Welcome to my website—

I’m excited to introduce my new novel, The Empty Cell. It’s about a 1947 lynching, and how it changed the lives of four people in Greenville, South Carolina.

In the wake of the lynching in 1947 of a young Black man named Willie Earle by a mob of cab drivers in Greenville, South Carolina, four people on the periphery of Earle’s life find their lives upended. Lee Trammell, one of twenty-eight cabbies acquitted at trial, is tortured by the idea that not guilty is not the same as innocent, and escapes in the only way he knows how. Alma Stone, who loved Willie when he was a child, loses her religion and flees the South, only to discover that Harlem is not the Promised Land she sought. Lawton Chastain, a closeted gay prosecutor, realizes he must destroy his settled married life if he is ever to have a chance at happiness. Betsy Chastain, on the cusp of adulthood, embarks on a passionate interracial affair that teaches her the power and limits of love and sex.

Against the backdrop of the social and racial strictures of the fifties, each of these characters struggles to find his or her own version of freedom. Each experiences loss, sorrow, and growth as the South begins its long march toward racial equality. Deeply authentic, rich in psychological insight, and eloquently told, The Empty Cell will keep readers immersed in its pages from beginning to end.

Paulette's Books


The Empty Cell by Paulette Bates Alden

A historical-literary novel, The Empty Cell follows four characters whose lives are upended by a lynching and trial in South Carolina in 1947 as they search for their own forms of freedom during the Jim Crow fifties up to the early days of the civil rights movement.

Feeding the Eagles

Feeding the Eagles is about loyalty and honesty, attachment to people and place, love and the inevitable losses of life.

Crossing the Moon

A woman’s struggle to have a child yields a joyful surprise- the birth of a new self.

The Answer to Your Question

After raising her son as a single parent, Inga Daudelin, reserved and steady, has accepted her somewhat lonely, quiet life, until she is blind-sided when her son is accused of the murders of four young women.

Unforgettable: Short Stories

The nine stories in UNFORGETTABLE: SHORT STORIES are about the presence of the past, the power of memory, and the enduring nature of love.

Paulette's Craft Articles

During my years of writing and teaching, I’ve written many pieces about what I’ve learned, especially from other writers, about the art and craft of writing. I hope you’ll find something of interest here.

A Writer Learns about Creative Process from Two Artists: Hopper and O’Keeffe

“So much of every art is an expression of the […]

Examining a Passage from The Goldfinch

I posted earlier on the brilliant, beautiful novel The Goldfinch.  […]

Vivian Gornick on Situation and Story

  In her short book called The Situation and the […]

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