Arkansas Traveler
Earlene Fowler

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Benni Harper

About Arkansas Traveler

Number 8 on the April 29, 2001, LA Times bestseller list!

 

I knew that if I wrote my Benni Harper series long enough, eventually I’d have to let Benni and her family travel to Arkansas, where Dove and Benni were born.   Though my mother was born and raised in Arkansas, she and her family left the state back in the late forties, so I never visited my mother’s home state until I was in my early forties.  I proposed this book to my publisher…then I had to find a story!  So, Allen and I flew to Little Rock, rented a car and drove around the state.  It was truly one of the best “vacations” I’ve ever had (part vacation, part work since when I travel and do research, I look at things very differently).  Arkansas is a beautiful state and I tried to portray it in Arkansas Traveler both honestly and with love.  The incident in the book with the ping pong ball drop is a real incident that took place in Magnolia, Arkansas.  The scene where Elvia asks what kinds of herbal tea the Waffle house served also happened…with me and Tina, my beloved webmaster.  Only it happened in Nashville, Tennessee (not to be confused with Nashville, Arkansas).  And I do think shopping at a grocery story called the Piggly Wiggly does make shopping more fun!

 

 

 

My and Benni's favorite grocery store!  I love going to "The Pig!"

   This arch is truly all that is left of the original Blevins High School which burned down a few years before I visited it and where my mother graduated in 1942.  When the war broke out, she left the farm to go to Washington, D.C. to work as a typist for the F.B.I.  The arch just sits there in the middle of the field.

    This is one of the many privately maintained cemeteries in Arkansas.  This one is outside of the tiny town of McCaskill.  My mother grew up on a cotton sharecropping farm near this town.  Many of my distant relatives are buried here.

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