Welcome to Part 2 of Tamera Alexander's interview. For the giveaway, remember that you can leave a comment on both parts for a double entry. Click here to see Part 1.
I appreciate the graciousness of both Tamera and Litfuse Publicity in making this interview and giveaway available. Now enjoy more of what Tamera has to share about her wonderful new book, To Win Her Favor (click on title to see my review) . . .
Litfuse Interview with Tamera Alexander, Part 2
Q: As a southerner yourself, how do you embrace the culture of the south while still acknowledging its difficult place in the American story?
Very simply, the only way to embrace the Southern culture (or any culture) is by knowing how that culture was formed and by acknowledging all parts of its history, even the ugly and shameful parts. Dig deep enough into any culture’s history (you won’t have to dig far), and you’ll find deceit, greed, lust, murder, envy, and strife. Because at the core of who we are, we are all the same: sinners in need of a Savior, no matter the color of one’s skin. So to downplay the racial injustices perpetrated by the people of that time — toward people of every race, color and creed — is to risk making those same reprehensible choices again.
Q: What can this era and the story in To Win Her Favor teach us about forgiveness?
I’m always amazed at how those who have suffered the most are often the most forgiving. At the heart of forgiveness is a humility of spirit and an awareness of personal sin. Once you’ve seen how much you’ve been forgiven, I believe it’s easier (not easy, but easier) to forgive others for wrongs done to you. The characters in To Win Her Favor each learn about forgiveness — both in the giving and receiving — in their own ways.
Q: Your heroine, Maggie Linden, has lost all four of her brothers in the war and her mother shortly thereafter. Why do you think God allows such hardship and grief to affect those who love him?
Ah . . . the age-old question. Volumes have been written attempting to answer this question, so I’ll briefly share what helps me reconcile a hurting world with a loving God. This earthly life is transient. This world is not a believer’s home and was never intended to be. It’s vital in a believer’s faith walk to continually draw our focus back to an eternal perspective, which isn’t our natural bent. Not by far. I try to see each day (and everything that happens) as a way to grow closer to Christ. I try to focus not so much on “why” something is happening in my life but rather focus on what I can learn from it. And, more importantly, how I can bring glory to Jesus Christ through the experience. Eternal perspective changes everything.
Q: Have you ever felt like something bad that happened to you was a punishment for past choices?
Sure. Because sin has consequences. However, not everything bad that happens in a person’s life is due to him or her having done something bad. We live in a fallen world where bad things happen to good people all the time. It’s the nature of free will and a consequence of living in a fallen world.
Q: Like many women throughout history, Maggie finds herself in a position where it seems her only way to save her dreams and family fortune is through a marriage of convenience. What do you think you might have done if you were in her shoes?
I think I would’ve done precisely what Maggie did, which made it especially interesting to take that journey with her. Someone recently said to me, “All marriages are marriages of convenience on some level.” It’s a thought-provoking statement.
Q: You’ve said Kizzy is your favorite character in this book; tell us about her and why she captured your heart.
I fell in love with Kizzy and would love to write her continuing story some day. Kizzy represents so much of the bold hope, tenacity, and raw courage that was present in the generation of freedmen children coming of age after the Civil War. In many ways, it was a brave new world for them. Yet, in others, the world hadn’t changed nearly enough, and the war was still being fought. I adore Kizzy’s approach to life and how she sees herself. And how she sees others.
Q: Do you have a favorite way to celebrate the completion of a new novel?
I’m embarrassed to tell you, and no one has ever asked me this before. But I treat myself to one of my favorite guilty pleasures. Remember the Hostess cupcakes with the cream filling? The ones that come in the two-pack and are absolutely horrible for you and have so many preservatives they could withstand a nuclear holocaust? Well, I treat myself to a pack of those, and then I read for days on end. Just dive headlong into a stack of novels and relish the experience.
Q: What kind of impact do you hope To Win Her Favor will have on readers?
The same kind of impact it had on me . . . that it will cause readers to search their own motives and hearts in relation to prejudice and that they’ll have the courage to follow God’s lead in taking whatever steps are necessary toward healing the divide.
To keep up with Tamera Alexander, visit , become a fan on () or follow her on () or ().
To enter the drawing for To Win Her Favor, please leave a comment for Tamera or about something you read in her interview. You can also leave a comment on Part 1 for a second entry. Thanks to everyone for being interested in Tamera's novel and taking the time to comment. I've tried to respond to each of you back on Part 1.
BE SURE TO LEAVE YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESS in a safe format - [at] and [dot] - for the drawing.
If you'd like to receive e-mail notifications of reviews, author interviews and giveaways, please subscribe to my blog in the upper right corner. "Likes" on my Facebook page, ThePowerofWordsBookReviews, are also greatly appreciated, as are followers on Google+, Pinterest, Twitter, and this blog.
E-mail required for entry in the drawing. Contest ends at midnight PST on Sunday, May 17. Winner will be chosen by Random.org and contacted by e-mail. Respond within 48 hours of notification or another winner will be chosen.
Eligibility: US residents, 18 and older