Adriene Pickett

Adriene Pickett
Never Forget The Bridge That Crossed You Over

Interviewed by: Lauretta Pierce
June 06, 2003

Q. Who is Adriene Pickett?

A. I am a New Jersey native and author. I love literature. I have been writing fiction for many years and love captivating and inspiring readers through my writing.

Q. What inspired you write such an emotional novel?

A. The idea for this story came to me about ten years ago. I wanted to write a story about a family that was separated and comes together again years later through bizarre circumstances. I sought to write a book about a family that finds its strength in the face of adversity. I wanted to write a book that deals with faith, forgiveness and familial bonds. I also wanted to show the relationships between generations and races. This book covers three generations, from the cotton-picking days and Civil Rights Movement in Georgia, to the present day.

The Walker family is a hardworking, close-knit African-American family. It was inspirational for me to write a book about a family that possesses an unyielding power, which allows them to triumph over any obstacle, however painful it, may be.

Q. How did you come about the title "Never Forget The Bridge That Crossed You Over?"

A. An older cousin in California used this phrase repeatedly especially when referring to her son who made a habit of visiting her for a split second. His short visits upset her because she liked when he stopped over for a long time. She would tell me... "Adriene, you never forget the bridge that crossed you over. You never forget where you came from." She didn't understand that her son didn't have the same maternal qualities that most women have. He was not intentionally trying to be rude or come off as if he didn't care for his mother or had forgotten that it was she who made him the person he is today--that was just a man's way of doing something. He also didn't realize that his mother enjoyed those long visits.

Q. How long did it take you to write this novel?

A. I began writing "Never Forget The Bridge That Crossed You Over" in 1995 and completed it in 2001. I wrote it slowly and gradually, crafting characters and scenes, doing research, and letting my test readers read it and give feedback.

Q. Which was your most favorite part to write?

A. There were several favorite parts to write. I will mention two: The part when after 20 years, Solomon finds Magnolia by way of a smart-ass intern. It gives me chills when I read the scene where a diverse group of employees come together and stand up against Chad. I also loved writing the ending when Ivory finally unites with Magnolia, Hyacinth and Rose in the garden after 38 years. The ending is moving.

Q. Solomon, Lily, Nathaniel and their mother knew about Magnolia and was reluctant to reveal their identity. Was their fear more than their concern for Magnolia's emotional well-being?

A. It was concern for her emotional well-being more than fear. They very much wanted to let her know the truth, but Solomon and his family didn't want to cause Magnolia any more pain and suffering. They believed that as long as they were a part of her life as a dear friend, and she knew that they loved her, then that was important. It wouldn't have been beneficial to reveal their true identities at a time when Magnolia was not emotionally stable. It would have been overwhelming for Magnolia to learn that information.

Q. Do you recognize any of your personality traits in your characters?

A. Many of my personality traits are in all of the characters: male and female. I just don't have Linda's boldness and loud-mouth. Maybe writing her in the book was writing about my alter-ego.

Q. Are you currently working on another novel?

A. I am currently working on two writing projects: a new novel about murder and deceit, and the sequel to "Never Forget The Bridge That Crossed You Over."

Q. What type of atmosphere do you require to write?

A. I typically write at home where it is a quiet and comfortable atmosphere, but I can also go to a restaurant or coffee shop and write where there is a lot of commotion going on.

Q. What message would you like readers to receive from reading "Never Forget The Bridge That Crossed You Over?"

A. Again, I sought to tell a story about an African-American family that finds strength in the face of adversity. I wanted to show readers that all things can be forgiven. I wanted to depict the Walker family's experiences and rich Southern culture, admiration of and commitment to God, strength and togetherness, and determination to persevere despite the hardships.

"Never Forget The Bridge That Crossed You Over" deals with the meaning of faith, forgiveness and familial ties. Now, that the new millennium has arrived and especially since the tragic events of September 11, the idea of kinship and familial bonds will have a special meaning to everyone, young and old. The relationships we have with family are the basis for who we are and where we are bound for in this nation. This novel reveals what people are aspiring toward in this millennium; strong family ties, surviving adversity, and having the passion to forgive our enemies--looking beyond our past misfortunes and moving forward to a healthier and more productive life.