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I’m the oldest of six children and the only girl. Northwest Detroit, at that time a thriving metropolis and desirable address, was my childhood home. I attended parochial schools and loved learning from the very start. A voracious reader, one of my fondest memories is how I kept the hall light burning in hopes of stealing a few extra minutes of reading time each night. When my mom got wise to my tricks and closed my bedroom door, I snuck a flashlight from my dad’s toolbox, kept it hidden under my bed, and replaced the batteries more than once. That single beam came in handy on many late nights with Nancy Drew. I graduated from St. Mary of Redford high school in 1970, I attended Eastern Michigan University. After receiving my degree, I became a Special Education teacher. Early on, I realized that teaching was my new “school”. I have learned so very much from my students and their families about hope in the face of despair, about the hidden talents each of us possess, and about how simple acts of humanity can touch and enrich lives. I have always loved writing, whether composing an educational report, a letter to one of my children, or a simple poem. My initial inspiration to write a novel came while I worked as a Special Education teacher and became involved in a mystery surrounding one of my students. As all writers do, I began playing “what if” and started putting ideas down on paper. The teaching years also included raising five fabulous children. While those days didn’t allow much time for creative writing, they taught me about love, loyalty, and the joy of family. There are now three novels in The Samantha Series: Identity Issues, Intimacy Issues, Internal Issues and Inherited Issues. My reissue of The Wrong Guy hit the shelves in June 2014. Two of Me, a work of women’s fiction, is on my back burner. as well as a work of historical fiction for middle grades titled, Between the Lines, a work of historical fiction for middle grades was released in March 2015. The sequel, Beyond the Lines (Kids Like You Book 2) will be released on March 30, 2016. . I am a happily retired Special Education Teacher Consultant/Writing Teacher, and full-time author/publisher. I live in Michigan in a somewhat tidy empty nest with my husband Don.

Claudia Whitsitt Author

A Reader’s Favorite: BETWEEN THE LINES

Between the Lines tells the story of three girls who become friends during the racially-charged aftermath of the 1967 Detroit Riots. Hattie Percha is crushed when the riots start on her tenth birthday, and when she must move away from her treasured childhood home and friends, attending public school for the first time, she’s afraid her life is over. Then, she meets Beverly Jo Nichols, her first black friend, and Crackers, a fearless tomboy. Despite opposition from Hattie’s mother and a racist teacher, the unlikely friends join forces. As the self-proclaimed Dream Girls, they challenge bigotry and intolerance, willing to do whatever it takes to hold onto what’s most precious to them all, their friendship. 

Author’s Note 

Growing up in Detroit, I was always concerned about differences and wanted life to be fair. I’m not sure if I was born this way or if my upbringing rooted this belief in me, but it didn’t take long for me to learn that life is anything but fair. Still, I made it my personal mission to try and help people settle their differences in an equitable manner, and be kind to everyone, no matter how different they were from me. When the Detroit riots started on my fifteenth birthday, like Hattie, I was devastated. But the riots also cemented this sense of wonder in me. Why couldn’t all people get along? Crackers, Beverly, and I met in college, and when I came to write a novel for my students, I couldn’t think of a better place to begin than with a story inspired by our true friendship, one that has lasted for over forty years. Some people would call me naïve, I suppose, but I firmly believe that with the right education, much like Jane Elliot’s diversity training, we could learn to celebrate differences and live together in peace. I’m sure that my sense of fairness, my fascination with learning more about how all of us negotiate the world, and my desire to make a difference led me to teaching and to the field of special education. Writing Between the Lines was a somewhat selfish endeavor for me. Now I can spend more time back in the classroom, where my heart belongs.