Susan Follet Coming to Discuss ‘The Fog Machine’

Susan Follet Coming to Discuss 'The Fog Machine'

Photo submitted by Susan Follet

Swati Rampalli, News Writer

Next week Susan Follet, author of The Fog Machine, will be coming to Eagan High School to talk about her book. Ms. Follet plans to share her journey as a writer.

She is honored to be a part of Black History Month at EHS and is going to help support teachers in Literature Writing II as they learn about contemporary fiction and study the Civil Rights Movement. She is very excited to talk with students who are learning about The Fog Machine.

Ms. Follet states, “The Fog Machine is an exploration of prejudice, set against the backdrop of the Civil Rights Movement from 1954 to 1964, through the eyes of a 12-year old white catholic girl, a young black baptist woman who leaves Mississippi for Chicago, and a Jewish Freedom Summer Volunteer from New York City.”

I wrote The Fog Machine to demonstrate the power of relating as individuals rather than stereotypes.”

— Susan Follet

She hopes the book speaks equally well about issues today. The book is meant to depict the similarities met between the challenging times we live in and the callenges of that time period.

Ms. Follet elabroates,” I wrote The Fog Machine to demonstrate the power of relating as individuals rather than stereotypes. As my main characters Joan Barnes, C.J. Evans, and Zach Bernstein get to know each other on a one-to-one basis, they reconsider their long-held beliefs and consider change.” The story questions what freedom means and the price we have to pay to earn it.

The Fog Machine is centered around the historical tense of The Freedom Summer. Follet states that the novel was born on the idea to answer two important questions; Why didn’t she know her childhood growing up during the Civil Rights Movement and what might have been different if she had known?

The story has evolved to answer the questions of; Where and how is the Civil Rights Movement being taught, what might be different for us all if that answer can be extended, and how can we apply past lessons learned to the struggles we are experiencing?

Follet said she became inspired to write the novel when her roof was ripped from her house when a tornado struck her neighborhood. After many sleepless nights, she saw something she may have never seen otherwise- a documentary about the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery. She was intrigued as unfamiliar history unfolded and she wanted to know more. She claims, ” Though my tornado-damaged house would be relatively easy to restore to its original condition, I would be forever changed.”

Though my tornado-damaged house would be relatively easy to restore to its original condition, I would be forever changed.”

— Susan Follet

All of the 10th graders have read the book, and she is very excited to hear their reactions and have the book raise questions for them. She hopes the relationships in the book will impact them at an emotional level and that they will earn a chance to be exposed to the unfamiliar history.

The main goal of the novel is to see a world worth fighting for and the power everyone has to break the cycle of prejudice.