Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

    Tommye Wright talks new novel “You Are Cordially Invited to War”


    Tommye Wright, an author based in Birmingham, has released a new book this year called “You are Cordially Invited to War.” The book follows a storyline on the home front during World War II. The plot focuses on Kay Ann Franklin, a young mother left alone to run her household during wartime, and Say, a young African American girl who begins working for the family, but then goes on to do so much more than that. This is Wright’s first published book, and she took some time to answer some questions for us about her new book, writing and her life.

    Where are you from? 

    I was born and grew up in Gadsen, Alabama. I live in Birmingham, but I went to college in Gainsville, Georgia where I met my husband and lived for 47 years.

    How long have you been writing? 

    I had been a storyteller, and I majored in theatre but really didn’t get around to writing until after my husband retired. That’s the first time I had time to write. I’m late figuring out what I want to do when I grow up, but it’s been such a pleasure for me.

    Where did you get the idea for “You are Cordially Invited to War”? 

    I was very aware of the greatest generation of the men who fought in the Second World War, and I kept thinking for several years there was a story of what was going on at home. People in Europe, their homes were being bombed. There wasn’t anything going on like that here, but there were just a lot of things I thought would make a good story. And it needed to be told.  And I knew if I just wrote down the facts it wouldn’t be entertaining. I needed a live situation to show the effects of war.

    How did you begin writing the story?  

    When I sat down to write it, a little girl appeared in my mind. The little girl becomes the focus of the story, which was never my plan. It’s a war background but also the plot of a relationship and a focus on this little girl who has an exceptional voice and the young wife and mother who wants to get her educated and voice lessons. It’s a success story.

    What is the plot? 

    The narrator, the mother, has her own battles. Her mother is dying of cancer. She has twin boys, and one of them has polio and one has chicken pox. And she has a baby. She is waging her own war on the home front, and this little girl has such a wonderful sense of humor and caring for this family. The grandmother dies and leaves money in her will for her to go to college. The hitch is the girl is beaten up and she is hospitalized to recover. When she is able to come out of the hospital, the effort to get her educated enough to even apply for college- part of the battle is persuading her do it. She has no hopes of ever doing anything more than working in people’s homes, and she can’t see herself as a college student. The book takes on the battle of getting her ready for college.

    Why do you hope young people will read this book? 

    I feel like your generation does not have a picture of that time. I want them to know how it was about the war. And I also want them to know about a real, sincere relationship between a white woman and a black girl [in pre-civil rights America]. Yes there was discrimination and prejudice. But there were also people who genuinely cared. It’s part of our history.

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