The Value of a Picture -- How a Photo from 1965 Inspired a Novel
Two years ago, on Easter, Lis’s father showed her a photo. The black and white snapshot depicts a little African American girl and a little Caucasian girl sitting next to each other. The background is littered with people watching a civil rights march. Instantly, Lis said she knew there was a story “that needed to be told.” The little girl was in fact, Lis, who confesses that writing this novel was incredibly personal. “I had to ask a lot of questions of myself and my father. And, in so doing, we’ve become closer than ever.”
The relationship between Lis and her father is truly the spark behind the novel’s inception. “My father began this story all those years ago. And then he brought the story alive two Easters ago when he brought me the snapshot. Why this photo, out of all the photos he could have given me? And why, as an FBI agent on duty, did he take me to that march that day?”
Lis’s father also helped enrich the story by providing her with a perfect character very similar to him, FBI agent James Waldren. The novel opens up with James present at a civil rights march with his little girl, Lisa, when two shots ring out in the crowd. A leader of the civil rights movement has been killed in front of everyone. Fast forward years later, the man convicted of killing that civil rights leader is on death row, but James knows he isn’t guilty. Someone else killed that leader that day and James reaches out to the only person he believes can help him—his federal prosecutor daughter, Lisa.
The mystery deepens as Lisa begins to search for the little girl pictured with her in the grainy black and white photo her dad took that day. Who was she and how can she help them solve this mystery?
Lis says she her motivation in writing Snapshot was to craft a good suspenseful page turners that readers won’t want to put down. “When I write, I think about the reader in his or her home curling up with Snapshot and not wanting to budge until they’ve finished the book.”
Much like Lisa in her novel, Lis’s alternate motivation was to find the girl pictured with her so many years ago. When asked if she has had any luck in her search, Lis responded, “Not yet. But it would be a wonderful thing if Snapshot could bring us together again. Where is that little girl now? Does she remember that day in Texas? How has her life unfolded?”