Do you want revenge or do you want your land back?”
Winfield, Iowa. 1918. Colonel Wallace Carson, the ruler of a vast agricultural empire, asks Ann Hardy, his ten year old granddaughter and eventual heir, to promise she will safeguard The Northeast Quarter, the choice piece of land from which the empire was founded. Ann readily accepts – little knowing what awaits her. When The Colonel is killed unexpectedly the same afternoon, the world around Ann and her family begins to fall apart.
Thanks for having me. I’m excited to be here.
Ann, you’ve had a pretty rough story in The Northeast Quarter. You had to go up against some unscrupulous individuals. Do you think the author portrayed you accurately in the story?
Ann: I would say so. Between 1918 and 1929 I had to grow up pretty fast. I had to learn to stand on my own two feet. I think he captured that period and all the details.
What is your dilemma in the story?
Ann: Just before he dies, my grandpa asks me to promise to safeguard The Northeast Quarter, the most valuable acreage on the estate, when it is my turn to take over. My problem is being able to keep that promise when every crook and conniver in the county converges on the Carson empire, looking to carve out a portion for themselves. My goal is to keep that promise to my grandpa.
Against the background of America sliding from a post-war boom into The Great Depression, The Northeast Quarter tells the story of Ann’s struggle to keep a promise no matter what. She witnesses the remarriage of her grandmother to Royce Chamberlin, the seemingly humble banker who institutes a reign of terror over the household and proceeds to corrupt the entire town.
What are your achievements?
Ann: One of my achievements is encourage other members of my family to believe in each other while our world is falling apart. It doesn’t prevent things from collapsing, but there is a strength in family. Another is that I do become a lawyer, but that’s after the story is over. The Northeast Quarter is about how I get there.
Do you talk about your achievements?
Ann: Not so much. My grandpa always said, “If you are anybody and you’ve done anything, people will find out in their own due time.”
Do you keep your achievements to yourself?
Ann: In The Northeast Quarter the achievements are private and personal. They’re like skirmishes on a battlefield. You chalk up your victories and defeats and prepare for the next one.
Over the next ten years, she matches wits with Chamberlin, enduring betrayal, banishment and even physical violence. She grows from a precocious child into a tough-minded young woman – watching, observing her enemy and waiting for the moment to make her move.
And when the moment comes in July 1929, life in Winfield will never be the same.
What do you think of yourself?
Ann: The events in the story prevent me from doing much introspection. I’m like a soldier on a battlefield – dealing with whatever is in front of him. Looking back at the skirmishes, I would say I come through it pretty well.
How does the author see you?
Ann: He better see me favorably. I’m modeled on his mother.
Do you have a hero?
Ann: Arabella Mansfield. The first female lawyer in America and a native Iowan. I look up to her. Whenever I run into a legal problem, I always ask myself how Arabella Mansfield would have handled it. She inspires me to become a lawyer myself.
Ann, seeing you circumstances, I want to ask if you actually get to keep that promise to your grandfather.
Ann: You will have to read the book to find out the answer.
Social Media Channels
Twitter handle: @smharriswrites
Facebook: S.M. Harris
You Tube Channel ( link is a custom link to book trailer on you tube channel)
|Author Stuart M. Harris
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