We’re happy to have here today Hailey Nelson from Aiken Brown’s new southern Christian fiction novel, Son of a Soldier. Hailey is a high school basketball star from Hope Hull, Tennessee. It is a pleasure to have her with us today at Beyond the Books!
I think I was absolutely accurately portrayed, right down to my knee-length, basketball shorts and my country girl twang! I was just a simple girl growing up in a simple town. I even think the essence of my hometown was captured so realistically in the book; it was nice to see it through someone else’s eyes.
Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality? If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?
People who have read Son of a Soldier tend to characterize me as a sassy spitfire, so I will definitely take it! I think I start off as a spirited but naive tomboy with a lack of life experience, and that was certainly very true to life. I think you see me as this young, country girl who truly finds herself over the course of the journey she takes in this book.
What do you believe is your strongest trait?
My strongest trait is my faith. I have a deep belief in God and faith in His plan for my life. I think you’ll see in the book what a strong role my faith plays in my life.
Initially, I would have to say my fear of the unknown, my willingness to settle into the comfortable. But, as you’ll see, I definitely think I grow beyond that point, and it’s my faith that allows me to do that.
Do you have a love interest in the book?
Yes! Grant Cohen changed my life! And I think that the book jacket describes our dynamic about as perfect as it can be described:
Son of a Soldier is the powerful story of how God used one unlikely, country girl to change the course of history. It seemed impossible to believe that an eighteen-year-old girl from the middle-of-nowhere, Tennessee would have any real significance in the history of our nation…that is until God chose her to make a Godly man out of a flawed, military hero’s stubborn son.
Hailey was a small town, farm girl who had never left her home state of Tennessee. She was a naïve tomboy who possessed an unassuming charm, the power of which she could not comprehend.
Grant was a rebellious Army brat who had seen the world. Glib, sarcastic and self-destructive, he was a loner lost in a world he had never felt he fit into.
They seemingly had little in common, but when two hearts collided, two worlds became one; while Hailey embarks on a beautiful journey of self-discovery in this unique coming-of-age story, Grant travels a winding, dirt road that helps him rediscover a lost innocence and discover a renewed purpose.
At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?
Are you kiddin’ me? Read the book! Y’all will see what I mean! Visit Aiken Brown’s website to learn more about where you can purchase Son of a Soldier and hear about all the ups and downs that make my story complete: www.aikenbrown.blogspot.com.
If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?
Really not want to be? I would have to say Billy Wayne because, I love the ol’ lug to death, but I don’t think I’d look too good in those big, dirty overalls of his! Besides, he just never could spar with Grant like I could, and I wouldn’t trade that!
How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?
The entire book shows the journey that I had the pleasure of taking with Grant. I feel forever blessed to have my story be so much a part of his.
What words of wisdom would you give your author if she decided to write another book with you in it?
I think that my author and I share a common goal that makes our union work. I want my story to be used to help share God’s love, and I think that Aiken Brown captured that in Son of a Soldier. If she ever wrote another book about me, that would be my only requirement, just that God gets the glory in all things.
Thank you for this interview, Hailey. Will we be seeing more of you in the future?
If I have learned one thing in my life, it’s to expect the unexpected and never say never, so we’ll see!