Author Heidi Durrow will be reading from her new novel, “The Girl Who Fell From The Sky,” at Book Passage in Corte Madera on Monday at 7 p.m.
The main character of your book is a biracial girl who grows up in Europe but suddenly finds herself living in a black neighborhood in an American city. Is her experience autobiographical? That part is very much my own experience. When I was 11, we moved to the United States. My dad was an airman and my mother was Danish, so before that, we’d spent most of those years stationed overseas, and we spent our summers in Denmark.
So until you were 11 you had never really considered race? Until I was 11, it’s possible that the only black person I really new was my dad, and then there was the black guy in my fifth-grade class, but that was my whole exposure to it.
And then suddenly you moved into a primarily black neighborhood in Portland, Ore.? Yes. It was a shock to the system, the expectations from the black community and also the majority white community. I just didn’t know the rules around all of that stuff — I didn’t even know there were rules. So it was just a really high learning curve.