Nauman, A.D.


Willa McCoy is a strong-minded teenager who longs to follow in the footsteps of her important father. But the year is 1963, the place is small-town Virginia, and her father is a Klansman. Steeped in racism, Willa believes the Klan is daring and brave—like the father she idolizes. She wants only to rise in his esteem; he wants only to keep everyone in their place. Impatient for her to be more feminine, Willa’s parents send her to babysit for the new minister’s wife, Ruth Swanson, unaware the Swansons have moved from Minnesota to do their part in the budding Civil Rights movement. Soon Willa finds herself at Ruth’s kitchen table with Langston Jones, a smart young Black man. Langston and Willa despise each other, but they both love Ruth, so their paths continue to cross. One evening, Langston reveals a devastating secret that forces Willa to see her father’s true character, and the once-loyal daughter rebels. As she plots to destroy her father’s reputation, she unwittingly sets into motion a series of events that leads to her family’s ruin.


A.D. Nauman is an author and educator in Chicago. Her second novel, Down the Steep, will be released by Regal House Publishing in October 2023. Nauman’s short fiction, appearing in many literary journals, has been recognized in Best American Short Stories and the Pushcart Prize anthology, produced by Stories on Stage, broadcast on NPR, and granted an Illinois Arts Council Literary Award. Her first novel, Scorch, was recently re-released in an ebook StoryBundle. Nauman’s fiction investigates the sociopolitical in the personal, especially the impact of culture on identity, the mechanisms of power in personal relationships, and the challenges of life in a hyper-capitalist society. Now a Midwesterner, Nauman grew up mostly in Tidewater, Virginia.