Be glad in the Lord and rejoice! Psalm 32:11

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Five Questions With ... Oliva deBelle Byrd, author of "Miss Hildreth Wore Brown: Anecdotes of a Southern Belle"

Today, I am so pleased to introduce you to a lovely Southern author, Olivia deBelle Byrd, author of the charming "Miss Hildreth Wore Brown: Anecdotes of a Southern Belle."

Olivia was kind enough to take time to answer a few questions about her writing and upcoming projects.

  1. At what age did you know that you wanted to be a writer? 
As a child, I was a voracious reader and loved to write. One of my earliest memories is my grandmother, who was very instrumental in my life, teaching me to write thank you notes! I loved the art of letter writing and still write personal notes as often as possible.
  1. What three important facts do you want readers to know about your new book?
I started writing down stories for my grown children for a Christmas gift and it ended up a published book.
Miss Hildreth is a very fun, light book that you can read in a few hours-a perfect "pick-me-up."
I will let some of my clever readers speak for themselves:
"Erma Bombeck and Lewis Grizzard all rolled into one delightfully hilarious book of Southern Comfort."

"Just sit back with a cup of tea and this book and I swear when you're done you will almost smell the magnolias."

"The Short of It: If you don't have any Southern friends, you'll want some after reading this book."
  1. Who are some of your favorite authors? Who inspires you?
My most loved book is A Tale of Two Cities-I love all of Charles Dickens' works. My other favorite English author is Daphne du Maurier. William Faulkner, Taylor Caldwell, and John Steinbeck are all favorites. Pat Conroy is my favorite modern day author. 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 descriptions. You can sense and feel his settings and his characters become a part of you. Anne Rivers Siddons has especially strong women characters. As a Southern humorist, Fannie Flag can not be beat.
In writing this first book, Miss Hildreth Wore Brown, I wrote what I knew-humor and the South. Since I was raised by a Southern father and grandmother of uncommon wit, the fabric of my childhood was laced with humor. I grew up surrounded by marvelous tales of Southern grand dames and eccentric Southern gentlemen. Humor was a staple in our household. I have loved the art of storytelling as long as I can remember.
  1. What do you have coming up in the future?
Though I do have some ideas bouncing around in my head, my main goal right now is marketing Miss Hildreth.
  1. What advice would you have for anyone wanting to break into writing today?
There are no shortcuts and no replacement for hard work and discipline. Read everything you can about publishing as the publishing business is extremely tough and competitive. Grow a thick skin and develop tenacity. Get some honest opinions from favorite writers and listen to them. If you believe in your writing, do not give up.

About The Book:

While Olivia deBelle Byrd was repeating one of her many Southern stories for the umpteenth time, her long-suffering husband looked at her with glazed over eyes and said, “Why don’t you write this stuff down?” Thus was born Miss Hildreth Wore Brown—Anecdotes of a Southern Belle. If the genesis for a book is to shut your wife up, I guess that’s as good as any.

    On top of that, Olivia’s mother had burdened her with one of those Southern middle names kids love to make fun. To see “deBelle” printed on the front of a book seemed vindication for all the childhood teasing. 
    With storytelling written in the finest Southern tradition from the soap operas of Chandler Street in the quaint town of Gainesville, Georgia, to a country store on the Alabama state line, Olivia deBelle Byrd delves with wit and amusement into the world of the Deep South with all its unique idiosyncrasies and colloquialisms.
    The characters who dance across the pages range from Great-Aunt Lottie Mae, who is as “old-fashioned and opinionated as the day is long,” to Mrs. Brewton, who calls everyone “dahling” whether they are darling or not, to Isabella with her penchant for mint juleps and drama.

    Humorous anecdotes from a Christmas coffee, where one can converse with a lady who has Christmas trees with blinking lights dangling from her ears, to Sunday church, where a mink coat is mistaken for possum, will delight Southerners and baffle many a non-Southerner. There is the proverbial Southern beauty pageant, where even a six-month-old can win a tiara, to a funeral faux pas of the iron clad Southern rule—one never wears white after Labor Day and, dear gussy, most certainly not to a funeral.
    Miss Hildreth Wore Brown—Anecdotes of a Southern Belle is guaranteed to provide an afternoon of laugh-out-loud reading and hilarious enjoyment.
For more information on Olivia deBelle Byrd, check out her website at http://www.oliviadebellebyrd.com/
 My thanks to Olivia for taking part in "Five Questions With," and for the review copy of her book. I was not compensated for my opinion.

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