Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Interview with historical fiction novelist Ardyce Durham

I’m chatting with author Ardyce Durham about her historical fiction novel, Promises, today.

Ardyce Durham lives in South Texas and is retired after spending many years of her life in careers ranging from teacher to big rig truck driver to minimum-wage employee at a plant nursery. 

Even though she’s supposed to be retired, she stays busy working on her ninety-year-old house as a “shade tree” carpenter, plumber, and electrician.

She also tries to keep the yard looking like someone lives there who cares about the way the place looks. 

When someone asks her if she’s retired, she replies, “Not really. I’m self-employed.”
She is a widow with three children, three grandchildren, six dogs, and a cat.

Please tell us about your current release. What inspired you to write this book?
I worked on Promises for the biggest part of 2 years. Stories about my paternal great-grandfather’s participation in the Civil War were passed down from one generation to the next and had been discussed for decades. Family members knew 1)that he and his best friend joined the Confederate Army at the same time; 2) that his best friend died on the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg; 3) that he walked home when the war ended; 4)that he married his best friend’s widow when he returned. Through research into family history, a cousin and I learned that the “rest of the story” was much more interesting than anyone in the family could have imagined. Naturally, a great deal of what is in Promises came from my imagination, but all of those imagined people, places, and events are wrapped around facts.

By clicking on “Look Inside” on Amazon, you can read the first 10 chapters of Promises.

What exciting story are you working on next?
At the moment, I’m not working on a story, exciting or otherwise. I have several ideas rolling around in the back of my mind but haven’t been able to string anything together that makes sense. Perhaps it’s a simple case of writer’s block. If so, I’m sure I’ll get over it, hopefully sooner rather than later. I have notes that I occasionally look over for inspiration.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I was a freshman in college, our English professor gave us an assignment to write a short autobiography. I received an A on mine and have always remembered what the professor wrote in the margin: You have great potential as a writer. That’s when I realized I could write well and have spent the rest of my life saying that someday I would write a book. Finally, here I am.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
No, I don’t write full-time. I’m not sure I write part-time either. I write whenever an idea presents itself. As a retiree, I do what I want, when I want. Most of my writing is done at night because there’s usually nothing on the TV that’s worth watching. I keep notes on a word document that I keep handy on my computer’s desktop. I add ideas to that document almost every day.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I don’t know if it’s a quirk or not but people who have read any of my writings always compliment me on how easy it is to read my work. They say it’s as if I’m right there, talking to them. I think it may be because of my use of contractions. Rarely do I write anything of any length that doesn’t contain contractions. No one thinks or talks without using contractions.  

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I think about it, I don’t think I ever pictured myself growing up! I was the consummate tomboy and to this day would rather be outside working on something and getting dirty than be inside. I know what I didn’t want to be. I didn’t want to be a teacher. Ultimately, I spent almost 40 years of my adult life in education at one level or another. So much for what I didn’t want to be.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I want my readers to take their time when reading Promises. A great deal of colloquial dialogue is used in it. Anyone who is not familiar with the characters’ dialect will have issues with the conversations between them. If a reader tries to read the conversations too fast, much of it won’t make sense. The reader needs to put him/herself in the shoes of the person talking and listen to what they are saying.


Thank you for being here today, Ardyce!

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