The Quintessential Tennessee Homeplace

Amy Grantham
Amy Grantham Author Interview

Cleon’s tells the personal story of co-author Amy Grantham in a wistful picture book about growing up in her family’s homeplace in Southwest Tennessee. How did the idea for this book begin and how did you come to collaborate on the project?

I talked to April a lot about the place that we consider to be our “homeplace.” Generations of my family had lived in the house and on the land there. It’s such a special place to us that I wanted to share it with her as well. We had visited the place together, and she had heard a million of my stories from me and other family members before the project ever began.

I loved the pictures in the book. How did you decide which pictures to include?

April was responsible for the photographs that are used at the center of each page. She, with the permission of my cousin who owned the place at the time, went there and took the photos without me. She put them together in a scrapbook with the story and surprised me with it as a gift. When I started putting the project together for print, I added photos and keepsakes to the background that came from my family’s belongings. There’s a receipt from my granddad’s days working at a local hospital. There are letters that my great-uncle Cortez sent to my aunt, Cleon, from when he was a soldier in World War II. Pins, coins, paperclips, and other items came from my grandparents’ things. The only old photo in the book is of my aunt, Cleon, who owned the place most of my life. She was a pivotal person to us all, and was our matriarch for so many years.

What were some ideas, or emotions, that were important for you to convey in this book?

After April gave me the scrapbook, I shared it with my family. So many of them loved it so much that they asked us to reproduce it. We wanted to share our love for the house and land with others. We knew other people had their own “homeplaces” in their lives and could relate. Cleon’s, as I call the place, feels like the quintessential Tennessee homeplace to me. A friend mentioned that the book conveyed “object permanence.” We all have those tangible things and places tied to so many memories. People outside of the family won’t recognize every little thing in the photos, but they may be able to tie it to the things that they remember and feel nostalgic about.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I’m not sure what our next project will be, but I’m looking forward to working with April again. This was our third book together, and I’d love to add many more.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

Cleon’s: The Story of a Tennessee Homeplace is a short children’s book set against a historical, tin-roofed home that has been burned in the memory and warmed the hearts of countless generations. Author April B. Pulliam helps Amy Grantham tell the story of her family’s homeplace in Southwest Tennessee through her beautiful words set against a backdrop of photos of the house mixed with family keepsakes. Together, they bring the pages of the storybook to life and echo the sentiments of so many Hurst family members who have walked the grounds of “The Hurst Nation” since before the Civil War. Generations flock back to the homeplace each year for the Hurst Family Reunion where relatives of Colonel Fielding Hurst once lived. More personally to Amy, though, this place has always just been “Cleon’s.” She associates the house with her great aunt who she considered to be the family matriarch while growing up–Cleon Hurst Tucker. Cleon was only a couple of generations removed from her infamous great, great uncle, Colonel Fielding. April captured Amy’s fondness for the place and its inhabitants in prose after listening to countless tales of what happened there throughout the years. She tells the story of the house through a child’s eyes–Amy’s eyes. The house and the acres around it are filled with the reverberations of family stories, sweet memories, peace, quiet, and maybe, just maybe, a little magic.

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on November 24, 2021, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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