Welcome to Writers4Higher
This issue, Writers4Higher features
Olivia deBelle Byrd
Hi, Olivia. Welcome to the Writers4Higher family!
1. Tell me about yourself. Your book(s), your life, your inspiration.
I was born and bred in Panama City, Florida, on the beautiful waters of the Gulf of Mexico in the Florida Panhandle. My grandfather, Wyatt Oates Byrd, moved to Panama City in 1930 from Alabama so I would be called Old South. I graduated from Birmingham-Southern College in Birmingham, Alabama, am a former elementary school teacher, and was a stay-at-home mom for my two children, Tommy Jr. and Elizabeth. My husband, Tommy, and I still reside in Panama City.
Miss Hildreth Wore Brown-Anecdotes of a Southern Belle is my first book. It contains 41 humorous satirical anecdotes of a romp through 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.
The stories are punctuated with everyday mishaps that Southerners seem to have a knack for turning into entertainment. Because they are actual occurrences, the reader is drawn into the warmth and familiarity of the characters and their stories. 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, with her turban and dark sunglasses, who calls everyone "dahling" whether they are darling or not. Miss Hildreth was honored to win the 2011 Florida Publishers Association Awards for Florida Fiction for Adults and Cover Design.
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 grande 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. When I finally put pen to paper, the stories poured forth as though an age-old tap had been discovered and turned on. I loved the gush of warm and euphoric remembrances and seeing those memories transposed into the written word.
Lives have many forks in the road, but becoming a published author was a U-turn in mine. The world of publishing has taken me down many new paths. My readers have been my inspiration. They have made the lost sleep, uncertainty, and long hours’ worth it all. I have made new friends and renewed old friendships. I have found family I never knew existed. Every time a reader tells me they laughed at my words, my soul smiles. I have been in love with the written word as long as I can remember and to use it to bring pleasure to others is the greatest pleasure of all.
2. Where do you see your writing taking you in the future?
My next book is a novel-a sweet, sweet love story. Taking place in the South in the 1960s and '70s against the backdrop of the Vietnam War, it is the love story of Elisabeth Belle Sterling and Kincaid Patterson who search deep within their souls to save each other through their love and devotion. I like to say it is for the love story in all of us.
3. How do you use your talents/time to help others?
My belief system revolves around the Golden Rule-do unto others as you would have them do unto you and love your brother as yourself. My life has been immensely blessed and I believe we are put on this earth to help others who may be struggling or who may not have been as fortunate.
Being a third generation Panama-citian, I am very ensconced in various charities in our community such as the Boys and Girls Club and Early Learning Coalition. On a more personal level, every Christmas my daughter and I adopt a struggling family and supply them with Christmas gifts. We continue to do this even though my daughter is now married and living away. This act always turns out to be a blessing for me and adds value to my life.
Would you like to find Olivia?
Check out the links to this talented author:
Fiction with a Southern Twist