We asked J.C. Villegas what inspired her to write Journey of a Cottom Blossom, and to share some recs for her favorite media to explore similar topics. Thanks for the great guest post, J.C.!
I have always found myself standing up for someone or something. Since I was a little girl my parents have always said I was completely incensed by any injustice I would see, and that tendency has not diminished over time.
Being a lesbian, I always felt like I did not completely fit in my society or my school and definitely not in my church growing up. This certainly intensified my drive to promote equality. As I grew older, I saw that the disparity extended far and wide, not only for myself but millions of people from all different walks of life, races, and religions.
Even with the deep desire to find ways to right the wrongs of inequality, I did not choose to write about these topics. I did not choose to write at all. It chose me.
Journey of a Cotton Blossom came to me one night in a dream. When I woke up from this dream I was intrigued, but I thought there was no way I was going to write a book. I had no training, and at that time I was on a different path having started a non-profit animal rescue.
Over a nine-month span, I continued to have this dream. Each time it intensified and more detail came to me. Finally, I decided if I was ever going to sleep soundly again I had to start writing, and throughout the writing process, my dreams continued to guide me.
My wish is that Journey of a Cotton Blossom can be a source of encouragement and healing for some; a way to see they are not alone. I hope it can promote healthy discussion leading to positive changes for equal rights.
Media can be inspiring in all forms, and it can help shape the world we live in. I know in my life different forms of media have always been important. Any media with a message promoting equality is inspirational to me. Every time I hear Pharrell’s song Freedom I feel hope, with many Beyoncé songs I feel empowered, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s song Same Love gives me chills, and every time Mary Lambert sings the hook for this song, I cry.
There are so many TV shows that have influenced and taught me with their messages of inclusion and equality. The Ellen Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and Will & Grace are some of my all time favorites and they were trailblazers for the LGBTQ community. Law & Order: SVU has been around since 1999 always questioning society and highlighting some of its serious issues. Major Crimes often touches on issues of inequality through their cases or their characters. If These Walls Could Talk 2 was definitely an eye opener for me being a young lesbian who had just come out. Blackish lets us delve into major civil rights issues affecting our country right now, and Shonda Rhimes pushes all the boundaries with her shows letting us all know no matter who you are or who you love you are human and you are equal.
With movies, there are so many to name, but I think one that had a large impact on my life was A Time to Kill. When I was a young teen I went with my dad to the premier of A Time to Kill in Canton, Mississippi. I had never seen a movie that focused on such deep and horrific topics. I can say I was changed after that movie. It is still one of my favorites, and I think it has influenced some of my writing.
With all the messages promoting equality in our society over the past few years, there is still a huge presence of those fighting against it, and now it is at the very core of our nation–the current White House. The truth is everyone should be treated equal regardless of their race, religion, or who they love. I strongly believe in what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
About Journey of a Cotton Blossom
Born amid the bigotry of the Deep South, mixed-race Joseph is a slave in all but name. Separated from his mother at birth, he yearns to run away from his loveless home and find her. It’s a journey that will take him from plantation to plantation and hardship to hardship, yielding joy, sorrow, and love along the way. Years later, Joseph’s son, Isaiah, faces his own journey: coming to terms with his homosexuality. But society is still slow to accept change, and Isaiah fears rejection from even those closest to his heart. From 1940s Mississippi to the civil rights era of the 60s and the push for LGBT equality, Journey of a Cotton Blossom follows three generations of a family fighting for liberation. J. C. Villegas paints an eye-opening story that will inspire readers to open their hearts to love. Though her characters face different types of discrimination, they all draw strength from love and from their faith in God. Can Joseph find the mother he has never met? Can Isaiah survive injustice and adversity? And can they each learn to love themselves in the face of a world that challenges their right to exist?
If you have comments for J.C. Villegas, leave them below. Don’t forget to pick up a copy of Journey of a Cotton Blossom, and give the author a follow.
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