Today, The Debutante Ball welcomes Tess Hilmo, debut author of the wonderful middle grade novel, WITH A NAME LIKE LOVE. About Tess: Tess Hilmo grew up belting out classics like Amazing Grace and Swing Low Sweet Chariot in the shower. There was a power about those songs that made her feel she could accomplish anything her heart desired. With A Name Like Love is a tribute to those rich, African-American spirituals that shaped so much of Tess’ childhood. She now lives at the base of jagged, rocky mountains with her husband, three children and adorable poodle, Daisy. If you stand outside her bathroom door, you will still hear her singing. Visit Tess at www.tesshilmo.com
WITH A NAME LIKE LOVE: 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 takes The Deb Interview:
- What is one book that made an impact on you? I have this memory of my twelve year old self. I was up past bedtime, secretly reading The Witch of Blackbird Pond by nightlight. The main character, Kit, was so intriguing! The plot was amazing! I couldn’t put it down and read until I finished the book at 3am. That book started my love affair with historical, middle grade fiction.
- What is one thing that is making you happy right now? I can’t tell you all what an amazing feeling it is to have your story out in the world. It is like you have a little, precious treasure in your heart and then you get an opportunity to share that with others. Not every story is for every person – I get that. Still, having someone from across the states tell you that they read, and LIKED, your story is the most amazing feeling in the world. Happiness abounds.
- Which talent do you wish you had? Easy peasy – I wish I could sing. When I was in high school, I wanted to be a Broadway star soooo bad! I scrimped and saved my money to go to New York City and I told everyone that was my dream. Then I realized I couldn’t carry a tune to save my life and, apparently, that matters on Broadway. Sheesh. Picky producers.
- Share one quirk about yourself… When I was a child, I was terribly superstitious. As a little girl, I wouldn’t step on cracks or even look at a black cat. I went so far as to separate the utensils in the dishwasher because I was afraid the knives would hurt the forks and the forks would hurt the spoons. It may sound crazy, but it was for their own good! I put a little bit of superstition in With a Name Like Love and also in my new novel…just to honor that silly part of my child-self.
- What is your advice for aspiring authors? Believe!
We are so pleased to have Tess with us today – thanks for spending Thanksgiving weekend with us, Tess!
Tess has generously offered to give away a copy of WITH A NAME LIKE LOVE to one of our commenters (US and Canada only, please). To be entered, leave a comment about a talent you wish YOU had.