Hero Interview from Alabama Brides by Sandra Robbins

» Posted on Oct 20, 2011 in Blog | Comments Off on Hero Interview from Alabama Brides by Sandra Robbins

This week I’m hosting Debbie Viguie with Kiss of Night, Sandra Robbins with Alabama Brides, and Christine Lindsay with Shadowed in Silk. If you want to enter the drawings for the books, please leave a comment on one of the post during the week with your email address. I will not enter you without an email address (my way to contact you if you win). If you don’t want to leave an email address, another way you can enter is to email me at margaretdaley@gmail.com. The drawings end Sunday (October 23rd) evening.

Interview with the hero from The Columns of Cottonwood of Alabama Brides by Sandra Robbins:

Dante Rinaldi, tell me the most interesting thing about you.

If you read Alabama Brides, you’ll discover I’m the hero in The Columns of Cottonwood, the first story in the collection. I was born the son of Italian immigrants in 1842 in Mobile, Alabama. My parents were so proud I was an American citizen. They taught me the value of hard work and saving my money. That’s why I had enough money after the Civil War to buy Cottonwood Plantation for the taxes due on it. At the time I thought all the Carmichaels who’d lived on the plantation were dead, but that wasn’t true. The daughter Savannah had survived, and she felt I had stolen her land from her. Although I feel badly for her, I can’t let go of my dream to be a landowner in America. It’s been the driving force in my life for years. 

What do you do for fun?

I have very little time for fun. I’ve worked hard all my life. My parents died of yellow fever when I was fifteen, and I’ve been on my own since then. My greatest pleasure now that I have purchased my land is to sit on the bluff of the Alabama River that flows past my property and listen to the sound of the water. It’s the greatest feeling in the world.

What do you put off doing because you dread it?

I knew the first time I saw Savannah Carmichael that I’d never met a woman like her. I’ve tried to show her how special she’s come to mean to me, but I’m sure she thinks of me as a foreigner who has no right to her land. The only thing I can think to do is ask her to marry me in a marriage of convenience. She needs a place to live, and she wants her land back. I can’t let her know, though, how much I love her. I’m afraid she will laugh at me. 

What are you afraid of most in life?

I’m afraid of being alone in life. I want to find love like my mother and father had, but I doubt I ever will. Certainly Savannah will never feel about me like I do about her. She’s about to take a job in Mobile as a governess, and I’m afraid if she goes, I’ll never know any happiness.

What do you want out of life?

I want to share a home on my land with a wife who loves me and children who will someday be my heirs. 

What is the most important thing to you?

My parents taught me the importance of having faith in God and letting Him lead me. I know He will take care of me no matter what happens. I wouldn’t be able to face each day if I didn’t have the Lord’s strength making me strong.

Do you read books? If so, what is your favorite type of book?

Money was scarce when I was growing up, so I never had many books. However, I did have a Bible my parents bought for me. It’s gone with me everywhere, even when I worked in the Confederate field hospitals during the Civil War. I read my Bible all the time. 

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I would give myself more confidence when it comes to letting Savannah know how I feel about her. She’s known a very different life from what I had, and I’m scared she may think me a ridiculous man to even think she might marry me. 

Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?

I don’t have a pet, but I love animals. I have horses, cows, hogs, and chickens on my plantation, and I take good care of all of them. After all, they are very important to the success of my plantation. I have enlisted several tenant farmer families to work with me, and I’ve made sure their plots are stocked with farm animals. I suppose my favorite of all the animals, though, is my horse. I especially enjoy riding him. I consider myself to be an expert horseman. 

If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?

One thing all the people in my community have learned about me is that I hated slavery. I wouldn’t even fight in the Civil War because I couldn’t see myself defending the system of slavery, and I couldn’t go north to join the Union. The plantation owner where I worked was able to get me excused from the draft in exchange for working in a field hospital. I didn’t mind working to save the lives of men wounded in battle. If I could go back in history, I would go back to the days when slaves were being brought to America, and I would work day and night to make people understand how terrible the institution of slavery is. It destroyed the lives of too many people to number. All I can do now is help the tenant farmers who came out of slavery and now live on my plantation to find a better way of life for themselves and their families.