First there is this from The Writer's Almanac:
It’s the birthday of American writer Frank Yerby (books by this author), born in Augusta, Georgia (1916). He was the first African-American to become a best-selling novelist when his book The Foxes of Harrow (1946) became an international sensation. Yerby’s big break came when an editor at Dial Press urged him to try novels instead of short stories. Over a weekend, he wrote 27 pages of what would be The Foxes of Harrow, about an Irish gambler in pre-Civil War New Orleans. He received a $250.00 advance, and the book was later made into a movie starring Maureen O’Hara and Rex Harrison (1947).
Yerby wrote 33 novels in all, mostly romance and historical fiction, all best-sellers. He once said cheerfully, “I’ve written some very bad books.” About his critics, he shrugged: “Too many of them are failed novelists who don’t know how to read. They should be licensed, like doctors and lawyers.”
Frank Yerby immigrated to Spain in 1955 and never returned to the United States. He’d grown weary of the racial discrimination in the U.S., saying: “I’m glad to have escaped. There’s no hope for racial harmony in the U.S. and never was. America is just the world’s biggest banana republic. It does everything badly.”
About The Foxes of Harrow, he once remarked, “It comprises every romantic cliché in history.” Frank Yerby has sold more than 55 million books worldwide.
And there is this personal postscript:
I've never read anything by Yerby, and I don't plan on doing so, but I do remember seeing the cited movie on television.
So many quotes from Yerby command my attention. I am amused by what he says about critics, cliches, and bad books; however, I do wonder about his perspective on America which he saw as a racist banana republic.
What do you think?