Posted on April 24, 2019 at 8:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Today we’re interviewing Deanna Edens, who writes historical fiction and nonfiction.

In addition to writing, she works as a superintendent for a small school district while teaching college classes part-time; she is also a licensed psychologist who works mainly with children who have experienced trauma.

Edens has several feline friends and donates proceeds from her book sales to her local humane society.

SADYE: Which of your characters would you most and least like to trade places with?

DEANNA: I would most like to trade places with Jinx from Jinx at the Greenbrier because she grew up at the fabulous Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia and was able to meet many famous historical characters like Sam Snead, Eleanor Roosevelt, Claire Boothe Luce, Dorothy Draper, President Eisenhower and the Duchess of Windsor.

The Greenbrier Resort has outstanding restaurants and leisure activities of all kinds and descriptions. It is one of my favorite places to visit.

I would least like to trade places with Erma from Angels of the Appalachians, who began her life in a poor coal mining camp and lived during the days before child labor laws were in effect.

During this period in our nation’s history, families would be thrown out of the company-owned shacks if someone in the family didn’t go to work after another family member was killed in a mining disaster.

The coal companies, at that time, had a simple rule: “Someone has to be working in the mine if you want to keep living here.”

When Erma’s father died in a coal mining accident her mother was told they would have to leave their home unless Erma, who was eight years old, went to work in the coal mine.

SADYE: What period of history would you most like to travel back to or what historical figure would you most like to meet?

DEANNA: I love history, and most of my books are either classified as historical nonfiction or historical fiction.

As a history buff, I would like to travel back to the late 1930s or early ’40s to meet Eleanor Roosevelt when she served as the first lady of the United States because she was such an inspirational woman who fought for equal rights for everyone.

President Harry Truman once referred to her as the First Lady of the World.

By the time she died in 1962, she was regarded as one of the most esteemed women in the world.

The quote “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; and small minds discuss people,” is attributed to Roosevelt, and this is one of my favorite quotes.

SADYE: What has been the most touching or memorable piece of reader feedback you’ve received? 

DEANNA: I value all feedback I receive from my readers.

Many times readers will describe how one of my books reminded them of the “old south” and the hardships their families faced in the Appalachians, often including their own experiences of mining disasters and poverty, which are reoccurring themes in my books.

I am always happy to learn how much the reader can relate to the characters, scenes, and history.

In one treasured review the reader explains:

“This touched my heart in so many ways. Yesterday, I read Angels of the Appalachians and today I finished the second book of the sequel, Erma’s Attic. I adored both wholeheartedly. Deanna, if you ever read this review, thank you. God brought your books to me in a dark season of life, and I feel His presence more now than I have in a while. Keep writing, sweet lady.”

This is one of the most touching reviews I have received because it is my hope to help people during those dark times we all experience in life.

SADYE: What experience in your past or general aspect of your life has most affected your writing?

DEANNA: One aspect of my life that greatly affected my writing was hearing the tales of the “old-timers” while growing up.

I have always enjoyed listening to people’s stories, especially in regard to the instances they recollect from their childhood.

I now take pleasure in interviewing people and noting the events that have influenced them throughout their lifetime, as demonstrated in Molly’s Memoir and Appalachian Tales.

I become absorbed in the moments of triumph and disappointments, cultural experiences, and chance encounters, which mold all of our lives.

Even when the stories are passed down from generation to generation, or unpublished stories written by the characters themselves, such as in Pearl: You are Cleared to Land, the history is so remarkable that it is worthy of being recorded and shared with those who love to read.

I believe these tales need to be documented so they will not be forgotten.

SADYE: What message or theme would you like readers to take away from your work?

DEANNA: The message I hope readers take away from my works is to appreciate what they have, pay it forward and be a blessing to others.

In Angels of the Appalachians, one character says:

“I believe we are here to help one another. We are like a shadow in the lives of everyone we meet, just as they are a shadow of our own lives. They live in our hearts, long after they are gone from this world.

“I also think, we are all connected and it is our job, while we are here on earth, to be a positive influence on those around us. When I reflect on the people I have known, who made my life better, I realize I have been so very blessed.

“It is my responsibility to bless others, by being good to them, encouraging them, teaching them, and loving them. When I observe the sky at night, I see millions of stars, glowing brilliantly.

“It takes years and years for their light to come into our view, and by the time we see the glow, the stars may already be dead. To me, it is as if God is saying, ‘Here is the light, don’t let it go out.’

“A bright light is what we should endeavor to be, one that continues to shine from generation to generation. A glorious star, continuing to radiate, long after we are gone from this world.”

This is the message I attempt to convey in my writings.  

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Learn more about Deanna Edens on her Amazon page, where her books can be purchased.

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Categories: Author Interview

I grew up in White Sulphur Springs, WV. I was born in 1937 and felt a kinship with Deanna. Our lives seemed to be quite similar in quite a few aspects. Her life seemed parallel to mine in so many ways. Even the feelings she had and the people she met were so familiar to me . I wondered as I read about her life, if I had met her. I went to Concord College and taught school for 30 years. It would be great to connect with her.
Betty Wilson | 1/16/21 at 3:04 PM
This is a lovely interview of a lovely young lady. This article depicts exactly the kind of person Deanna truly is, and has been since she was a young child. I could not be more proud, or feel more blessed to know her. Of course, I have to Audi that I am slightly prejudiced, as I am her mother. She has been a true blessing in our life.
Barbara Jones | 5/24/19 at 6:56 PM
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