In October, 2012, I had been a published novelist for less than a month when I attended my very first Southern Festival of the Book in Nashville, Tennessee. There, I was thrilled to meet the talented, brilliant, super-sweet author, Amy Hill Hearth. A few months later, our paths crossed again, as we got to know each other better at the Pulpwood Queen Girlfriend Weekend in Jefferson, Texas.
I admit I was MORE than a little starstruck on both occasions. This was THE Amy Hill Hearth, New York Times bestselling, Peabody Award winning author of one of my all-time favorite books — an oral history of two centenarian sisters from North Carolina called, HAVING OUR SAY: THE DELANY SISTERS’ FIRST 100 YEARS.
The book had spent 113 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list (113 weeks!) But that’s not all. It was also a Washington Post, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, and Publishers Weekly Bestseller. (In other words, it was an out-of-the ballpark homerun!)
In 1995, the book was adapted for the Broadway stage and, in 1999, for an award-winning film. Both productions were produced by Camille O. Cosby. Yep, that Camille, the wife of Bill Cosby. (Not kidding!)
What you must understand is that the Delany sisters’ beautiful memoir had been on my Special Shelf for years, tattered and dog-eared, with phrases underlined and starred. For me, meeting Amy ranked right up there with meeting Johnny Depp. Only better!
But what I remember most about those first interactions was that Amy was a humble, kind, gentle, generous soul who had the sweetest, most supportive husband I had ever seen.
His name was Blair, and their relationship stood out to me as something so dear, so rare, so genuine, that I would catch myself watching them from across the room.
Blair smiled proudly when Amy spoke on her Nashville panel, as if they were the only two people in that space. And in Texas, as they sat with me at dinner, he held her coat and sang her praises throughout the meal. She did the same about him.
Since that time, I have read more of Amy’s books, and I have noticed the common themes of her work across both nonfiction and fiction. In every story, Amy champions those people who have been marginalized in some way (particularly women).
This is why I consider Amy a kindred a spirit, and it’s the main reason I invited her to be my fellow Wednesday Belle here at SBV. Amy aims to give voice to the voiceless, as she did in HAVING OUR SAY.
After making waves as a nonfiction writer for years, Amy’s debut novel, MISS DREAMSVILLE, was a book club pick for Simon & Schuster, a Reader’s Digest “Select Edition,” and the January 2013 selection of Kathy L. Murphy’s international Pulpwood Queens Book Club. Now, after reader demands for MORE, Amy is happily working on a sequel.
I encourage you to read Amy’s official bio – which will blow you away. But for now, we thought we’d share a few Fun Facts.
I am so intrigued by each of these points, I hope Amy will be blogging about the details for weeks to come. Amy, please…I’m dying to know the rest of the story!
Fun facts about Amy Hill Hearth:
- I met my husband-to-be when I interviewed him for a newspaper story I was writing about the hungry and homeless in Volusia County, Florida. (He was running a food bank for the United Methodist Church.)
- I won a flower-arranging contest at age 9 in Columbia, S.C. with a last-second entry. My photo was in the newspaper the next day.
- I am the third generation owner of an antique boat, a 1928 Chris-Craft. I rescued the boat from storage, oversaw a complete restoration, and learned to pilot her myself.
- I am a thirteenth generation American. One of my female ancestors arrived at Sandy Hook, New Jersey via shipwreck in the 1640s and was rescued by Lenni-Lenape Indians.
- I love Boston Terriers, Schnauzers, mutts, and pretty much every canine under the sun. My parents met because of a dog.
- I hosted a tea party at the Delany Sisters’ house for Hillary Rodham Clinton in 1995.
- I belong to a writers’ group called the Sisterhood of Atomic Engineers. None of us are scientists.
- I rescued a boy who was floating face-down in the surf in Daytona Beach, Florida in 1983.
- In 2012 I became a great-aunt which makes me feel old as dirt but proud at the same time.
- I once hit a man with my umbrella at Grand Central Terminal in New York City. (Trust me, he deserved it!)
In the meantime,
Post your answer to our Question of the Day below
AND be sure to include your email address so we can contact the winner.
Your comment will serve as your entry to our exciting drawing. One lucky reader will win a copy of Miss Dreamsville (and because in Louisiana we always like to add a “little something extra” aka Lagniappe, I’ll toss in signed copies of Into the Free and When Mountains Move).
Now…here’s our question.
How did YOU meet the love of your life? And if you haven’t yet done so, what’s your fantasy scenario?
Let’s all enjoy some fun ROMANTIC true-love stories this Valentine’s Season.