Hamilton Heights and Sugar Hill

As I began to reflect on my old Harlem Neighborhood in Sugar Hill, I started doing research for a nonfiction historical account of its growth over the centuries. After seeing both the theatrical play and the screen version of “Hamilton” it brought up memories of growing up as a teen in Hamilton Heights. The two neighborhoods overlap and intersect.

I started gathering my thoughts, making some notes, writing a few drafts, researching grants and publishers…all with the end goal that I became inspired to write a historical nonfiction book about the beautiful Hamilton Heights and Sugar Hill Neighborhood I called home as a young woman many decades ago.

I am very proud that the book will be released April 2, 2024 as part of Fordham University Press’s “Empire State” imprint. It starts with the Dutch arrival on the island of Mannahata and the land of the Lenape people in the early 1600’s, moving to the Harlem’s incorporation in 1658 and the land divisions in the early 1700’s that created the historic neighborhood. George Washington camped out there in 1776 a very short distance from my old apartment after winning The Battle of Harlem Heights at the start of the American Revolution. Then Alexander Hamilton built The Grange, the only home he ever owned, in 1802. I hope you will take the time to visit the Amazon page to read more and buy a copy. Please visit my booth at The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at USC on April 20-21, 2024.

The South Africa of His Heart

The South Africa of His HeartTHE SOUTH AFRICA OF HIS HEART

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It is 1976, the American Bicentennial and the summer of the Soweto student riots in South Africa. The massacres sparked world awareness of the horrors of apartheid and, many believe, were the catalyst for the eventual fall of apartheid fourteen years later when Nelson Mandela walked out of prison.

A twenty-two year old woman enrolls in a college prep program in Harlem and meets a South African expatriate thirty-plus years her senior. He is there teaching English. Amidst the turmoil of that summer, they fall in love, marry and make plans to move to Nigeria.

Set in New York, the Caribbean, London, South Africa and Los Angeles The South Africa of His Heart is a moving thirty-year memoir about how the circles in life can lead us to astounding places-often by chance. Ms. James shares the true story of the lifelong impact her South African husband made on her life.

What unfolds is a touching, unconventional love story about dedication and a spiritual connection that bridged their physical separations. In a series of fateful discoveries, many years after their last encounter, she uncovers surprising and profound revelations about her first husband.



Our lives are made up of both reflections of what might have been and acceptance of what is, on the steady progression of the years we build with the ones we love, and the fantasies of the ones we wished had loved us more or differently. But then, in between that steady progression of sure and comfortable years, we have days or nights that are made up of magical encounters with beautiful people, encounters that change the course of our lives, and that make up the memories we recall in our last breath.