Isaac Granger, the protagonist of my historical novel, "A Partial Sun," was the son of George (often known as "Great George) and Ursula (also known as "Queen) Granger. They and their three sons were prominent among the enslaved families of Thomas Jefferson's Monticello. I often hoped that someday I might be able to meet descendants of the Granger family, since the protagonist of my novel is Isaac Granger.
Finally, I did meet two descendants, on Saturday, November 9th, at the New Dominion Bookshop in Charlottesville, Virginia. Just as I was heading up the stairs for my presentation and reading of "A Partial Sun," I saw a well-dressed African-American gentleman with a shoulder bag standing off to the side. I asked if he had come to hear the presentation and he said no, "I've come to meet the author." I was floored, and then identified myself as the author. He told me that he had read my book and "had lots of questions." This gentleman, as you may have guessed by now, was a Granger family descendant. Not only was he impressed with my book, but he had printed out for me a listing of George Granger's descendants, and a listing of the descendants of Bagwell Granger, Isaac's younger brother. After the presentation, Calvin, and Delores--another Granger descendant who showed me a picture of her father on her phone--joined me for a picture together. Meeting Calvin and Dolores made Isaac--the character I had spent six years writing about--more actual to me, more present, more authentic. And a character to whom I felt a great responsibility.