How teaching at-risk youth helped this Los Angeles author write her first novel

Written by
Writer, teacher, activist Cynthia Bond

Cynthia Bond‘s first novel, “Ruby”, was ten years in the making. Life and work and incubation of a story have delayed the completion of many an opus; the fact that “Ruby” tackles racism and brutality must have made it more challenging to write.

Recently published by Hogarth Press, the novel tells the story of Ruby Bell, whose dark past makes her a pariah in her community, and the man who hopes to protect her.

<!-- missing image -->Bond’s journey to publication was tinged with a deeply personal exploration of her own experience with human trafficking.

It was her work teaching writing to at-risk and homeless teenagers that lead her to the themes that are the bedrock of her novel, which began with the seed of an idea in a writing class she herself took.

We invited the former actress and PEN fellow to KCRW to talk about how her day job inspired the book that’s being likened to the work of Toni Morrison, William Faulkner and Alice Walker.

You can read an excerpt here, and here’s our conversation: