Women and Adversity:
Adele Myers, novelist
The Tobacco Wives
My last blog post in December is always a repeat of one I posted during the year, and this year I want to reprint my blog on Adele Myers. The reason is because she’s a North Carolina native, and her debut novel, The Tobacco Wives, is an excellent read.
Pelican Bookstore in Sunset Beach, North Carolina scheduled Myers to appear at Silver Coast Winery in Ocean Isle Beach since the bookstore has limited space, and Myers was kind enough to answer my questions before her presentation. As I’ve written in the past, I ask women who have made a name for themselves as successful writers what obstacles stood and still stand in their way as a writer.
Myers opens the door into the lives of tobacco industry wives from the 1940s. She knew a lot about the tobacco industry since her parents and grandparents worked for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Her grandmother was a hairdresser for many wives who were married to tobacco industry executives, and she labeled the women ‘the tobacco wives.’ In the book, teen Maddie Sykes comes to live with her Aunt Etta, a seamstress for the ‘tobacco wives.’ Maddie learns about their lives and discovers a letter that reveals a tobacco industry secret, which all the world now knows.
- Grew up in Asheville, North Carolina
- Spend a lot of her growing up years in Winston-Salem
- Earned a degree in journalism from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- Moved to New York where she got—and still has—a full-time job in advertising.
- Married, had a son
- The Tobacco Wives started as a short story more than 20 years ago
- About eight years ago, she decided to write a novel
- The obstacle: “Not knowing how to write a novel,” she says.
- A former teacher suggested books on plot and character
- She joined a writers’ group where other women were published. “That made a difference,” she says. “They encouraged me and said I could get the book published. Sometimes your obstacles are your own beliefs or limited beliefs about yourself and lack of confidence.”
- Contacted 70-80 agents over 18 months before an agent had faith in the book.
- The Tobacco Wives was published in 2022.
What obstacles she faces now:
- Has a contract to write her next book.
- “I have a year to write it,” she says. “That will be a different experience from my first book.”
“My path to publishing has been paved with women who have encouraged me and validated me. I always knew I wanted to write. To spend so much time on a story, not knowing whether anyone’s going to want to read it, I think you kind of have to have a couple screws loose.”
“I fumbled my way through. I had no idea how long it takes and how many setbacks there are. You just have to be persistent, and I think there’s a lot of luck.”
My ebooks available at amazon.com, now a Holiday special at .99:
Honoring 23 Black Women, Recognizing 23 Notable Mothers, Saluting 23 Faithful Suffragists