1. Tell me a little about yourself—your name, profession, where you live, do you have a family, the usual.
My name is Jess Bennett and I am 78 years old. I was born and raised in a flat in London, England. World War II gave me an American GI named James to fall in love with and marry. After the war, we left England and my mother for New York on the ship of our destiny, the QUEEN MARY. We left Southampton with only each other but arrived in New York as a family after a North Atlantic encounter with an otherworldly, desperate mother and her two small children. My life began on that voyage.
2. What happened to you, so you ended up in this crazy adventure the novel talks about?
We began a life in southern Illinois in Jim’s ancestral Victorian farmhouse. It was heaven on earth, and I had never been happier. But when we lost our children just nine months apart, I fell off the path of the living and descended into the deathly world of bitterness and hostility. Losing just one of them would have been pain enough but both was simply too much, like a double amputation. My marriage disintegrated and despair leveled any hope of a normal existence and I became a recluse. Now, decades later, this young black filmmaker has brought Jim and I together again for a final reunion with that poor mother who has returned to shut doors all older mortals contemplate.
3. What is your biggest regret?
I lost the love of my life. I am happy Jim remarried but I absolutely hate his second wife because she has my man. I’ve never been with another man but have no one to blame for losing him except myself. I actually freed him because I knew I would never be the same. It was the hardest choice I’ve ever made, brave I tell myself, but it was necessary. But this young man has given me this final chance to find my way after all these decades and all I need before I die is to see that woman.
You can find more about Keith Wayne McCoy on his website.