Welcome to the fourth installment of Meet My Writer Friends. Today I want you to meet Talya Tate Boerner.
|Talya Tate Boerner
from Fayetteville, Arkansas
Talya is the person who dragged me into the blogging world. She helped me set up this site and held my hand as I began. She has been patient and kind and is still there when I cry out for help.
She and I met at a Hemingway Pfeiffer Writers’ Retreat. At the end of that week, I remember telling a mutual friend that I felt certain we would to be hearing from her.
Talya is not only talented and motivated, but she also has a winsomeness that draws people to her. Her first book, The Accidental Salvation of Gracie Lee, came out in January has received great reviews nationally and is selling well.
Talya will be signing copies and talking about Gracie Lee at Wordsworth Books here in Little Rock from 3:00 — 4:30, Saturday, April 2, 2016.
I hope you’ll stop by and meet Talya and Gracie Lee. There will be door prizes, favors and refreshments. I’ll be there, watching for you.
The following is a little interview with Talya.
Tell us a little about your novel.
The Accidental Salvation of Gracie Lee is southern fiction set in the 1970s in the Mississippi River Delta of Arkansas. My novel includes many of the characteristics of southern literature beyond the specific setting, including the importance of family dynamics, a sense of social class and justice, the role of the land, and the function of religion. The protagonist, ten-year-old Gracie Lee Abbott, is precocious and mature for her age. She longs for something bigger and grander that the life in front of her. The story follows approximately a year and a half of her life, which begins rather unassumingly and becomes more serious as she becomes involved in a mystery and a family decision.
How did the story evolve?
This book began as a series of blog posts about my life as a child growing up in Northeast Arkansas. It’s true what they say, write what you know. Northeast Arkansas and farming and being a farmer’s daughter is what I know, so my fictional story naturally evolved from truth.
Tell us about your background.
As I said, I grew up in Mississippi County, Arkansas, which is located in the northeast corner of the state. I come from a long line of Arkansas farmers. My mother still farms and lives in the house I grew up in, which I consider rather unique. I love to return home as often as I can and I’m passionate about the Delta.
I attended college at Baylor University in Waco, received a degree in Economics, and ended up in Dallas where I lived and worked as a banker until I moved back to Arkansas about two years ago. Now my husband and I live in Fayetteville.
While I have no formal training in writing, I’ve always loved to write and read. Like many people, I always planned to someday write a book. Finally, the time seemed right to go for it. I began a blog—Grace Grits and Gardening. I gradually developed regular freelance clients including Arkansas Farm Bureau, Delta Crossroads, First Security Bank, and the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute. And I began writing my book.
What’s the significance of the book title? Is it a book about religion?
It isn’t a book about religion per se, but it’s set in the South and, as you know, religion is a strong southern influence—often viewed both as a burden and a reward. Church is part of Gracie Lee’s week. Due to the day-to-day goings on in her family, she often questions the teachings of the church and digs deeper for answers. And while the traditional religious definition of salvation provides a theme for the book, salvation for Gracie Lee comes in various ways.
What do you hope people take away from your story?
If readers remember something from their own childhoods, that would make me happy. I hope to paint a picture of farming in the Delta—the hard work involved, the importance, the all encompassing nature of the lifestyle. I hope people see a little of themselves in Gracie Lee and realize we are all more alike than different.
Where can we buy your book?
Join me at one of my upcoming book signings!
April 2: WordsWorth Books (Little Rock) 3-4:30
April 9: Paper Chase Books (Batesville) 12-2:00
April 10: Barnes & Noble (Jonesboro) 1-3:00
The Accidental Salvation of Gracie Lee is also available at Barnes & Noble stores and select independent bookstores. On-line the book can be ordered via Barnes & Noble or Amazon. Signed limited hardback editions are available through the publisher, Southern Yellow Pine, at southernyellowpine.com.
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