Piper Huguley Interviews March Smithson from The Preacher’s Promise
March Smithson is a character that a number of the readers of my “Home to Milford College” series took too when they first read about her in her motherless state in the Preacher’s Promise.
March has been growing up, and became a big sister, but now, she’s on the threshold of young womanhood and ready to step into her own spotlight. There’s a few problems with her emergence into young womanhood, though. It’s the beginning of the school year at Milford College in 1880 and she’s wondering what her purpose is in life. When The Songbird’s Stand opens, she’s about to find out.
PH: Hello, When and where were you born?
MS: My name is March because that’s when I was born. She called me that because she never wanted me to forget that. So, she set me apart from the other enslaved ones, since I know and carry it with me all the time. I’m twenty.
PH: Tell us what goal(s) you hoped to accomplish
MS: I was supposed to go to the Oberlin School Of Music Conservatory last year, but my mother said I couldn’t go because of the losses the college suffered with the collapse of the Freedman’s Bank a few years back. So, I’m stuck here in poky Milford, Georgia and I don’t get to do what I want to do.
PH: If you could relive your life, what changes would you make?
MS: I would have found a way to stay in Atlanta when we lived there. Mrs. Turner might have kept me and I could have worked to earn my way to Oberlin rather than rely upon the fortunes of the college to pay for me to go. That didn’t work out.
PH: How do you feel about your family, now that you’re an adult?
MS: I love my family. I’ve always been like a little island unto myself. My mother has the college, my father has my mother and my brothers are blessings, but they don’t know what I want to do. So, much like before they came, I’m alone.
PH: What do you want from life?
MS: I hope to show everyone with my voice that we are people like anyone else. Ever heard of Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield? That’s what I want to do. That’s who I want to be. Something stopped her. I don’t want anything to stop me. I don’t have much time left for school. Oberlin won’t want me after next year. My voice will be “set” and I won’t be teachable any longer.
PH: What, in the outside world, is preventing you from getting it?
MS: This school. It takes everything from all of us. I won’t say I hate the school. I don’t. We need teachers and preachers in the race for us to advance as a people. But I have my way I want us to advance. But every time I try, the school requires something from me. Now, I only have one more chance to be free, like a bird.
PH: When you walk into a room, what do you expect people to notice about you? People don’t have to notice anything about me. It’s okay if they don’t. I can have an affect on people that makes them wonder who I am and what I’m doing here.
PH: Is one sense more highly developed than another? (Are you more visual, audial, etc. or do you rely on the famous sixth sense?)
MS: I can’t explain it, but I know things before they happen. I knew every time when my brothers were coming. I knew when they were going to be born. I knew they were going to be boys. I knew Mama was going to lose her first baby, but I didn’t tell her that. I just know. That’s who I am.
PH: What do you consider your special talent?
MS: Everyone knows I can sing. But few know I can sing to the birds.
PH: What do you wish your special talent was?
MS: For people to be honest in this world.
PH: Describe your ideal mate.
MS: I don’t have one. I’m going to be alone. I’m fine with that. Maime Harper, my best friend, is always looking for love. That’s not me. I want no parts of love. It cannot help me in any way.
PH: What are you most afraid of?
MS: That I’ll be stuck in poky Milford for the rest of my days.
PH: How do you feel about your life right now? What, if anything would you like to change?
MS: I need a big pile of money so I can go to Oberlin for school, for my brothers to be educated properly and to help this school on since that would make my mother happy. And whatever makes her happy, makes my father happy. So we will all be happy.
Piper pic 300 dpiPiper G Huguley, named 2015 Debut Author of the Year by Romance Slam Jam and Breakout Author of the Year by AAMBC, is a two-time Golden Heart ®finalist and is the author of “Migrations of the Heart,” a five-book series of historical romances set in the early 20th century featuring African American characters, published by Samhain Publishing. Book one in the series, A Virtuous Ruby won the Golden Rose contest in Historical Romance in 2013 and was a Golden Heart® finalist in 2014. Book four, A Champion’s Heart, was a Golden Heart® finalist in 2013.
Huguley is also the author of the “Home to Milford College” series. The series follows the building of a college from its founding in 1866. On release, the prequel novella to the “Home to Milford College” series, The Lawyer’s Luck, reached #1 Amazon Bestseller status on the African American Christian Fiction charts. Book #1 in the series, The Preacher’s Promise was named a top ten Historical Romance in Publisher’s Weekly by the esteemed historical romance author, Beverly Jenkins and received Honorable Mention in the Writer’s Digest Contest of Self-Published e-books in 2015.
She blogs about the history behind her novels at http://piperhuguley.com. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and son.