What was the inspiration behind this book?
I have a memory as a kid of nine, I guess, visiting my grandparents’ farm. A cowboy came by to ask if there were any horses on the farm that needed to be broken. He was on an appaloosa horse and he wore a cowboy hat and spurs (I might be making that part up, but I’m pretty sure he needed them to make the horses buck until they were truly broken). Anyway, he always remained heroic and archetypal in my mind. One day, I started to wonder if the women in that little community found him as appealing as I had. And I started writing a short story that just went on and on to become the novel.It takes place during the Great Depression. What kind of research did you have to do?
The novel is set on my grandparents’ farm – they didn’t have electricity or running water. My grandma made the best breakfast buns I’ve ever tasted – baked in her wood-fired stove. She milked a cow every morning and skimmed off the cream that she put into a gallon-size mason jar and shook into cream. So, the only research I did was the price of eggs so I could figure out what Annie sold them for and a few other prices.How did you determine the title?
Well, since Tom says “ever’thing on this farm belongs to me” it seemed that Annie was simply Tom’s wife.How much do you have in common with Annie? From visiting my grandparents, I share some of Annie’s living experiences and I have a son. I think that’s about it. What is one of your favorite things about your novel?
The land. Remembering the smell of wood smoke in the mornings, the sun coming through the cracks in the barn and the sheds, the animals, growing the garden. And the characters – real people with real quirks and longings.Tell us about the movie version of this book.
There are some differences due to the fact that it was very low budget. A couple of characters – Naomi, for instance – do not appear in the movie. It wasn’t made on my grandparents’ farm, which had already been sold. It was shot mainly at a 150-year old farmhouse outside of Austin. It won some awards and I can say that the acting was superb.Please tell us about your other books and films.
Mileva Maric, the Other Einstein – a documentary about the life of the woman who became Albert Einstein’s first wife. She was brilliant – attended the same school as Einstein – and if you read his letters to her you can see that they collaborated on the theories that made him famous. She had three children with Einstein, the first a baby girl who was born before they were married (Einstein refused to take a job with her father to be able to afford to marry). They had two sons after they finally married (the daughter disappeared after the marriage). One son was schizophrenic. After they divorced, Einstein never wrote another important paper.On what other projects are you currently working?
Marie Curie, the Woman Behind the Mind – from looking at her photos and the fact that she was intensely interested in science, I thought Marie Curie to be dour. However, she was not only brilliant and accomplished, she was so in love with Pierre that when he died, she entered a long depression. She only surface from the depression because of a love affair that became a scandal and she was told not to go to Sweden to collect her second Nobel Prize. She did. Her reputation was redeemed because of her work at the front in World War I.
Anna Freud, Under Analysis – a documentary about the life of Sigmund and Martha Freud’s youngest daughter. Sigmund and Martha never had sex again after Anna’s birth, and this might be why Martha rejected Anna. She was not feminine enough for either of her parents and was psychoanalyzed by her father for a couple of years. She never married, but partnered with Dorothy Burlingame on the development of child psychoanalysis. It was Anna Freud who actually made Sigmund Freud famous – using public relations experts to further his fame and theories.
I’m working on a novel set in New York and New Orleans.What are some of your must-see destinations for people who wish to visit Texas?
If you like live music, Austin is the place to visit. There is live music everywhere. Free music at grocery stores, coffee shops, churches, and some clubs on Sunday nights, as well as a host of clubs on Sixth Street and in the Warehouse District.Thank you so much for your time!
by Alana Cash
It’s the Great Depression and 19-year-old Annie Huckaby is almost resigned to marriage with Tom. He works at a coal mine during the week, leaving Annie to take care of the house and their infant son. Tom’s Native American friend Jim takes care of the farm. Her best friend, Twila, visits every day and helps Annie make a little money selling eggs to the café on the highway. And there’s church on Sunday. Annie’s not always alone, but most times she feels like it…until one afternoon a peddler named Jake Stern steps onto the porch, tips his hat, and starts a world of trouble.
Read an excerpt:
She drank out of her tin measuring cup, liking the feel of it in her hand better than crockery because the heat from the coffee came through it. Listening to bobwhites calling and the rooster crowing, she put a hand on her belly and thought about having fine things like linoleum and curtains and silver-handled hairbrushes and about what it must be like to live somewhere fast like St. Louis or New Orleans or New York City.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Alana Cash is an award-winning author and filmmaker who used to spend summers on her grandparents farm at the foot of the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas. When she was ten, a red-headed stranger rode up on horseback asking her grandfather if there were horses needing to be broken. The cowboy wore spurs and a cowboy hat and was pretty exciting. Decades later, Alana wondered if any of the women living in that farming community got a crush on that wandering cowboy, and intending to write a short story about that romantic day, Alana ended up writing the novel TOM’S WIFE.