Maryann Austin

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Like Choking Butterflies, In the Land of Cotton portrays human shortcomings.  But in this book, the reader will find redemption, something purposely left out of Choking Butterflies.  Many themes lie at different levels of this story.  Yankees are viewed as devils by the Confederates.  Della is ignorant of those with darker skin.  Mennonite people view all outsiders as trouble.  All preconceived notions are shattered and most of the characters are, at last, judged according to their actions--good or bad. 

The mountains of Winchester, VA are where I make my home.  I have had many bumps and bruises in my life--like most of the people on the earth.  But I am happy to be at a point where I can say that I have a wonderful husband and beautiful kids and peace.  If it were always that way, I probably would never have picked up a pen or pounded out crazy stories on the computer keyboard.   So I am grateful for those times, the ones that bent me up and broke me, the ones that caused thick scars on my heart.  Some experiences, like death, divorce, and all kinds of hardship give you an insight that you never lose.  My roller coaster began in 1971 when my father suddenly died.  He left my mother with five of us to raise alone.  It was a meaty growing up in the suburbs of New York.  The only thing that came easy for me was school work.  And I put most of my efforts into writing.  I did well in the college writing classes I took in high school--which I never got credit for because we were too poor to pay.  But I learned what I learned.  And after  * decades (purposely omitted!) I am combining what I learned in high school and college with what I learned in life.  The result is what you will find in the pages of Choking Butterflies and In the Land of Cotton, and in the books to come.