Interview with Ann Hardy, hero of THE NORTHEAST QUARTER by S. M. Harris

Please tell us who you are.

My name is Ann Hardy. Who I am is something I learn as I go along. My story starts when I am ten years old and ends when I am twenty-two. I begin as a child of privilege and I finish up knowing how to take care of myself.

Welcome, Ann. What is your story?

My story is about the difficulty of keeping a promise no matter what. How you cling to that promise – even if the whole world seems to want to block you from keeping it.

Where do you live?

I live at Carson Manor in Winfield, Iowa. The Carson agricultural empire is one of the largest in the state. Founded by Colonel Wallace Carson, my grandpa. When he dies and my grandma remarries, then the empire begins to collapse and I move around abit.

Are you the hero of your own story?

I’m the central character all right. All hell breaks loose when my grandpa dies. I find myself alone – taking on all comers. It’s a me against them situation until the end of the book.

What is your problem in the story?

Just before he dies, my grandpa asks me to promise to safeguard The Northeast Quarter, the most valuable acreage on the estate, when it is my turn to take over. My problem is being able to keep that promise when every crook and conniver in the county converges on the Carson empire, looking to carve out a portion for themselves.

Do you have a problem that wasn’t mentioned in the story?

I can’t think of anything. Everything is pretty up front with me.

Do you embrace conflict?

I try not to. When you stand up for something, sometimes conflict seems to embrace you. I fight when I have to, but basically I try to avoid conflict. I find it’s better to match wits with an opponent until you spot his weak points. Then if you have to fight, you fight to win,

How do you see yourself?

I had to learn how to cope very early in life. I’d say I’m loyal to friends and family, ethical in my dealings with the world and implacable toward my enemies. My enemies were good teachers. They taught me about human character.

How do your friends see you?

In addition to being strong and loyal, they see me as mature for my age. They see me as a little mysterious because I keep a lot inside. They see me as very brave. Maybe I am, but whether this is true or not, I don’t let people see when I’m afraid.

How do your enemies see you?

Since my story begins when I am ten, they thought I was harmless at first. Then they began to see me as an adversary. At the end, when I go after them, they see me as an equal.

How does the author see you?

He better see me favorably. I’m modeled on his mother.

Do you think the author portrayed you accurately?

I would say so. Between 1918 and 1929 I had to grow up pretty fast. I had to learn to stand on my own feet. I think he captures that period and all the details.

What do you think of yourself?

The events in the story prevent me from doing much introspection. I’m like a soldier on a battlefield – dealing with whatever is in front of him. Looking back at the skirmishes, I would say I come through it pretty well.

Do you have a hero?

Arabella Mansfield. The first female lawyer in America and a native Iowan. I look up to her. Whenever I run into a legal problem, I always ask myself how Arabella Mansfield would have handled it. She inspires me to become a lawyer myself.

Where can we learn more about you?

All sorts of places:

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