Several years ago I was in Nashville with the group Midwest Meets Manhattan. We were recording two songs, “She’s On Her Own”, and “Why I Like the Rain.” In the hotel room rehearsing, we talked about how the song “She’s On Her Own” is similar to so many of the women at Homestead, sex trafficking survivors. It reminded me in particular of a girl named Sophie.
The idea for the book came that weekend. I told the guys about Sophie and we tossed around the idea of having sex trafficking as a platform for the new album. Our publisher loved the idea. He suggested a music video. We talked about Sophie on national radio between performing the songs. An idea had taken hold.
Sophie came to visit me shortly after we got home. I played the song “She’s On Her Own” for her and she loved it. Then I played “Why I Like the Rain,” and Sophie cried. It reminded her of Emma. She and co survivor, Emma had played in the rain during their precious time together at the Homestead.
The book’s cover says that I authored it. But the book simply poured out of me. Sophie and I met once a week for an hour or more. She laid on the bed and talked and cried, remembered, and shared her heart and her story. I wrote like a mad woman trying to capture her voice. Sophie has a unique way of saying things that leaves clear pictures in your mind. Her voice is strong in the book.
It took about six months to get it all down then another six months to organize and polish it. I had the chapters and characters all on index cards that were arranged and rearranged then tied together. The story is completely true, only the order is changed to make it a fiction but it is really more of a memoir. The details of one chapter were made up in order to provide foreshadowing and to simplify the actual events. All else is exactly as it happened. Several people read the book and gave input.
The hard decision to self publish was finally made. Because it was Sophie and Emma’s stories, I didn’t want anyone getting their hands in it and changing it. I wanted it to be as pure as possible.
The rest of the album, Midwest Meets Manhattan, goes along with the book. The song, “The Fall”, was written about Sophie’s “come to Jesus” on a jail floor. So many other songs, “Restored,”, “The Place,” “Defining Moment”, even “You and I”, fit with the story. The song “Old Dirt Road” reminds us of the porch at the Homestead and the long gravel driveway up to it.
The book was launched and the album released during the pandemic. Both are struggling with sales but money was never the point. The message of each are the point. Please look up, listen, read, and share the album, Midwest Meets Manhattan, available on Spotify, iTunes, Bandcamp, You Tube and more, and the book, “She’s On Her Own”, available on Amazon kindle and paperback. Every purchase helps the cause. The stories need to be heard, spread, to make the stories, the survivors real. Sex trafficking is not just a cause. It’s very real. Your support of the music and the book make a difference.