Irene Latham is the author of LEAVING GEE’S BEND a MG historical novel to be released by G.P. Putnam’s Sons on January 7, 2010.

Ludelphia Bennett, a determined, ten-year-old African American girl in 1932 Gee’s Bend, Alabama, leaves home in an effort to find medical help for her sick mother, and she recounts her ensuing adventures in a quilt she is making.



 Where authors answer eight of life’s most important (and magical) questions.
Uh huh.

Mindi Scott:  At age eight, what did you want to be when you grew up?  And at age eighteen?  And while you’re at it, what about at age twenty-eight?

Irene Latham:  8:  According to my Dr. Seuss’s MY BOOK ABOUT ME, I wanted to be a mother, veterinarian, writer and farmer.  18:  a social worker specializing in foster care and adoption AND mother, writer, farmer.  28:  a poet and novelist, mother (for the third time!), and I was pretty much over the farmer bit, although I still LOVE fresh vegetables… especially if someone else has done all the backbreaking work. J

 2.      MS:  Which Breakfast-Club-style label would have best fit your teenage self?  (Clever Examples:  The Bad Ass, The Athlete, The Hottie, The Dork, The Genius, The Psycho, The Social Butterfly, The Band Geek, The Drama Queen/King, The I Wish I Were a Vampire, The Entirely Something Else.) 

IL:  The Sweet One

3.      MS:  What are some of your superstitions and/or phobias?

IL:  I’m not a big fan of driving over bridges.  I have this recurring nightmare of being in a car that goes off a bridge into water, and I can’t get out of the car.  Worse, I can’t get my KIDS out of the car.  (This doesn’t mean I don’t go over bridges, but I am certainly hyper-aware of them.)

4.      MS:  Without giving away too much from your book, which character or scene are you the most pleased about having created, and why?

IL:  I love Ludelphia so much – I wish she existed in real life.  She inspires such courage and delight… I would take her with me everywhere.

5.      MS:  Was there any certain music that inspired you while you were writing this book, or is there a song that could serve as your protagonist’s theme song? 

 IL:  You know the theme song in the movie FORREST GUMP?  That is so Ludelphia.

6.      MS:  What’s up next for you as a writer? 

IL:  I’m working on another historical midgrade in which two girls escape the 1902 eruption of Mt. Pelee and a contemporary midgrade about a boy who lives at a zoo and wants more than anything to escape.

7.      MS:  And, now, the most important question of all:  Beatles or Elvis?  Please support your answer.  ;-) 

IL:  Elvis all the way.  Southern boys will always have a very special place in my heart.

8.      MS:  Okay, your turn.  Do you have a question you’d like me to ask my Magic 8-Ball on your behalf?  (I’m telling you, this thing is scarily accurate!  Well, except for when it’s lying.) 

 IL:  Do humans ever invent a way to teleport?  Because I really need that.  Like right now.


MS:  Thank you so much, Irene!

IL: Thanks, Mindi, for the Magic 8.  It’s been a lot of fun!   

To learn more about Irene Latham and LEAVING GEE’S BEND, check out