Kristin O'Donnell Tubb and SELLING HOPE

Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to Kristin O'Donnell Tubb, author of AUTUMN WINIFRED OLIVER DOES THINGS DIFFERENT and her latest book, SELLING HOPE.
     Kristin hales from Tennessee, the same state I once called home, which is what drew me to her first novel which takes place in Cades Cove. But with SELLING HOPE, Kristin jumps to Chicago - 1910. One week prior to the day Halley's Comet is due to pass through the Earth's atmosphere. Thirteen-year-old Hope travels with the Vaudeville and ends up selling anti-comet pills to an eager audience...

Q. Kristin, I adored SELLING HOPE! What a unique premise and so wonderfully handled. Not that I would know, but the slang sounded accurate and so fun - I adored all the fun new (to me) words. I have to know how you came up with the idea for this book - there MUST be a story!!

A. Thank you so much for your nice words about SELLING HOPE! I'm so excited you enjoyed it! The idea came when I was researching Halley's Comet for a kid's activity book I wrote for Dalmatian Press. Someone actually sold comet pills! Craziness makes me happy. :-)

Q. Just as with your first novel AUTUMN WINIFRED OLIVER DOES THINGS DIFFERENT, you seem to have nabbed an odd time in history and relayed the feeling and language of the era beautifully. Is there a certain period you're drawn to, or is it a matter of tons of research once an idea plants a seed?
A. Thanks, e! Generally speaking, I’m drawn to early 20th century Americana, but no time period specifically within that frame. I’m drawn more to events than time periods, actually; it’s the events that ultimately motivate the characters to action. Once the idea has taken root, then the research of the era and setting can begin.

Q. Any tricks on how you got the slang of the times to sound so authentic? What were some key slang words in SELLING HOPE?

A. Vocabulary lists can be a writer’s best friend! When researching an era, I try to read work written in that era, particularly newspaper and magazine articles (and my VERY favorite – classified ads!). Any time a word strikes me as unique or as particularly definitive of the era, I add it to a vocabulary list. When outlining, I refer to the list often, and try to sprinkle the terms throughout the story where they are most appropriate.
     In SELLING HOPE, Hope uses the word “huck” a lot; I think of it as a predecessor to “uck” or “ugh” that we see today. She also refers to her clients as “coins,” because honestly, they don’t mean much more to her than the money they carry in their pockets! I also tried to capture the cadence of a vaudeville skit for her interactions. It was such fun to research and write!
     For historical writing, I often visit to make certain that a word in question not only existed in the era of the story, but was also used in the same way. It’s a wonderful resource!

Q. This makes book two for you and I know you're working on a third. How have things changed for you now that you are established in the industry?
A. I’m definitely finding it a challenge to balance the marketing side of things with the writing and creating side. One hears, “write the next book,” but you also can’t pass up opportunities to meet and talk with readers! The best ways to allocate time has been on my mind a lot lately.
     A plus side of getting further down the publishing road is all the wonderful people you meet along the way – librarians, booksellers, teachers, fellow writers, readers – who cheer you on with each step. The community of book lovers is unique, I think, in the level of support they provide to each other.

Q. How are you celebrating the release of SELLING HOPE and where might we help cheer it on in person or online?

A. Thank you for asking! I’m doing two launch parties in Nashville (On Saturday, November 13th at Barnes & Noble Cool Springs and on Saturday, December 4th at Davis-Kidd), and a fun-tastic event at Malaprop’s Bookstore in Asheville, NC on Saturday, November 20th, with some of the members of Asheville Vaudeville! A Buster Keaton look-alike will be there! I’m so excited.
     I’ll try to post online tour stops on my website ( and blog ( If you’d like to Tweet or Facebook about SELLING HOPE, I’m holding a contest for all who do. A nifty book-basket will be drawn from all participants! Just email me (ktubb [at] comcast [dot] net) and let me know you’ve participated in the shout-out! And of course, Amazon and Goodreads reviews are always welcome – I encourage readers to try to update those for ALL books they’ve enjoyed. (She says guiltily, knowing how far behind she is in doing this!)
     Thanks for the invitation to participate, e!

     Thanks Kristin!!
     Kristin mentioned Buster, as in Buster Keaton, who plays a large part in SELLING HOPE. I knew the name, but had to do some research to understand his place in history. Um... he was AMAZING!! Check this out...

Read more great reviews of SELLING HOPE at:
Abby the Librarian

1 comment:

Vicky Alvear Shecter said...

I am REALLY looking forward to reading this! What a great time period to write about. And having a young Buster Keaton in the story is inspired. (So is that vid by the way.)

Way to go, Kristin!