Friday, May 8, 2015

"To Win Her Favor" by Tamera Alexander is almost here!

There are some things that I absolutely love about book blogging. (Ok, there are many things!)

One of my favorite is when I have the opportunity to connect with an author and other bloggers in the community and highlight wonderful books.

Tamera Alexander has a new book, "To Win Her Favor" that will be released on TUESDAY, May 12th.  My review will be up soon!

To tide me over until I finish the book, here is an interview that was shared with me (and I was given permission to share it with you).

Q: To Win Her Favor is the second in your Belle Meade Plantation series. Can you tell us where the story picks up in the series? Is it directly connected to the first book?

Each of the Belle Meade Plantation novels are standalone novels, so each tells a complete story. However, you might just catch a glimpse <wink> of Ridley and Olivia from To Whisper Her Name in To Win Her Favor (releasing May 12, 2015). But Cullen and Maggies story definitely takes center stage in To Win Her Favor, the second of three novels in the Belle Meade Plantation series.

Coming in July is a Belle Meade Plantation novellaTo Mend a Dream. To Mend a Dream continues the story of a secondary character we meet in To Win Her Favor, Savannah Darby. Savannah is Maggies closest friend and while we learn about Savannahs struggles in To Win Her Favor, the culmination of her story is told in To Mend a Dream, a novella in a Southern novella collection entitled, Among the Fair Magnolias (written with authors Shelley Shepard Gray, Dorothy Love, and Elizabeth Musser).

You are a resident of Nashville, which is a city rich with culture and history. Is this why you chose to set your series there?

Ive always had a love of history. Southern history, specifically. Being from Atlanta, I grew up around antebellum homes, so when I was in Nashville on a business trip in 2004 with my daughter, we toured the Belmont Mansion, and I knew then I wanted to someday write about Belmonts fascinating history (A Lasting Impression and A Beauty So Rare). Likewise, when I learned about Belle Meades thoroughbred legacy, the ideas started coming (for To Whisper Her Name and To Win Her Favor). Im honored to write about these two Nashville estates and their real history. It never gets old for me.

How many times did you visit the actual Belle Meade Plantation while writing this book?

Oh gracious, Ive lost count how many times Ive been out there (Belle Meade is only 25 minutes from my house). Just two weeks ago, I met a book club of about 30 women at Belle Meade. They were from Alabama, having a girls weekend out! After they toured the mansion, we walked down to the old Harding cabin, one of my favorite places at Belle Meade, and where Belle Meade all began. No visit to Belle Meade is complete for me without stopping by that cabin. It has such a presence about it.

Im grateful to Belle Meades director, Alton Kelley (a descendant of the Harding family who owned Belle Meade in the 1800s) and to Jenny Lamb (Belle Meade Educational Director) for opening up the family files, letters, and artifacts to me. I couldnt write these books with such historical detail about the house, the family members, and the servants without Belle Meades assistance.

How much of the novel is based on actual events and how much is from your imagination?

The backdrop of the novelNashvilles history, the Belle Meade mansion, outbuildings of the estate, the family members, and most of the servants at Belle Meadeare from history. I often take documented historical eventssuch as parties, horse races, or catastrophic occurrencesand weave them into the fabric of my stories. Then I intertwine a fictional story that follows the journey of a male and female protagonist within that story world. In To Win Her Favor, thats Cullen McGrath and Maggie Linden.

The basis for Cullens character is founded in the history of Irishmen who came to Nashville in the 1850-70s, and who faced very real prejudice from Nashville residents. Likewise, Maggies character was inspired by accounts of women who were formerly landed gentry (from wealthy families who were major land owners) but who lost everything following the war and the changes that conflict brought. The rest of the details are filled in by asking myself the question writers constantly ask themselves, "What if"

How was this book different from other projects you have worked on?

To Win Her Favor is definitely one of the more passionate stories Ive written, and I dont mean that solely in a romantic sense. From the start, this story was simply more evocative because it delves into the intimacies of a marriage of convenience, and also explores prejudice within a marriagein addition to examining the prejudices between former slave owners and former slaves. Passions run high between the characters in To Win Her Favor. Everyone was learning how to be with each other in that time period, learning where the new boundaries were, where everyone fit.

As I read and researched for To Win Her Favor, I often found my own emotions stirred by real events that occurred in Nashville during Reconstruction. At times, the accounts were repugnant and heartbreaking. Yet at others, they were remarkably soul stirring with fresh whispers of hope.

View vignettes filmed on location at Belle Meade Plantation, the setting of To Whisper Her Name and To Win Her Favor, on the Belle Meade Plantation novels page on Tameras website.






No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for commenting. Each and every one is read and appreciated.
Have a wonderful day.