Betty Jamerson Reed
Soldiers in Petticoats
Link to book page on Amazon:
What is your book about?
Soldiers in Petticoats is a biographical account of three women of accomplishment: Sophia Sawyer (1792-1854), a teacher in the Cherokee Nation; Emily Prudden (1832-1817), a teacher of black and white Appalachian youngsters; and Martha Berry (1866-1942) who taught white mountain children. Living in a time when women owned few privileges, these three succeeded in establishing schools for the needy. Their schools, in one form or another, in the 21st century. Sawyer followed the Cherokees west and was waiting for them at the end of the Trail of Tears; Prudden founded 15 schools, two of which exist today; and Berry’s work continues to thrive at this time.
What inspired you to write your book?
I was amazed that with so much to overcome, these three became remarkably successful and thought readers in the 21st century should be aware of their accomplishments.
What is a typical day like for you?
My days are typically atypical. I try to write four hours five days a week. I am a retired educator, but am active in various groups, such as NCRSP, Transylvania Writers Alliance, and church activities.
What do you most enjoy about what you do?
Writing is a challenge, research is equally demanding, but I find satisfaction in new ways to report what I have learned and in confirming that my facts are correct.
What are some favorite books you’d recommend to our readers?
Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn; To Kill a Mockingbird; 1984.
What advice do you have to offer our readers?
Read books that introduce you to new ideas, expose you to complicated characters, and that stretch your mind with great ideas and that bring you joy or satisfaction.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
At the age of 83, I write nonfiction and poetry, seek publication often, and look forward to each day hoping for a new adventure.
What’s next for you?
I am completing a poetry chapbook, another book called Champions of Learning in Appalachia and Beyond. I have an unfinished novella and an unfinished memoir about growing up during wartime and the aftermath of World War II, etc., etc.