About the Author:
Emily Sue Harvey is a past president of the Southeastern Writer's Association. She has contributed to several volumes in the "Chicken Soup" and "Chocolate for Women" series and has published articles in multiple venues. Her recent publications include, Song of Renewal and Flavors. She is the mother of grown children and lives with her husband in South Carolina.
click here for my full review of Flavors.) I recently had the opportunity to ask Emily Sue about her inspiration for writing not only Flavors, but writing in general. I assure you, you'll find this to be heart-warming and inspirational!
FLAVORS ~ Emily Sue Harvey
Writing is, to me, life. After the death of my eleven-year-old daughter, keeping a daily journal gave me a reason to get up each morning. It helped me face another day. It gave me purpose and focus. It began to heal me. In the end, it literally saved my sanity.
As years passed and grief subsided, my writing moved beyond journal entries to nonfiction stories featured in Chicken Soup, Chocolate for Women, and dozens of other venues. My inspiration was to make a difference in this journey called life. Soon, fiction beckoned and a part of me, dormant for many seasons, began to stir sluggishly within me, slowly resurrecting, as if waking from a long, deep sleep.
Amid life’s difficult times, that childlike part of me had hibernated.
Flavors began when that inner child in me (you have one, too) awoke and popped up sporadically and engaged me by insisting I join her for brief intervals of fanciful flight. She still does, by the way. Engage me, that is. And I simply cannot resist whimsical spins back into lemony sweet, youthful days of innocence and adventure.
And you know what? Those journeys conjure up supreme joy! Who can resist them?
When I had the opportunity to do a novella this year, I immediately seized snippets of ideas from my past written vignettes, both fiction and nonfiction, stirred my imagination to unparalleled abandoned heights, began writing, and Flavors emerged .
I have to admit that this project was so much fun to do that the word “work” never entered my mind. Too, life on my own grandparents’
farm with their passel of kids was such a mixture of adventure, relationship complexities and epiphanies that I could not refrain from using those tangy sweet, unforgettable long ago flavors in the development of Sadie Ann’s story. South Carolina
Sadie Ann’s initiation into adulthood is a crash-course experience that spans one summer in 1950. Life is not always pretty. I write real life, so some of Sadie Ann’s experiences range from infinitely tender, to humiliating, to sometimes brutal. They are always challenging.
Sadie Ann’s nature is tempered by a sometimes startling sensitivity. Underneath that, however, lies a strength of character, an overcomer-zeal, that helps Sadie Ann meet each crisis head on. By defining each milestone and epiphany with flavors, Sadie Ann learns to not only cope but to understand. To mature.
In the same way, in my first published full-length novel, Song of Renewal, I use music and art as defining devices while developing the
’s story. In another soon to be released full-length novel, Homefires, a preacher’s wife’s story is set in seasons of change. Janeece is defined by the way she keeps the homefires burning while Pastor Kirk goes about the Father’s business. It reveals the glass-house existence of the parsonage family, the good, the bad, the ugly, and ultimately, the translucent beauty. Wakefield
Back to Sadie Ann Melton. Aah. I know that girl inside out. You do, too. She’s a composite of all intrinsically curious children who love challenge and meet life head-on. Who learns from her mistakes. Not always quickly nor easily but once she gets it, it takes.
Sadie Ann captivates us with her sheer zest and unflappable spirit. Her gullibility, despite her mishaps, makes us love her. Her aunt, Nellie Jane, is no less appealing. Though nearly a complete opposite of Sadie Ann, Nellie Jane’s vulnerability and wobbly integrity tugs at our hearts, makes us want to rescue her from drudgery and intellectual oppression. We yearn for her the liberty to be a child.
My aim is to inspire readers to never give up. Dark times come and go. If we live long enough, they do come. You can count on it. I avoid, in my books, sugar-coating life. Reality isn’t gilded. And devastation can strike when we least expect it. But within each of us lurks that conquering spirit, that, like in the popular song of past decades, helps us to “pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again.”
The human spirit is amazing and resilient and triumphant. In the end, in all my stories, these brave characters rescue themselves. After all, that’s the only way to be a true over-comer.
Thank you Emily Sue for this wonderful opportunity!