aryal. Mascot Books has published over 1,000 books with a diverse library of titles including children’s, young adult, fiction, nonfiction, cookbooks, and more. Learn more at www.mascotbooks.com

The Caswell Messenger conducted a question-and-answer session with Morrow, discussing her new book, her childhood in Caswell County, and her upcoming projects. 

Have you written other books before, or is this your first one? 

This is my first book.  

Please describe the unique experiences challenges/ satisfaction of undertaking this project. How did your past experiences help you in writing this book?

I began writing this book in the 1990’s when I lived in Montgomery, Alabama during the Bush-Clinton election.  The tension and animosity was at an all-time high and the country was extremely divided.  (So, I thought.)  As a stay-at-home mother of two young children, the book was often put on the back burner. 

Both my husband and I are one of eight children.  We are blessed to be a part of large extended families with rich histories and many stories.  With large families, joys and sorrows are multiplied. The deaths and tragedies changed my perspective on life and the direction of the book.

How did you come up with the inspiration for this writing project?

My great grandmothers on both sides were born in the 1800’s and were widows who raised their own large families and numerous grandchildren during some of the most difficult periods of this country’s history.  They persevered and never wavered. 

After working on jobs, in other homes or in homes of their own, my own mother and neighbors gathered at the home of my next door neighbor every night. They were very active in the schools, planned neighborhood events, took meals to bereaved families, pooled their resources for projects that the children were involved and solved the problems of their world.  They were some of the wisest and toughest women I knew.

I witnessed firsthand a group of people who refused to let age hinder them from being a blessing to others.

How did your experiences growing up in Caswell County help shape the narrative of this book? 

I am proud of my small town upbringing as I wrote in an article for the Caswell Messenger in the 90’s entitled, “Home Sweet Home, Growing Up in Caswell County.”

I love how my Dad would enter the bank and was greeted by name.  He often showed up at offices in town with no appointment, but was given the utmost respect and was never seen as an inconvenience. 

When my brother died of cancer and the family was in Hampton, Va. my mother kept crying, “I just want to go home”.  Once we returned to Yanceyville, I witnessed her sitting on the sofa with a church member on each side and although her world had fallen apart again, there was a sense of peace.  

No, Caswell is not perfect, but I was blessed by a number of people of both races.  From Mr. Dillard encouraging me as a third grader and Mrs. Graves telling me that I was a writer in the ninth grade, to Coach Page lifting me up during difficult times in the 12th grade and Miss Pointer paying my college application fee and mailing it to Elon.   I was inspired by the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority who had confidence in me and provided me with a scholarship and I am eternally grateful for the foundation of faith that I received at my home church.  

What were some of the things you learned - perhaps about history, perhaps about yourself - while writing this book?  

Once, I was asked about my hometown and I stated that I was from Yanceyville in Caswell County.  The person responded, “That’s where Matt Ingram is from.”  I had never heard of Matt Ingram, but googled his name and was directed to the Caswell County Historical Association website where I not only read about Matt Ingram, but I was inspired and read one article after another. The CCHA website and Roots Web provided so much of our county’s rich and vibrant history which was helpful as I conducted research for the book.

As the spouse of an Air Force Chaplain who served for 28 years, we moved to different assignments every 2-3 years.  When I left Yanceyville I was familiar with the Methodist Church, the Baptist Church and the Episcopalian Church.  I had no idea that there were over 80 different types of Baptist and I would be part of the Protestant umbrella with representatives from about 65 different denominations.  In addition, there were services which included the Jewish, Catholic, and Orthodox communities.  Although my views were different, my eyes were opened to different cultures, religions, and perspectives. 

Do you have any other writing projects or ideas in mind at the present time? 

I am currently working on a series of fiction short stories and after the success of  He Keeps on Truckin’, a story about my Dad’s experiences as a long haul truck driver during the segregation, I hope to publish his autobiography, My Life, The Story of a Long-Haul Truck Driver.