Jaymes E. Terry, author of Tribes of Time, agreed to answer some questions for me about his life and writing career. I hope you enjoy his informative answers.
Have you ever lived through a situation similar to what Haines and Cyrus experienced?
Unfortunately I have, not to the extent they experienced but Iíve had a few experiences that could have gone badly for me. Iíve been shot at because of my race while walking through a neighborhood in Jacksonville Florida. Iíve been surrounded, and at the time I believed I was going to be lynched, but luckily I was with good friends who came to my rescue. There are numerous other incidents, but those are just a few.
Are you friends with people who have lived through a similar situation?
Yes, I do have friends that have had similar incidents. Either they or someone in their family have experienced some form of threat against them due to their ethnicity. I hope as we progress as a nation these types of incidents continue to diminish.
What was the inspiration for your book?
I was looking through some old family photographs when I came upon a black and white photo of my Aunt Grotis sitting on the banks of Elmerís Slough fishing for perch. She was sitting on a white five gallon bucket and wearing a straw hat. That picture holds such a special place and time for me. It reminded me of the stories she used to share with me as a kid growing up. She really had some stories from her youth about the things sheís seen or experienced.
How long did it take you to write the book?
The actual writing took me 17 days of writing for three hours a day. But the entire process - character building, research etc. - took me about eight months of milling it around in my head before transcribing to paper.
Which character is your favorite? Least favorite?
Thatís a tough question. First choice for my favorite character would be Miss Ella. She reminds me so much of my sister, the matriarch of our family now that our parents are gone. My second choice would be Haakon Nilsso. Heís untainted by the American experience and is truly a clean slate when it comes to our perception of other ethnicities and races. Just have to love the guy.
Hands down Sheriff Vernon Hutchison is my least favorite character. That guy is just a malignancy with his antiquated belief system. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of people in our society with his beliefs; maybe not as outward as he is, but nevertheless heís out there.
Which scene is your favorite? Least favorite?
My favorite scene is when they are preparing to go fishing and Cyrus imparts some of his wisdom on how to get fishing bait. It just proves that you canít judge a personís intelligence by his diction. Education and intelligence are two different things, similar but completely different. Some of the smartest people I know have no formal education past high school but are educated from life experiences.
My least favorite scene would have to be the killings in the grove. Iím definitely not an advocate of violence, but sometimes it is necessary for survival.
How long did it take you to decide on a title for your book? Were there many other possible titles you had picked out?
Iíd have to say the title selection was the toughest assignment for me. I wanted to pick a title that was catchy yet pertinent to the storyline. The current title works well since it segues into book two. There were a couple other names I played with: Bastard of the Bayou, Strange Fruit and Muddy Waters.