Guest Post: Emily Hayse and Willow Tam

Well, aren’t y’all just spoiled? Two posts in a row and another character interview with Emily! Don’t get used to it ;P

Seriously, though, I am so happy to welcome my good friend Emily Hayse back in honor of her most recent book release, The Rivers Lead Home, which is a collection of short stories for the award winning Seventh City. And today, she’s interviewing one of my favorite characters, Willow Tam! Any other Willow fans out there?

What is the strangest place that you have been?
On one campaign, our transport ships stopped in a strange port for supplies and to ship on fresh water. I was one of six footsoldiers allowed to go ashore, and we went to this ale-house to eat. The drinks were strange, the food tasted bitter and the people watched us closely. The proprietor had this two-headed rat and a bird that sang the strangest song in a woman’s voice. I didn’t finish my food. I got out of there.


What did you do before you joined the army?
I grew up in farm country, in one of those small shepherd’s cottages with my mother and younger brother. We didn’t own any land but what the cottage was situated on, but we worked for the farm nearest us as my father had while he lived.


What made you join the army?
I had lost both my father and my brother to farming accidents, and I needed to get away.


What was your fondest childhood memory?
I remember going out to the hayfield where my father was working to bring him ginger water. I was too young to work then, but he allowed me to follow behind him, and I remember watching him cut through the green hay with his scythe as if it were water. I treasure that memory, as he died just a couple years later.


What’s the greatest aspiration you’ve had in your life?
Well, I don’t think I have had many aspirations, really. Right before my father died, I wanted a dog. The farm had young pups, and I played with them often, but it wasn’t like having one yourself. But after he passed, I rather gave up on that. I was trying to make sure the rest of us had enough to eat, and a dog needs feeding. Maybe I’ll get one yet.


Proudest moment of your life?
I reckon it was when I overheard the farmer I worked for say I was the best hay cutter he’d seen in ten years. For me, that meant he’d let me go last of all the seasonal workers, and we needed that bad.


What do you think you are the most skilled at?
Most skilled, I do not know, but I can carve decently, I think. I work hard at it of nights, and I can do a fine recreation of a horse or a dog.


I think everyone wants to know what you intend to do in Uniap’nik. Can you share any of that?
I figure I’ll raise a house with my own hands and live where it’s quiet and wild. Maybe live close enough to hail some neighbors.


Any other plans?
None yet.

Want more Willow? Or Maki and Tsanu? Check out The Rivers Lead Home!

“You see, Maki, that’s the thing about the rivers. They’re like the blood-lines in your hands…. If you lose your way, follow the river downstream and you’ll always find your way back.”

In The Rivers Lead Home, Emily Hayse explores new frontiers, digging deeper into the land and the characters first introduced in her award-winning novel Seventh City. This collection of twelve short stories features beloved characters like Maki, Tsanu, Willow, Ransom, Laramie, Rutter, and Jeremiah, as well as introducing new characters like Spruce Norman, Mollie at Heart’s End, and the mysteriously lucky dog-driver Epirvikk Heft. From lazy nights at the Pick and Collarbone to dog races on the frozen tundra to the adventures of a young mapmaker in the jungles of Havast, these stories are full of laughter, surprises, brushes with glory, and heartwarmingly ordinary humanity.

Buy it on Amazon

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