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De’Shawn Charles Winslow Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

In West Mills (2019)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

De’Shawn Charles Winslow was born and grew up in of Elizabeth City, North Carolina. He graduated from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in the year 2017 and has an MA in English literature and a BFA in creative writing from Brooklyn College. Winslow has also gotten scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference. He lives in New York.

Winslow’s dad passed unexpectedly, and he found he had quite a few questions about his dad that he never had answered. He realized that there was nowhere else to get these answers except for his dad, he began fictionalizing what began life as an essay about his father. He turned it into a fiction piece, finding that he could create some things he believed could have happened in his life.

Winslow wound up losing interest in this project, and just wrote stories based on people he had actually grown up knowing, or those that had died long before Winslow was born.

He had been thinking about writing “In West Mills” since he was just a teen. Winslow just had no idea that he was interested in the story until after he tried learning more about his dad failed. All the other stories he had written, and they wound up in one novel.

The main character of “In West Mills”, Azalea, is based off his great-uncle’s girlfriend, whose nickname was Knot. The woman was an alcoholic and died when Winslow was only ten. People had a tough time turning her down when she asked for rides, and really treated her with a fair amount of respect. He knew that the work she did was domestic, and had no kids.

This all fascinated Winslow and this all suggested that Knot was once a person who was not messy. Even Knot herself fascinated Winslow, as she is not like his aunts or his mother, making her unlike any woman he knew when he was younger. He has never forgotten about her. Winslow could never get much about Knot before she was an alcoholic, with his mom telling him she only knew of Knot as an alcoholic. He started writing about her from a place of questioning certain things that were on his mind for some time.

The story started life as a short story, and he kept getting people telling him to turn it into a novel. When he first tried turning the story into a novel he thought that Knot and Otis Lee had to be romantically involved. This got cut out pretty quickly, since they have s many differences they could really only be friends. He wanted the book to reflect that people from the opposite sex can have the best friendships.

Much of the authentic North Carolina accent comes from what Winslow grew up hearing most of his life every day during day care until he went off to kindergarten.

Winslow says that his relationship with the South is not the best because he grew up in a small town in North Carolina in a place where it was not cool to be gay and not into sports. It made him want to get out just as soon as he possibly could. Whenever he goes back, he loves that there is not that much traffic and that the place is quiet, however, he is unable to totally be himself when he is there.

He does fantasize about living in a small town, just for how quiet they are. He loves living in New York City and everything that huge cities have to offer, he thinks about living in a tiny, quiet town somewhere. The reason he doesn’t is for the things that they do not offer him.

One of the best lessons he has learned as a writer is to not be afraid to address topics that may piss people off. If you do not do this as a writer, then you will just be writing fluff. He also finds that writing the unknown is very important.

His debut novel, called “In West Mills” was released in the year 2019, and is from the genre of historical fiction.

“In West Mills” was named by publications such as Essence, Time Magazine, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and Entertainment Weekly to be a Most Anticipated Novel.

“In West Mills” is the first stand alone novel, which was released in the year 2019. Azalea “Knot” Centre is determined to live her life as she pleases. Let the folks of West Mills say just what they will; the gossip of her neighbors is not going to keep Knot from the things she loves most. Things like nineteenth century literature, men’s company, and cheap moonshine. Yet, Knot has begun to learn that her freedom comes with a major price. All alone in her one-room shack, being cut off from her home town as well as ostracized from all her relatives, she turns to Otis Lee Loving, her neighbor, to find some kind of home and family.

Otis Lee is pretty eager to help her out. Otis Lee, a lifelong fixer, is determined to steer both his family and his friends away from choices that is going to cause them ridicule or heartache. After he failed as a teenager to help his older sister, he finds a potential path to redemption within the chaos Knot brings to him. While he tries to fix Knot’s life, Otis Lee finds he is powerless to repair the many troubles in his own family, with some long buried secrets from his troubled past start coming to light.

The novel is set in an African American community located in rural North Carolina from the year 1941 until 1987.

Readers found this one to have a cast of characters people will not soon forget. The novel has a big heart that is about migration, family, and love’s unbearable difficulties. Winslow writes with a voice that is not just pitch perfect, but is also important, new, and arresting. He introduces his readers to a fascinating and flawed character in fiction, too, in Knot.

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