JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Tamara Angel Grant, author of The Cooling Board
(Peace in the Storm Publishing)
Only one thing could drag the worldly Jhonnie Bell Devereaux back to her birthplace of Regal City, Louisiana. When she hears news of the impending death of her mother, Jhonnie Bell rushes to her mother’s side. In the process, finds herself getting reacquainted with the small town, rural life on the bayou of the hometown she anxiously left behind years ago.
LuluBell Darling Devereaux’s passing leaves her family without the matriarch they all look to for advice and guidance. Staying true to her role as the family’s glue, Mrs. ‘Bell, even in death, won’t let the grave get in the way of her job of holding her family together. She has left each immediate family member a letter that details her words of wisdom, but with one catch…no one can read her Last Will and Testament until they heed the admonishments from her last words to each of them.
Shock, joy and panic encompass the family’s emotions. But does all hell break loose in the interim? Will Mrs. ‘Bell’s letters bring the family together as she intends or will it push them all further apart?
There’s a thin line between love and hate. Tamara Angela Grant pens an intriguing and heartwarming tale of a family who loves each other despite the fact that they may not always like each other.
Enchanting and enlightening, The Cooling Board is an entertaining and strikingly clever, witty, and honest look at the way a family copes with the devastating loss of a loved one.
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the idea and inspiration to write The Cooling Board?
Tamara Angela Grant: My grandfather passed away at 90 and mom passed away from Leukemia in 2006, six months apart. The way that family reacted to handling the funeral and just dealing with the death of a loved one was amazing to me. Some became territorial. Some began to act like someone owed them something. Some began showing their greed. At any rate, the funeral made some relationships and lack there of apparent. I began talking to people about my experience. It came to light that many people have bizarre or crazy things happen with their families at the death of a loved one, so I decided to write about it.
JP: What is a “cooling board”, and what is its significance to the title of this book?
TAG: A cooling board is the slab that you would be laid out on when you passed away back in the day. Think pre-morgue time in the country or in rural areas where they couldn’t necessarily prepare a body for burial the way you do now. The body was kept on a cooling slab in the barn until the ground unfroze from the winter or until a proper burial could be arranged. The book is about the death of the matriarch in the Darling-Devereaux family. It’s a catchy title that makes you want to know more about the story.
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that lead to The Cooling Board getting out to the public?
TAG: I self-published my first book and The Cooling Board has found a home with Peace in the Storm publishing. This time around, I’ll be doing plenty of marketing and have the luxury of having a publishing company have my back and give me a little extra push!
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? What did you learn from the experience of getting Promises Made, Promises Kept finished and published that you implemented when writing The Cooling Board?
TAG: I write as the creativity allows me. When it’s not flowing, it’s not flowing, and I don’t push it. I try to write something daily whether it’s on the laptop or with pen and paper. I’m much more savvy this time around. I’m prepared to set up pre-press for The Cooling Board and begin promoting before the book comes out which is a luxury that I didn’t have when I published Promises Made, Promise Kept.
JP: What’s next for Tamara Angela Grant?
TAG: I’m looking forward to promoting The Cooling Board in 2009 and continuing to build my business Especially Yours Events, which coordinates literary events and provides literary publicist services to new authors. I’m working on some short stories and building the concept for my third book, Charm City.
Nomination for Publicist of the Year with AAMBC book club
Nomination for Best Newcomer with Southern Allure book club
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