E. Ethelbert Miller asks: "Many novelists often claim their fiction is not autobiographical; yet reading about Mama Pearl and Amy one wonders if the inspiration for the creation of these characters didn't come from your mother, wife and aunts. Is this possible? How does an author, turn a real person into fiction and then create something fictional that seems real?"
Dr. King's only northern campaign in Chicago began in 1966, the year I was a senior at Evanston Township High School. Although all my energies were focused on graduation, I remember well the turmoil created by this campaign, which is seldom written about or discussed---certainly not to the same degree as his more successful ones in Montgomery and Birmingham. When writing Dreamer, I covered in that novel the years 1966 to 1968 for a couple of reasons. (1) Because the last few years of King's life before his assassination in Memphis, the years after his major triumphs and the Nobel Peace Prize, highlight the complexities of his approach to the black liberation struggle as well as his transition from being a civil rights leader to an international advocate for peace and a champion of the poor. And (2) Because the site of this campaign, Chicago and its environs, is a geography I knew well. I was born, raised, married, and worked there as a young journalist on The Chicago Tribune, and my first book was published in that city.