Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for A More Perfect Union. I’m delighted to be sharing a Q&A with the book’s author, Tammye Huf.
Q- Where did your inspiration for the book come from?
It came from the story of my great great grandparents. He was from Ireland and she was a slave. When they met and fell in love, he bought her freedom to marry her.
Q- What research did you do?
So, so much! A lot of reading. I especially invested time in reading first-hand accounts. Famine reports. Slave narratives. Political arguments. Laws. The laws a society passes say so much about that society and who and what they value.
Q-What is your creative process?
First comes the idea of the story, and then I like to flesh it out before I jump in and really get writing. I’ve done it the other way around before where you get a story idea or find a character and just start writing, seeing where the story leads you, but I’ve found that my story thread gets a bit tangled that way. I like to know where I’m going and then have creative freedom in how to get there.
Q- What were your biggest challenges when writing the book?
Knowing where to start, where to finish, and the events that should happen in between. I realise that sounds like everything but it’s not. For instance, knowing how characters would respond to a given challenge wasn’t nearly as hard for me as deciding on the challenge.
Q- Which character did you enjoy writing most?
All of them. Definitely all of them.
Q – Is there anything that didn’t make the final edit of the book that you wish you could have included?
There is so much more research that went into the book than you see on the page. It would have been nice to be able to include more of it, but it wouldn’t have been right for the story.
Q- Is there anything in particular you hope readers will take away from the book?
We are living at a time when racial tensions are at the highest they have been in decades. It can make us start to think that human beings are just this way. I hope that a story like A More Perfect Union could help to remind us that this isn’t true, and that individuals have always found a way to see past the things that divide us and come together, even during far greater periods of strife than what we’re dealing with now. Even though there are some hard realities in the book, I hope that on balance it is seen as hopeful.
Q- Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Yes. The practicality of earning a living or raising a family means, for most of us, that writing is something you have to scratch out time to do. I’m fortunate that lately I’ve been at a place in my life where I can devote more time and energy to it, but it took quite a while to get here.
Q- What books you’ve read have had the most impact on you?
This is impossible to answer. Different books have impacted me at different stages of my life and in different ways. For me, the questions isn’t so much what book is most impactful, but what is the cumulative effect of the many impactful books and authors I’ve been exposed to.
Q- What have you been reading in quarantine?
My current reads are The Book of Echoes by Rosanna Amaka and Here is the Beehive by Sarah Crossen.
Q- What are your go-to book recommendations?
The book I’ve probably recommended the most is The God of Small Things by Arundhathi Roy. The books I’ve recommended most recently include Days Without End by Sebastian Barry, The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead, The Long Song by Andrea Levy, Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid, Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
Some questions for fun –
Q- If you could have a magic typewriter or coffee cup that’s never empty, which would you choose?
A typewriter that magically transcribes my thoughts. That would be something.
Q- If you could go anywhere when you blink your eyes, where would you go?
Where wouldn’t I go? Could I also time travel with my magic teleporting blink? I’m afraid I’d spend my life blinking!
Q- What 5 celebrities – alive or dead – would make up your ideal dinner party and why?
I couldn’t possibly resist a chance to invite past authors who blazed a trail. The list is long but if it has to be five, then perhaps Toni Morrison, Zora Neale Hurston, Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, and Octavia Butler.
Q- Lastly, what’s next?
I’m plotting out a new book, but at this stage of the process, I’m not yet ready to talk about it.
Thank you Tammye for answering my question and Emma at Myriad Editions for arranging the interview.
You can buy a copy of A More Perfect Union here.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Tammye Huf is a former teacher, and now works as a translator and copywriter. Her short stories have been published in various magazines, including Diverse Voices Quarterly and The Penmen Review. She was runner-up in the 2018 London Magazine Short Story Prize.
Originally from the USA, she moved first to Germany and then to the UK with her
husband and three children.