She is the author of the book, Memories of the Sharecropper’s Family: Includes an Ainsworth History.Tell us about yourself.
I am almost 68 years old, and getting introspective or just wanting to make sure my grandchildren and future generations know I occupied a place and made a small difference.
I devoted over 25 years to teaching marvelous students the joys of language and then now 22 years as a marriage and family therapist, some years overlapping.
My husband Charles and I, and our Bitza (term for mixed parentage dog, coined by Clare McIntosh) Lady live a pretty quiet life in rural Mississippi in the sunny and humid South (USA).
I was chaired as a result of a late onset muscular dystrophy, searched for a new purpose as I rolled through life, and have finally settled on writing.
I have been creative, imaginative, loving language for years, but a slow typist.
Several years ago I threw out the clutter of a couple of feet high notebooks and journals I had amassed over the years.
I am a different person now.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Like most of us, I assume, there was that little germ within that kept telling me I could write.
If I didn’t have so many papers to grade, preparations to make, people to entertain—so much busyness and so many excuses!
I wrote during the first ten minutes of class with my students.
I wrote according to prompts from a writing group.
But I did not become author/writer until I quit playing and started writing.
I was hesitant to say that I am a writer, but I am a teller of stories.
What inspired you to become a writer?
Death—the death of a career, the death of independence by new inability to drive, the death of a beloved older brother who had kept the family stories alive through his tales.
For Joe and Mike and Bill and Gene, I started retelling the stories as best as I knew them.
I interviewed siblings to get their memories of our family and our struggles and our celebrations, and our successes in leaving poverty far behind us.
I wanted others to know the richness of our lives.
Do you have a specific writing style?
My writing style is the folksy, storytelling style.
What books have most influenced your life
Books that have influenced me— To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my all-time favorites; Atticus Finch is the fantasy father I wanted.
There have been so many authors that I have loved.
I have read eclectically—literary fiction, thrillers, mysteries, nonfiction, Shakespeare, Milton, Donne, Thomas Grey.
We had few reading materials when I was young, and I read the Bible, Readers’ Digest, and the daily news.
Are your writings based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
If someone reads my memoir/family history and gets to chapter 13, she or he will discover the family Bluebeard murderer that I am writing about in my novel A Taste for Death. So I take real events and flesh them into something new. I am discovering how difficult it is to keep so much information on track. I am thankful that I was reared by a sharecropper so I can depict those Depression-era times of Mississippi farmers who wanted more and were willing to sacrifice to get more.
Unfortunately, this Bluebeard’s’desire led to his willingness to sacrifice family members.
Yet, I am not a dark and foreboding person, so hopefully, there will be a redemptive message.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I reach out for information to other authors and delight in making connections with them. Janet Taylor-Perry has answered so many of my questions about self-publishing and has pushed me toward promotion and marketing; Charlie Spillers needs to belong to this group; his account of years as secret agent in Mississippi and Louisiana are thriller-worthy memoir—he tells a story of two women whose story I want to purloin; he also answers my questions.
Phyllis F. McManus tells a good story, is encouraging, and we have talked on the phone several states apart.
I have found out with my dependencies as the youngest in a family of eight that writers share eagerly.
We all want our voices to be heard.
My college English teacher, Edna Earle Crews, has mentored many writers and has helped me ever since I left her class fifty years ago; she is a poet.
Holly Lisle’s, Janice Hardy’s, Lakin’s websites, thenextbigwriter.com, C. Hope Clark, and my college roommates have also influenced me.
Cassie Select is the author I sought to impress, and she said very nice things about my WIP.
Ian Sutherland has also been kind to answer questions, as well as Wesley Banks.
What book are you reading now?
I have finished Paz Ellis’s book and will soon post a review.
I have waiting for me when I get a certain amount of work done Greg Iles’s new book.
It is purchased, signed, and is a great motivator to catch up to my writing plan. I tend to like memoir, thrillers, romantic suspense, mysteries. I like stories that include horses and dogs. I prefer the elegance of British writers.Other favorites include Anne Perry, Elizabeth George. I do miss the new novels of Dick Francis. I am enjoying those new writers I am discovering here in Mississippi. since starting the blog, I have read Fran McNabb, Janet Taylor-Perry, Darden North, sister therese ailes, John Floyd, NancyKay Sullivan Wessman, Susan Cushman, and others are waiting. I may never have the energy or physical strength to finish my novel; hopefully, I will continue to enjoy books.
If you were not a writer what else would you like to do?
I have traveled some, but if life were more accessible, I would go in an RV to every state, find interesting people, and tell their stories—oops, back to writing again!
Career-wise, I believe God has so ordained and ordered my steps that past background has prepared me to be a writer.
I have sold toys, Tupperware, makeup, encyclopedias, appliances, and furniture.
I have slung food, cafeteria style, and worked a soda fountain and gift shop.
I have worked in libraries.
I worked as a home daycare provider, kindergarten teacher, taught grades 6 through 12.
I have been a college liaison counselor for Job Corps and taught college prep classes.
I have been a social worker, mental health center counselor, case manager for the Baptist Children’s Village.
I have been a public speaker in the area of family life.
Those were my jobs, but my life was working for my family as wife, mother, mother-in-law, daughter, daughter-in-law, and grandmother.
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I found her book “Memories if a Sharecroppers Life” to be so thought provoking about the lives of the people who lived in those times. They really went through hard times in those simpler days. Those life lessons made them of a strong caliber. I learned much of our families history through her eyes and enjoyed seeing their history unfold. The way their lives all spun off from these humble beginnings was very interesting read. I found it interesting how the family members all had deep roots from the way they were raised and how they were fed spiritually to endure and survive. These stories of each family member were so heart warming. I am a niece to Dorothy Day and avidly read her book to learn more about those days and was surprised by lots of the family history. Good read. Looking forward to her next book.! : )