Today we welcome Selah Daughtry from Beth White’s A Rebel Heart
NPT: Selah, tell us a little about your family.
SELAH: I’m the eldest of three sisters. My middle sister, Joelle, lives with me and our second cousin ThomasAnne in the manager’s house of our family plantation home in Tupelo, Mississippi. Our youngest sister, Aurora, has lived with our grandparents in Memphis since the onset of the War Between the States.
NPT: The manager’s house? Why not the main house?
SELAH: Unfortunately, the big house isn’t fit to live in. During the war, Yankees came through and all but destroyed it. With my mother dead and my father gone, there’s nobody to see to repairs, and we can’t afford them anyway. It makes me so sad and angry. I’ve tried and tried to figure out a way to bring Ithaca back to life. We’re almost to the point of giving in to our grandparents and moving to Memphis.
NPT: Perhaps if you married money—
SELAH: I’ve got more pride than to sell myself, even for Ithaca! Besides, no man is going to be interested in an old maid of twenty-seven like me. Joelle might…but even she…see, we’ve developed a reputation as liberal eccentrics. It’s a little hard to explain to people who don’t live in the South—besides, it’s not good manners to talk about one’s finances with a stranger.
NPT: Ahem. All right then. Perhaps you wouldn’t mind talking about your family a little more. Condolences on your mother’s passing. I imagine you miss her very much.
SELAH: I do, but it’s been a long time, nearly seven years now. I’m beginning to get used to the ache. Mama taught me to manage a home, she taught me to be a lady, and she taught me how to trust God, no matter what. Joelle and Aurora and I—we’re going to survive somehow.
NPT: You said your father is “gone.” He’s passed away as well?
SELAH: Well. Early in the war he was involved in the controversial execution of a bunch of pro-Union civilians who’d raided a Confederate general’s home. The Yankees caught Papa and put him in a horrible prison, but he was shot in an attempted escape.
SELAH: That’s all I have to say about it.
NPT: You’re a bit of a tough nut to crack, Selah.
SELAH: People tell me that. Which is probably why I haven’t married. But you know…Never mind.
NPT: What were you going to say?
SELAH: Oh, all right. There is one man who somehow gets me to talk about the most personal things. From the minute I met him—which was under pretty traumatic circumstances, you know—there was something about Levi Riggins that drew me in.
NPT: Now that’s interesting. How did you and Levi meet?
SELAH: He saved my life during a train wreck. And he rescued a lot of other people, too—most of us Southerners. Which is amazing, considering he was a Union cavalry officer during the War. I don’t know exactly what Levi is doing here in Mississippi—odd, now that I think about it, he never got around to telling me. He asked for my direction, but no doubt he was just being polite. He has very good manners for a Yankee boy. And like I said, he’s a very sympathetic person.
NPT: Selah, something tells me you just might be surprised by Levi’s motives.
SELAH: Oh, I assure you this cynical girl is a very good judge of character.
NPT: Something about the way you said that makes me laugh. I suppose we’ll have to wait and see. Thank you very much for allowing these prying questions. I believe you may have an interesting story ahead of you.
Beth White’s day job is teaching music at an inner-city high school in historic Mobile, Alabama. A native Mississippian, she writes historical romance with a Southern drawl and is the author of The Pelican Bride, The Creole Princess, and The Magnolia Duchess. Her novels have won the American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award, the RT Book Club Reviewers’ Choice Award, and the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award. Learn more at www.bethwhite.net.