Friday, September 3, 2010

Author Interview: Olivia deBelle Byrd

Olivia deBelle Byrd was kind enough to do a small Q & A with me about her book Miss Hildreth Wore Brown and some other amusing things.  I had the pleasure of reading her book this week and I can't recommend it highly enough! It is funny and just an all around good read to wrap up your summer.

Let's welcome Olivia to the blog!

1. Was writing something you've always wanted to do? Did you get a lot of support from your family when you started writing Miss Hildreth?

Olivia will be at the Decatur Book Festival for the weekend. Her panel is Sunday afternoon. She will also be in Canton, Georgia on Saturday at Yawn's Book Store. Stop in to meet her if you get the chance and try to grab a copy of Miss Hildreth Wore Brown!

I have always loved to write. Even in elementary school, I was a prolific letter writer. I actually started writing these stories down to give to my children as a Christmas gift. Once I started, I could not stop and I realized this could be a fun book.

My family was very instrumental in the writing of this book. I distinctly remember the day I read the first story to my daughter and husband. They had these amazed looks on their faces and said, "Mom/Honey, that is really good!" My husband has been unwavering in his support and I think is quite proud of me. My daughter was my first reader, editor, and biggest cheerleader. My son did my entire web site.

2. Why did you choose Miss Hildreth as the title?

The title story is one of those great funeral stories all Southerners have. I needed a really good Southern name. My grandmother was from Enterprise, Alabama, where there must be hundreds of Hildreths. She talked about them while I was growing up and that name just seemed so perfect.

3. Who is your favorite "real life" southern belle? and who is your favorite "literary" southern belle.

Vivian Moore was my neighbor who lived to be 94. I have never met a more beautiful or charming Southern Belle. She was vivacious, witty, and a great conversationalist. There is a wonderful story in the book that she often told on herself.

I have two favorite literary Southern Belles and they are antitheses, Melanie Hamilton and Scarlett O'Hara. I love the quiet strength and dignity of Melanie and the bold strength and charm of Scarlett.

4. Who is your favorite southern author?
Pat Conroy. The Prince of Tides is one of my favorite books. I have read and loved all of Pat Conroy's books. He is a master of words and description. You can sense and feel his settings and his characters become a part of you.

5. How does it feel to have your writing compared to Fannie Flagg?
Fannie Flagg has to be one of the most clever of Southern writers. Is there anything better than Fried Green Tomatoes?" It is an honor.

6. What is next for you?
My focus right now is getting Miss Hildreth Wears Brown "out there." I am doing book festivals and signings throughout the southeast.


Kelli (I'd So Rather Be Reading) said...

Great interview! I enjoyed learning more about this author. Do you know, she sent me one of the nicest thank-you notes I've ever received after I read and reviewed her book? I was so impressed!

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