Monday, September 26, 2011

Debut Authors of the Class of 2k11: Tess Hilmo

I'm so pleased to be able to introduce 2k11 author Tess Hilmo, whose middle grade novel With A Name Like Love debuts this week. 

Kirkus gave the novel a *starred review* (congrats, Tess!): "A story about the meaning of home, justice and love, beautifully told." 

A summary: "When Ollie’s daddy, the Reverend Everlasting Love, pulls their travel trailer into Binder to lead a three-day revival, Ollie knows that this town will be like all the others they visit— it is exactly the kind of nothing Ollie has come to expect. But on their first day in town, Ollie meets Jimmy Koppel, whose mother is in jail for murdering his father. Jimmy insists that his mother is innocent, and Ollie believes him. Still, even if Ollie convinces her daddy to stay in town, how can two kids free a grown woman who has signed a confession?  Ollie’s longing for a friend and her daddy’s penchant for searching out lost souls prove to be a formidable force in this tiny town where everyone seems bent on judging and jailing without a trial."

Tess graciously agreed to write a guest post for me, and it's my pleasure to bring it to you.

We Are All Connected

When I began writing With A Name Like Love, I knew three things:
1.     I wanted to celebrate the rich, Southern gospel music that I love so much
2.     I wanted to write an intriguing murder mystery
3.     I wanted to include a strong family unit

When I was little, I remember one of my grade school teachers telling our class about how the old Negro Spirituals are all written in a five key scale called pentatonic scale. Five humble keys that, when arranged, can give us feelings of loss, heartache, redemption and hope.  They have the ability to connect us and make us believe we can do great things.  Think about songs like Amazing Grace and the emotion it stirs.  Or the power within Swing Low Sweet Chariot.

I wondered if it could be the same with a novel.  If including basic elements of hope, heartache, redemption and love could bring us all together under the umbrella of story.  That was and continues to be my goal with this book.  It is a Southern murder mystery that highlights the triumph of the human spirit over difficult and, at times, dark events.

Music and stories bring us together and remind us that we are all connected.

What are your favorite songs and what emotions do they evoke in you?

You can find out more about Tess on her blog 

No comments: