Wanda M. Morris is the author of the novel Anywhere You Run. It is a gripping and suspense-filled story of the murder of a White man in Jim Crow Mississippi that compels two Black sisters to run away to different parts of the country to escape the secrets they left behind.
Morris spoke with rolling out about her inspiration for the book.
What inspired you to create this book?
After I had finished my first book, All Her Little Secrets, I was looking for an idea to write about, and the country had just gone through the 2020 election. We had just gone through … the Big Lie and election fraud. I thought it would be pretty cool to write about that but I couldn’t figure out a contemporary angle. So I decided to go back to look forward. By that I mean I started to research the genesis of voting rights for Blacks in this country, which really started with the Voting Rights Act of 1965. As I started to do more research and looked into some of the work that [Freedom Riders] Medgar Evers was doing for Black Mississippians, and, I decided to go back a year before that to 1964. I had this character rambling around in my head, and I thought it would be pretty cool to write about her during this time period.
You touch on things such as racial injustice, class structures, and feminism. How was it processing those things while writing this book?
It felt surprisingly very familiar if that makes any sense. Unfortunately, when I started writing this book, the Roe vs. Wade decision, which was overturned recently by the Supreme Court, had not been decided.
I finished up the book back in the spring, and then that decision came down. I thought to myself that this is insane, because I have a daughter who’s in her 20s, and right now, she has less rights than I had when I was her age, if that makes any sense. When I was in my 20s, I had more rights than she has today. As I was writing this book, I kind of had similar experiences.
There’s a scene in the book that deals with police brutality. That’s what’s happening today. There’s a scene in the book that deals with a woman and her issues around her father and his problem with her being a gay woman. Even though these issues have taken place nearly 60 years ago, we’re still grappling with the same issues and insanity. My hope is that when people read this book, they take away that we’ve got to hit these issues head on, and nobody is going to hand us anything. In fact, the rights that we fought so hard for are starting to be whittled away.