Since 1997, you’ve been coming to BarnesandNoble.com to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, BN.com is growing and changing. We've said goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.

Reply
New User
EDC_Creations
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎10-07-2009
0 Kudos

Author Interview-Martha A. Taylor

EDC Creations' Interview with new author Martha A. Taylor


Intimate Conversation with author Martha A. Taylor and Ella Curry, Black Pearls publisher

Ella: Answer this for us: Why am I powerful?
I am powerful because I never once accepted there were things in this world I could not overcome; I could not conquer; I could not embrace.

Ella: Please introduce us to your book, In the Land of Cotton.
As a child growing up in Memphis I could not have known that the Boyd family, the main characters in In the Land of Cotton, would have such a haunting effect on me. Last fall, their indelible personas became overwhelming. They were all I could think about. I sat down one afternoon and the book began to flow to paper. I still had vivid memories of Cypress Grove, a primitive farm the Boyd family had lived on since the days of the Civil War. They had no electricity, no running water and certainly no refrigeration yet they wanted for nothing. It was a step back in time but, as a child, I wanted to be part of that. As the reader journeys through the 1960's, they travel along side the Boyd family as they experience the historic events of that decade. You will find as a reader that you will become immediately vested in the characters. The Boyds have the voice for every Black American that lived through those turbulent times.

SLAVERY IS MORE THAN CHAINS AND SHACKLES
SLAVERY IS A STATE OF MIND


Immerse yourself in this highly anticipated political docu-drama set in the Deep South amidst the backdrop of the Civil Rights Movement. Martha was a young white girl living in the Deep South, inundated with the racist sentiments of the times. But Martha's natural curiosity and generous heart led her to question this racial divide. When she discovered a primitive Negro family living deep in the woods near her house, everyone's life changed forever.  Take the journey of a lifetime alongside Martha as she forges relationships that lead to self discovery and a clearer understanding of the world around her. In the Land of Cotton provides an outstanding snapshot of life in the South during those troubled times - a snapshot everyone should take a close look at, regardless of era or color. The year was 1956.

 In The Land of Cotton is beautifully written. Martha A. Taylor successfully captures the essence of the era: racial tensions, war, space exploration, poverty, families transitioning North, riots, John F. Kennedy's  impact of America and Martin Luther King's vision. The reader is transported back in time. Many may think the late 50's and early 60's were a time of innocence, but was it really and for who?  In The Land of Cotton is a story of  deep seated emotions, strong relationships, personal growth, and most of all  love.

Hello Martha!  It is such a pleasure to have you on The Black Authors Network author's tour. The Give the Gift of Knowledge tour is used to expand the variety of books that our readers receive each month. Your book is a welcomed edition. Tell us a little about you and your passion for writing.
MAT:  I am a sixty year old grandmother of four. My writing career, until the last few years, has been one of those “don’t quit your day job arrangements”. I am a  tax professional who discovered early on that my creative writing skills came in handy when writing client letters to the IRS.  My passion for writing becomes evident in my books. It is a blessed opportunity to give birth to a character and watch them grow throughout the development of the story.

Ella: Introduce  us to the story behind  the book, In the Land of Cotton:

MAT: As a child growing up in Memphis I could not have known that the Boyd family, the main characters in In the Land of Cotton, would have such a haunting effect on me. Last fall, their indelible personas became overwhelming. They were all I could think about. I sat down one afternoon and the book began to flow to paper. I still had vivid memories of Cypress Grove, a primitive farm the Boyd family had lived on since the days of the Civil War. They had no electricity, no running water and certainly no refrigeration yet they wanted for nothing. It was a step back in time but, as a child, I wanted to be part of that. As the reader journeys through the 1960's, they travel along side the Boyd family as they experience the historic events of that decade. You will find as a reader that you will become immediately vested in the characters. The Boyd's have the voice for every Black American that lived through those turbulent times.



We would like to explore some of the Intimate moments in the book. Read on as Martha takes us inside.


Ella: Martha, in your own words, tell us why this book was meant to be written.
MAT: In the Land of Cotton is a provocative and emotional chronicle of a young, inquisitive white girl coming of age in the color divided South of the fifties and sixties. My story places you smack dab in the middle of the Civil Rights Movement. It’s a heart-felt journey through American history that weaves a tale of forbidden friendships, misconceptions and human nature… human nature at its best and worst. 

 

After all of these years I suddenly became compelled to write the story of Silas and his family. I wanted this new generation to know that it hasn’t been that long since black families lived in seclusion with no electricity…no running water or sanitation…no telephones or refrigeration. My heart is always in my words as I define that sole-mates are forever and true love..really is colorblind.  I wanted to remind the people of my generation of how long this journey has been; and to the younger generations, I wanted to present a time capsule of events so they would never forget the anguish, fear and tremendous sacrifices of their ancestors. In light of this year’s Presidential Election, In the Land of Cotton defines a beacon of hope for any individual, who has ever felt different or longed for more out of life.

Ella: Beside Lucy, the part-time maid for the family,  what made you so drawn to the woods?
MAT:  It was the “not knowing”. It was the excitement of going somewhere no white person had ever been. It was the wanting to belong to something bigger than myself.
 
(Snippet From Cotton) Not smoke like the woods was on fire but smoke like came out of a fireplace; soft, mesmerizing smoke that called you to come explore the woods, smoke that carried your imagination and made promises of a different life, far far away from the one you were living.
 
Ella: When did you know you were in love with Silas your childhood friend?
MAT: One evening after Silas walked me back to the “white neighborhood.” We were always terrified someone would see us. It would have been tragic. Silas, who was an African American male, could have been killed but, we always took the chance.
 
(Snippet  From Cotton) I stood there holding my bike like some anchor that tethered me to the ground I was standing on. I watched Silas until he completely disappeared into the woods then waited a few more minutes after that, in case he returned.
 
 Ella: At the peek of the Civil Rights Movement when did you realize there still remained tension between the North and the South?
MAT:  When martial law became the order of the day. When southern Governors stood chained to university doorways. When buses were bombed and almost daily we heard about some southern Black school that had been burned.
 
(Snippet  From Cotton) Martial law was declared in the South. Robert Kennedy, the Attorney General got involved and once again, Walter Cronkite had a television camera in every nook and cranny, capturing every slur and clubbing. For days he regurgitated the entire travesty right into our living rooms. The majority of country was enraged but here in the south, it was just another day in Dixie.
 
Ella: Did Silas share your feelings and deep emotional bond?
MAT:  Silas always appreciated the unspoken line in the sand. Inter-racial marriages were against the law in most states and prejudice ran high. “The Dream” was spoken of often by everyone; trouble was it was totally out of everyone’s reach and we all knew it.
 
(Snippet  From Cotton) We finished our picnic with small talk about his daily routine and the friends he’d met. Even Silas used color as a first descriptor. We were a long way from Martin Luther King’s dream. We were certainly a long way from mine.
 
Ella: Was there a sense that time was short for you and the Boyds? Did you feel complete racial equality would ever be realized
?
MAT:  The country had come so far in such a short period of time I knew we had reached the point of no return. Civil Rights and racial equality were marching through the streets of the South. At the same time, I felt it would be generations before racial equality would become the way of life.
 
(Snippet  From Cotton) I thought about what Lucy had said about poverty being generational. I thought the advancement of civil rights would most probably be generational also. I thought that the Wallace’s (Governor of Alabama) of the world would eventually die off and each generation that followed would be raised to be less prejudice. I thought surely at some point all the seedlings that had been planted would eventually grow into strong trees and under their branches we would all live in harmony. I hoped that would be in Silas and my lifetime.
 

Ella: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
Ultimately, if you lived through the 60's, I want you to revisit all the history that decade produced. If you weren't alive in the 60's, you need to learn about that decade from someone who had a ringside seat.

Ella: What is the most surprising thing you have learned in creating books?
The most important thing I have learned from writing books is that its not just words on a page. It becomes a creation from your heart. With my first book I discovered it could be a very personal journey that you shared with only your readers.

Ella: What advice would you give another new writer?
There are so many things I would share with a new writer but these are my top three.

#1- Pick a topic you know well or that you have enough interest in to do the research. Most new writers write on subjects that are mostly autobiographical in nature. There's a reason for that.

#2-Don't write and rewrite your work. Complete it, start to finish, then go back through it with fresh eyes. You won't loose your chain of thought and you won't loose your momentum. This tip will really improve the flow of your work.

#3- You have to be true to your characters- even the ones you do not like. Your readers have to be able to relate to them on some level. You want someone to be able to “see” your characters and think, “Yeah, I know someone like that.”

Ella: What can we expect from you in the future?
I am very committed to the Boyd’s story and bringing the various family stories to life. The next book, Dixie, will begin right before the Civil War and end at 1900. I can hardly to see how the historical events of those years will unfold and how they will effect the Boyds.

Martha A. Taylor, Author, "In the Land of Cotton"
Email: Taylortsg@Aol.com

 




Praise for In the Land of Cotton by Martha A. Taylor


Racism from the perspective of an innocent white girl who learns firsthand how absurd it is. 
Book Review by cashbacher@yahoo.com (TOP 50 REVIEWER, Amazon)


The innocence of youth is a beautiful thing, it is refreshing to witness and gives the world so much, except when it is a young white girl being exposed to a poor black family in the southern United States in the 1950's. In that context, it could have meant the death of some of the participants.

Martha was a young white girl who bonded with her black maid when her parents were generally absent. Her natural curiosity and openness led her to an enclave of an extended black family living in primitive conditions. Martha was quickly "adopted" by the family, as they allowed her to be a part of their activities and she responded in kind. Martha's parents were racist and she maintained her relationship with the black group in secret for many years and even over great distances.

Martha also fell in love with Silas, first a playmate from the black family, then a companion and eventually a fiance. Silas was extremely intelligent and handsome and when he was old enough, he went off to school in Chicago and then joined the military, becoming a helicopter pilot flying rescue missions in Vietnam. Silas is seriously injured and Martha rushes to his bedside to take care of him.

One simple, yet significant scene is when a white soldier in the hospital wing with Silas objects to the black-white relationship. Another white soldier immediately responds, telling the white soldier, "That man saved my life, he can have whatever girlfriend he wants." The history of the civil rights movement, from the Rosa Parks refusal through the assassination of Martin Luther King is chronicled and placed in context.

Therefore, the story has two significant and complex tracks. The story of two people who grow to love each other within the bounds of a truly extended "family" and the broader context of the segregation of the south and how it was finally and thankfully forever broken. Given that the names of the title character and the author are identical, it seems clear that the book is an autobiography, which increases the power of the depiction of the events.    
           

Buy the Book below












In The Land Of Cotton