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The Last Suppers
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THE LAST SUPPERS: Inspiration for the Novel and the Setting

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message 1: by Mandy (new) - added it

Mandy Mikulencak (mandymikulencak) | 11 comments The first question I’m asked at book events is how I came up with the idea for the novel. It actually started with just a small kernel. A good friend of mine mentioned seeing a website that listed the final words and meals of Texas death row inmates. One inmate asked only for Frosted Flakes and milk. It got us both thinking about the psychology of death row last meal requests, and how memory and loss play a role. From there, my writer brain kicked in. I wondered what would happen if a prison cook became obsessed with preparing meaningful last meals – and what in her past could drive such an obsession. I decided to set the book in 1950s Louisiana because that time period provides a powerful backdrop in terms of social issues like poverty, racism, prisoners’ rights, and the death penalty. People are a product of the times in which they live, so the main characters’ actions, values and moral compass (or lack thereof) reflect the world around them.

Is there a specific time period you like reading about in historical fiction?


message 2: by Cindy (new) - added it

Cindy (cinderlu) | 5 comments Mandy, your book is so interesting to me! My husband is a retired Department of Corrections Lieutenant and there are many good stories!! I’ll be looking forward to the audiobook 🎧💕


message 3: by Martha (new)

Martha Conway | 255 comments Mod
Mandy,
This is fascinating. Did you grow up in Louisiana?


message 4: by Mandy (new) - added it

Mandy Mikulencak (mandymikulencak) | 11 comments Cindy wrote: "Mandy, your book is so interesting to me! My husband is a retired Department of Corrections Lieutenant and there are many good stories!! I’ll be looking forward to the audiobook 🎧💕"

I'm always curious how people in corrections feel about the book! Do let me know if he reads/listens to it.


message 5: by Mandy (new) - added it

Mandy Mikulencak (mandymikulencak) | 11 comments Martha wrote: "Mandy,
This is fascinating. Did you grow up in Louisiana?"


Hi Martha,
No, I was born in Texas and then lived in the DC area before settling in Colorado. BUT, I love Southern voices. My two best friends are from Mississippi and Georgia -- so I hear them in my head when I'm writing. My next book is set in Mississippi. I also wrote a mystery set in Alabama. I love the South!


message 6: by Martha (new)

Martha Conway | 255 comments Mod
Mandy wrote: "No, I was born in Texas and then lived in the DC area before settling in Colorado. BUT, I love Southern voices...."

That's so interesting! Did you go to Louisiana to do research while you were writing the book?


message 7: by Mandy (new) - added it

Mandy Mikulencak (mandymikulencak) | 11 comments Martha wrote: "Mandy wrote: "No, I was born in Texas and then lived in the DC area before settling in Colorado. BUT, I love Southern voices...."

That's so interesting! Did you go to Louisiana to do research whil..."


No, I didn't. The prison there wasn't open to an interview. I used online sources and research from a Louisiana State University professor who studied the state's penal system from the 1800s through the 1960s. So many rich details I could incorporate in the novel.


message 8: by Martha (new)

Martha Conway | 255 comments Mod
I find that it can be almost better sometimes when you have to use your imagination (and reading sources) to create the details ... it makes a writer work a little harder, and perhaps look more consciously for details that might work. At least, that's been my experience.


message 9: by Mary (new)

Mary | 33 comments What a clever way of finding your way into the novel! I look forward to reading this.


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