The Making of SINS OF INNOCENCE By Jean Stone
The year was 1968, a turbulent, confusing year of assassinations, flower power, Vietnam. The times indeed, were changing, but one thing remained constant: love.
In 1968, when a teenage girl got pregnant her choices were limited. She could quickly get married (and hope no one could do the math), search for a back-alley abortionist, or she could have her baby in secret and “give it up” for adoption.
SINS OF INNOCENCE is the story of four very different teenage girls who meet in 1968 at a Home for Unwed Mothers. While coping with their individual lives and the common shame of their situation, they form a reluctant, unexpected bond.
Twenty-five years later, they set a date to reunite with each other – and with the “babies” they had given up.
While the characters are fictitious, they are based on a compilation of girls I either knew or had heard about. As one reader expressed, “If it didn’t happen to us, it happened to someone we knew—a friend, a cousin, a sister.”
When I was in college, a friend of mine got pregnant and was sent to a “Home” in Boston—a rigid Catholic place that was run by nuns as a sort of prison for wayward girls. My friend told me about it when she returned to college. I remember thinking it could make a wonderful premise for a novel.
The next year, I was in the same predicament. I was fortunate, however, and was sent to live with family friends out of state. My situation was so hush-hush that even my sister was not told. When my baby, a boy, was born, I was not allowed to hold him. I was not allowed to see him. Twenty-five years later, the emotional hurt had faded but still lingered. I wondered – not for the first time – what it would be like to meet him.
And so, a book was born.
Today, I have reunited with the baby I gave up, as has my friend from college. We are both fortunate and grateful that these wonderful, compassionate adults have welcomed us into their lives.
Not every story has ended so well.
SINS OF INNOCENCE reflects a small part of the history of the times that needed to be changed. I hope you will find that through the innocence of my characters – Jess, Susan, P.J., and Ginny – the story captures the heartbreak, friendship, and love of a painful, judgmental era that, thankfully, has passed.
About the Author:
JEAN STONE ran her own award-winning advertising agency for fifteen years before becoming a full-time writer.