“Walking Among The Kudzu” by H. Victoria Hargro Atkerson
"The Reading Room and AAMBC Network Present H. Victoria Hargro Atkerson
Interview with Victoria:
“Walking Among The Kudzu” is your third novel, what is it about?
This story chronicles the life of a Chicago youth who is mentally abused by her disenchanted mother. Their relationship based on the child’s ability to be invisible in her mother’s house. She has the misfortune of having to cope with a mother who did not want the responsibility of the company of children in her life. At the first opportunity, the main character, Shelby Reed is farmed-out to neighbors and friends so that her mother can have company. This child knows that she is unwanted and disliked, but she learned how to live in a hostile environment by fading into the woodwork so that her mother does not know she exists. When her mother decides to rid herself of her mothering responsibilities, she sends Shelby to an unknown aunt in Atlanta that the child never knew she had. From there, Shelby discovers things about her family that disturbs her and isolates her even more than she was in her mother’s home. Needing acceptance and love, her life becomes complicated when she is rejected by her family in Atlanta, her mother, and the one person whom she finds to love. In the backdrop of this dramatic story, the reader revisits the civil right era of the 1950’ and 60’s, where values, beliefs, and problems unfold in the lives of colorful and brilliant characters that reflect the daily life of living in a separate but unequal society.
What was your purpose in writing “Walking Among The Kudzu?”
The main theme of the book is that life goes on no matter what and people have to be resilient in order to be successful. It does not matter what mistakes you make, but it does matter how you react to your mistakes. Do you continue? Do you change your behavior? You must. We must always adapt to changes because that is the most constant element of our lives. We must set new goals and be determined to complete them…. never giving up on life and especially never giving up on ourselves. I wanted to convey that message in “Walking Among The Kudzu.”
The story has some interesting details about the civil rights era, are any on the incidents in the book true?
All of my writings reflect real life experiences, but that have been fictionalized to create a good story. I find that all good writing is based on the daily interactions and reactions to our environment. How else can the reader relate to it? Even writers of science fiction and horror stories based their writing on human experiences that they take to the next level. The best writing starts out with a simple question, “What if?”
Where did you learn to write?
At my computer, but I learned to tell a good story as a child growing up in Atlanta. Much of my childhood was spent listening to stories from elders, siblings, and friends. Everyone told stories. Sitting around the dinner table, at family reunions, sitting on the front porch, or hanging out on the front steps at night… people always told stories. It just so happened that most of the stories they told were true, taken from real life. My biggest challenge was to learn how to put my stories down on paper or on the computer… it was truly a learning experience. It took time and a great deal of hard work to complete my first three novels and to continue working on the ones that will follow. One day, I hope to perfect the art. I compare the process of writing a story with a journey that starts out at the beginning and goes until you write your way to the end. I hope that when I get to the end of my writing career that I will have perfected the art of writing so that others will appreciate it and enjoy my stories.
“Walking Among the Kudzu is your third book, what were the first two?”
The first two novels that I published were, “Stones Along The Path, Part I & Part II,” a two-part intimate family memoir, which starts in Kenya and migrates to Philadelphia. The two books tell the story of a wildly romantic relationship that crosses two cultures and two continents. The main characters, Jessica & Akinyele are insanely in love, but they have adjustments because of their cultural and differences. What I love about this story is that the reader gets to evaluate their relationship and their suitability for each other. It amazes me when readers tell me that they are angry with Jessica or disgusted with Akinyele. That means they became involved with the storyline. One of my favorite book clubs nicknamed it as the “Black Cinderella Story,” and it is. Readers will love it, but be ready for a real roller coaster ride.
Where can readers get copies of “Walking Among The Kudzu” and “Stones Along The Path, Part I & II?”
Anyone who wishes to purchase one of my books can go to one of my Websites,
Book Clubs At Sea is a special program that I created to help black authors, like myself, who need to get their work out to the public and on an international stage. It’s an opportunity for authors to bring their fans on board cruise ships around the world to experience the ultimate book club. While cruising to fabulous destinations, they will have an opportunity to sell their books to all the passengers and crew around the world. We also encourage Book Clubs members who want to vacation with authors to join us and enjoy all the special activities we provide onboard. Anyone who wishes to join one of our cruises can send their request to firstname.lastname@example.org.