Edward P. Jones Interview
He got a few temporary college teaching assignments after “Lost in the City” appeared, but kept his job, while casting about for a new story to write. In the back of his mind was a fact he had learned at Holy Cross: that there had been black slaveholders in the antebellum South. For more than 20 years, that fact had gnawed at his imagination.
He says, “It was a shock that there were black people who would take part in a system like that. Why didn’t they know better?” It could make a fine story, perhaps a novel, but by 2001 all he had written was six pages of the first chapter and six of the last. He had been writing the rest in his head.