Alexia Jones Helsley, The Hidden History of Greenville, SIBA Non-fiction nominee: She prefers to think of herself as a historical landmark and not a crochety old person!
Favorite book as a child? The Hidden Garden and the Song of Solomon.
What are you reading right now? Grocery store labels checking their ingredients.
Why that title? Hidden was more evocative than “found” Greenville
Why independent bookstores matter? As Emerson wrote, “a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds” – independents offer variety and personal connections.
Favorite part of writing a book? Opening the box when the books come. I’m a child again and it’s Christmas morning!
Least favorite part of writing a book? proofreading – I hate to see that I can make mistakes.
Are you working on anything new? Yes; I’m conducting “background” research on SC grapes and wine.
Do you have any superstitions, lucky charms, or rituals around your writing? Had a rabbit’s foot, but the rabbit ran away
Comment on the writing life…carpal tunnel, eye strain, “blood, sweat and tears” and more tears.
Hardest part of the creation to publication experience? the Chicago Manual of Style
Why do you write? because I hate to exercise and except for Leno, there is nothing on late night TV
When do you write? wee hours of the morning when most are asleep or at Waffle House
When did you know you were a writer? high school, I was Pat Conroy’s editor
What, or Who, will you dish on, as in gossip about? That’s a state secret
What would make you a scintillating dinner guest? my misantrophic world view, dry wit and appreciation of NC wine
Who is your favorite new author? Having learned that Shel Silverstein wrote for Playboy, I am reading Where the Sidewalk Ends looking for “hidden imagery”
What is your drink of choice? Marker’s Mark mint juleps especially in May – Kentuckians love the derby
What is your favorite food? pizza without tofu or anchovies