In 1992, the year Bootlegger’s Daughter was first published, I hosted a tea for women who were running for office that year. Among the candidates who came was Elaine Marshall, who hoped to work for us in the North Carolina Senate. I was immediately drawn by her down-home, no-nonsense frankness and her wonderful laugh, and I was proud to support her when she ran for NC Secretary of State four years later. Readers may recall how Deborah, in some of the early books, frequently mentioned Elaine Marshall’s campaign against race car icon Richard Petty, who always referred to her as “that little lady from Lillington.” I myself revered his prowess as a canny racer but not as a potential Secretary of State. (He seemed unsure of what the office entailed but was confident that it wouldn’t take more than three days a week so that he could continue promoting a certain brand of motor oil.)
Elaine was the first woman to be elected to a statewide executive office in NC history and she immediately set about preparing her new department for the 21st century. She has won national recognition for introducing e-commerce and for providing online registration for lobbyists and businesses. The list of her responsibilities is too long to detail here (see http://www.secretary.state.nc.us/international/faq.aspx if you’re interested) but one of her jobs is to act as a point of contact for international visitors and other governmental agencies on non-commercial matters.
These two pictures show her in front of the bookshelves at the American Resource Center, a project of the United States Embassy in Chisinau, Moldova. As Elaine wrote me when I asked for pictures, “My purpose on this trip was leadership development for women, and while there, I recommended your books as new editions to the library. They were particularly interested in material set in North Carolina by North Carolina female writers. I pointed out that your Colleton County was very similar to my home territory, and Deborah Knott's experiences were very similar to my political and legal experiences.”
Moldova? Deborah and I are both very honored by that recommendation.