Showing posts with label Olivia deBelle Byrd. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Olivia deBelle Byrd. Show all posts

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Q&A with author Olivia deBelle Byrd

Q&A Interview with author Olivia deBelle Byrd

I want to thank you for being my guest here on Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer.


When did you become interested in storytelling?

My father and grandmother were great wits and storytellers, so I grew up surrounded by wonderful Southern stories. I have loved the art of storytelling as long as I can remember.

Miss Hildreth Wore Brown: Anecdotes of a Southern BelleWhat inspired you to write Miss Hildreth Wore Brown?

Like all good storytellers, I hate to waste a good story so I repeat my stories-often. Finally in exasperation one day, my husband said, "Why don't you write this stuff down!" So I did. I actually started writing down stories for my children as a Christmas gift. Before I knew it, I had a book!

Are there any stories/tales that did not make it into your book?

An anecdote entitled "English as a Second Language" did not make the cut. The gist is on occasion my husband has been known to confuse the English language. My husband and I were in France on a tour with another couple. The tour guide was putting us onto buses according to our native language. The guide asked us if we spoke English to which our friend quipped, "Three of us do!" That was the morning my husband ordered a croton for breakfast. Imagine his dismay when the waiter served him a plant instead of a croissant! I soon discovered the apple does not fall far from the tree. At Christmas, I asked my son to attend the cantata at church. As we were seated and the singing began, he turned to me and said, "I thought it was a covered dish!"

What types of books do you read?

I love anything Southern-especially Southern humor. I love the Classics. I love English authors. I love historical fiction and a good love story is always a treat.

What well-known writers do you admire most?

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 Flagg can not be beat.

What is the most difficult part of writing?

Writing down oral stories is very difficult. You tend to write like you talk and it often comes out confusing and opaque. There is an art to telling stories and an art to conveying those stories in the written word.

Do you find it hard to balance your writing with your personal life?

This is my first book and marketing a book is extremely time-consuming in addition to finding time to continue writing. When Miss Hildreth Wore Brown came out, the scheduling was a little overwhelming. I decided quickly I wanted this to be a fun experience and am now doing a better job of balancing my writing and personal life.

Do you have any other works in progress?

Though I do have some ideas bouncing around in my head, my main goal right now is marketing Miss Hildreth.

Do you have a bog, website, or links to share?

My website is

You can read an excerpt, see my coming events, email me, and order the book. A new exciting event is my April Blog Tour! You can follow it on my website. I love to interact with my readers, so feel free to email me.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A Romp Through The Deep South by Olivia deBelle Byrd

by Olivia deBelle Byrd

Like all good Southern storytellers, I hate to waste a good story. While repeating one of my tales one too many times my husband said to me with exasperation, “Why don’t you write this stuff down?”
What began as the quest of a husband to keep his wife quiet segued into a collection of Southern stories assembled as a Christmas gift for my children. Thirty-one months and fourteen rejection letters later, Miss Hildreth Wore Brown—Anecdotes of a Southern Belle was published by an independent New York publisher.

Thus was the beginning of Miss Hildreth—a humorous, satirical romp through my Southern life. I like to call it real-life fiction as all the people, places and events are real, but like all good Southern stories exaggeration and embellishment have been added to these real events. Because they are actual occurrences, the reader is drawn into the warmth and familiarity of the characters and their stories. What Southern mother has not threatened her offspring with grits and water for supper if that thank you note does not get written? What quaint Southern town does not have a grand dame who wears turbans and dark sunglasses and calls everyone “dahling” whether they are darling or not? Where else but the South can a mink be mistaken for possum?

Being raised by a Southern father and grandmother of great wit, humor flowed as freely as water from a faucet in our household. More years into adulthood then I am going to reveal, when prodded by my husband’s bid to shush me I put pen to paper and the stories poured forth as though an age-old tap had been discovered and turned on. With hours of sweat, spoonfuls of tenacity, and several strokes of plain good fortune, the amusement and idiosyncrasies that are so unique to the Deep South came to life on the pages of Miss Hildreth Wore Brown. The stories are punctuated with everyday mishaps that Southerners seem to have a knack for turning into entertainment. It turns out Bostonians do not always appreciate being called “ma’am” and New Yorkers can have Southern manners.

My humorous foray through Southern life has led me into a joyous romp through the land of authors and readers. As an old reader and a new writer, it warms the cockles of my Southern heart to know there are so many book lovers in this world. Through books, we become what we dream, we are educated and inspired, we travel into the souls of characters and find ourselves. To be a new author in the presence of so many creative minds has been a gift. To be in the presence of so many lovers and readers of books has been an inspiration. I believe deeply in the written word. Very simply, it gives meaning and beauty to life.

About the author

Olivia deBelle Byrd is a self-proclaimed Southern Belle who resides in Panama City, Florida, with her husband, Tommy. She is the author of Miss Hildreth Wore Brown—Anecdotes of a Southern Belle, which is her first collection of satirical essays.