Yesterday, I was on the Diane Rhem show discussing Silver Sparrow. I have been a fan of Diane Rhem for years. (A 2003 interview with Maxine Clair on the show helped me figure out how to write the first chapter of The Untelling). So you can imagine how pleased I was to be invited to appear on the program. Diane is a wonderul interviewer. I felt so comfortable, as though I was in her living room. You can tell that she loves books.
The highlight of the program was the second half of the hour when listeners called in. The phone completely lit up as soon as we started talking about secret families, the subject matter of Silver Sparrow. At the start of the show, Diane said to me, “I don’t know anyone in this situation.” I said, “Not that you know of.” And almost as though I had planned it, all of the callers wanted to tell the story of the silver sparrows perching in their family trees.
One woman said that her father had another daughter who was her same age– just like the characters in Silver Sparrow. But the caller’s story contained an interesting twist. She and her sister shared the same name. Another caller from Salt Lake City said that he has three fathers– his biological father, the man who signed his birth certificate, and his step father. Another person told a very complicated story of a set of siblings who are confronted by another set of siblings at the father’s funeral.
Diane said to me: This is most extradorinary. I said, the matter of secret families and unacknowledged children is extraordinary– how can you deny your own children? But the sheer volume of calls shows that this situation is sadly mundane.