Amy Abbott is always the first one to help our new writers and authors, so we think it is only fitting that we give her a big nod for her new book Centennial Farm Family
Read about this author in our interview below and check out Centennial Farm Family on Amazon
Book Description: Anna Long Hoard stood at Eberhard Cemetery, watching her husband’s casket lowered into his grave. Kellis Hoard died by mistaking sulphuric acid for cider, a mystery never solved. Kellis was Anna’s rock and the man who farmed Anna’s legacy farm. She had no sons. Could she keep the farm?
Generations before her lived the every-man story of American settlers. Like thousands of pioneers who left the East Coast after the Revolutionary War in search of a better life, the Longs fought weather and wild country to move to a state in the Old Northwest Territory. Reuben Long, the patriarch, and his children and grandchildren fought to keep the Indiana farm in the family. If Mother Nature did her part, permanent land ownership meant economic security, a ready supply of food, and one of the few wealth-building opportunities in a rural setting. Keeping the family farm meant survival and security. And their journey was anything but easy.
1. Tell us about Amy Abbott
I’ve been writing before I learned cursive, which explains a
lot. My mom taught me how to use her old Royal portable-in-a-box typewriter
when I was in first grade. I typed my little stories and never stopped. I
went to college after Watergate, and journalism was a very popular major. I
worked at a weekly newspaper in high school and a daily newspaper on my
college vacations and summer. I planned to be a journalist, but the bottom
dropped out during the Carter administration. Many two-newspaper towns shut
down their p.m. papers. I stayed in school for a master’s and went into the
business world where I was Peter Principled, far away from writing by the
end of my career. When we had an empty nest, I started writing again,
working for various newspapers and magazines, writing a column for Senior
Wire News Service, and producing books.
2. What inspired you to write this book and how long did it take you to write?
My family owned a legacy farm in Indiana for 173 years, and I
grew up hearing stories about our pioneer past from my maternal grandmother.
So from a very young age, I knew I would someday tell these stories. It’s
very emotional for me, and I’m thrilled it has finally happened. The actual
research and writing took about 29 months, but I tell people it took me more
than sixty years. LOL.
3. What were the biggest challenges in writing this book
Historical narrative is always a challenge because you don’t
have the freedom of fiction. I could only work with what I was told by my
grandmother and the resources I found to support her stories. The book is
filled with more than 85 vintage illustrations — from pictures to documents
to newspaper clippings — and finding them for the earlier part of the book
was challenging. There was no photography until 1840, and it wasn’t readily
available in rural northeastern Indiana. My earliest picture is from around
1860, though the book does have some sketches and maps from the years
4. What brought you the greatest joy?
Holding the finished product in my hands. I was blessed to
have a team to help me with this book. Dr. Mary Kay Jordan Fleming was my
coach and editor, and Diani Ani Stokely provided the cover art, designed the
interior, and brought out the best in old illustrations.
5. What do you hope readers get from this work?
That is an essential aspect of the book for me. I hope that
the book outlives me and that many researchers will find it helpful in the
future. I took special care with the citations and documents. I also hope
it will encourage others to tell their own stories in whatever form they
choose. For some, it might be a family cookbook. For others, it might be a
particular photograph or a work of art. Unfortunately, only one person from
that period is still alive, and she is 92. I’ve interviewed her many times
over the past twenty years and kept the notes in a file. These notes were
exceedingly helpful with her memories. I believe readers will also be
astounded at how difficult life was for the settlers and the changes and
unexpected deaths that happened. My family is not unique; readers will
likely recognize their immigrant ancestors in many of the stories.
6. Can you share your social media info and website so readers can find you?