In her first novel, Leaving Atlanta, Jones focused on three fictional children living through the Atlanta child murders case in the late 1970s, an era that Jones, an Atlanta native who was in fifth grade at the time, remembers well. Now a member of the creative writing faculty at the Newark, N.J., campus of Rutgers University, Jones revisits Atlanta in Silver Sparrow. This time her two main characters are sisters, although one doesn't realize the other exists. In June, Silver Sparrow was honored as the Number One Indie Next pick by independent booksellers across the country.
What's on your nightstand?
I was given a galley of We the Animals by Justin Torres. It's going to be out in September. It's tiny, and you can put it in your pocket, but it packs a punch. It's one of those novels that is able to break all the rules, and it's almost like a combination of The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros and The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides. It's such a slim volume, and there are no wasted words
I've read that you greatly admire Toni Morrison. Which of her books do you consider a main inspiration?
The Bluest Eye. She gives a shimmer to humanity. I love her, and even though I am much younger than her, I felt like she was eavesdropping on my childhood.
Piper Castillo, Times staff writer, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.