Friday, January 4, 2013

The Color of My Heart by Sarah Martin Byrd ~ Interview & Giveaway

About Book

Living in the foothills of North Carolina, Laura Carter has it all: a nice home, wonderful adoptive parents, two lovely teenage daughters, and a to-die-for handsome husband. As they celebrate freedom on the Fourth of July, she’s certain that nothing could ever shatter her perfect American life: Or could it?
An unexpected letter from her great-grandmother brings Laura face-to-face with her birth family. At their first, shocking meeting, she receives a stack of diaries that trace a heartbreaking voyage from Africa to Jekyll Island, Georgia, via a slave ship. Thanks to the missionary who lived with her ancestors in Africa and taught them how to speak and write English, Laura holds in her hands a gripping record of their lives.
Could the realities of her mixed-race heritage destroy her family? Laura tries to live honorably, but her husband resists, and daughter Lakin has her own secrets. Lurking in the shadows is a small group called the brethren. The brethren’s dirty deeds are meant to preserve the purity of race in a South that still wears old patches of hate. Will they succeed in chopping down Laura’s family tree, or will the newest branches have a better chance at peace and acceptance in a more open-minded South?

Dedication page reads:  Dedicated to the oppressed of the world
"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female, for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.   And if ye be Christ's then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."        Galatians 3:28-29

Excerpt: First two chapters of The Color of My Heart!

  • ISBN-13: 9781620201145
  • Publisher: Emerald House Group, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/30/2012
  • Pages: 288

About Sarah Martin Byrd
I started keeping a diary as a young girl, writing down my thoughts, dreams and worries. At fifteen, a good friend died in a car accident, my first poem titled The Black Car, was for his family. Since, I havpenned many other poems to console friends, family and myself.

In third grade, after being made to read a children’s classic, The Boxcar Children, I was forever hooked on books. In the early 90’s I realized I was never going to be happy until I wrote my own novel. An avid reader, I stepped out of the box again, and instead of living through other writers I began my own journey, enrolling in a writing program at The Institute of Children’s Literature. I graduated and started my first book, In the Coal Mine Shadows. It took me thirteen years to finish that first novel. I was, at the time, a wife, mother and full time Advertising Manager for our local newspaper. Finally, having finished In the Coal Mine Shadows I didn’t know what to do with it. I still don’t. It lies restless on a shelf. Longing for eyes to see it.
Then as fate would have it, five years ago, I grasped the opportunity to retire from the newspaper business, stay home and yes…write full time. After In the Coal Mine ShadowsGuardian Spirit was birthed and now The Color Of My Heart is ready to launch. I recently finished another novel, The River Keeper. It is now in the editing stage.

Q & A with Sarah
Q. What led you to write The Color of My Heart? 

A. Growing up I was the minority. Everybody else seemed to be living a normal life. But my childhood was far from the norm. My heart was molded by the way I was treated, and I promised myself to never look down my nose at anyone. No one knows the path children have been led down by the actions of their parents.

Q.  Have you had any encounters with racism?

A. Yes, of course I've lived in the South all my life. I have friends who have children in mixed marriages. I've seen and heard more than my share of hurtful remarks.

Q. How does Laura’s husband respond to her discovery? What do you hope readers learn from his reaction? 

A. He is appalled when he finds out that his perfect wife is tainted with African American blood. I pray the readers of "The Color of My Heart" see how very wrong Tam is by judging from the outside in.

Q. What is your understanding of freedom?

A. Having the right to be who you are and not try to be someone else because that is what society thinks you should be. Freedom is being on level ground with all. Being treated equal. 

Q. How can you share the themes of this book with children?

A. This story will teach children that God created all. People of different color, shapes, personalities and origins, but He made us in His image. We are all His children.  I would hope that children would loose the urge to bully after reading this story.

Q. What do you hope to accomplish by writing this book? 

A. My hope is that after a person reads "The Color of My Heart" they will look at their fellow man differently. I hope people's hearts will be humbled by this story. We should be judged by our character, not by our color. 

Q. You seem to weave a lot of history throughout your books. Are the historical facts true in "The Color of My Heart?"

A. I always weave history throughout my writing. I love doing research. Yes, the historical facts about the last slave ship named The Wonderer that landed at Jekyll Island on November 28, 1858 are true. In Captain William C. Corrie's logbook on October 4, 1858 four hundred and eight-seven souls left port from the Congo River in Bengula, Africa for the six-week journey to America. Only four hundred and nine people survived. Seventy-eight died on that forty-five day journey across the ocean.

On December 18th, 1865 the 13th Amendment was officially adopted into the Constitution, two hundred and forty-six years after the first shipload of captive Africans landed at Jamestown, Virginia and were bought as slaves. In 1808 a slave was counted as three/fifths of a person for census. How very sad is that! 

A portrait of the slave ship the Wanderer, which landed off Jekyll Island on Nov. 28, 1858. It carried 400 Africans, mostly boys. COURTESY OF THE JEKYLL ISLAND MUSEUM
Q. Is your personality reflected in any of your characters? 

A. Oh yes. I don't think a writer can create characters without adding a little of themselves to each one. In "The Color of My Heart" my heart is that of Laura Carter's. Most of the time all my characters are all a little part of people I know or have known. 

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Winner announced on Jan. 12th, 2013

My Thoughts

Laura Carter had a happily ever after life with a handsome husband and two beautiful teenage daughters.  She had the wonderful adoptive parent's that raised her as their own and with a strong belief in God.  She knew nothing about her birth mother.

One day her fairy tale started falling apart when she received a letter from her birth family stating her birth mother was not well and needed Laura to come to her home.  Her visit with her birth family revealed her roots were from Africa beginning with an educated African woman her small daughter that were kidnapped, shipped to America in the hull of a ship then sold into slavery.

At first Laura did not want to believe her mother and great-grandmother but the proof was in a set of journals written by women of color, all no doubt her ancestors.  Out of concern for her the health and well being of her birth mother and one hundred year old great-grandmother she insists on staying with them as their caretaker.  Even her daughters wanted to stay some to help and to learn more about their grandmother and great-grandmother.

This was news her husband did not want to accept.  It made him sick that the blood  running through the veins of  his wife and children was tainted blood.  Ever since he was a young boy he had been raised with an iron fist by his father and was forced to join a white supremacy group called the brethren.  He did not approve of the groups tactics but feared his father's anger if he did not go along with their madness.  Her husband feared what the brethren were capable of , especially his father, if they found out about his wife's roots and tainted blood. 

Laura knew nothing of her husband's dark secrets but suspect something evil brewing. The relationship with Laura and her birth family flourished, but the relationship with her husband was becoming more like a nightmare than a fairy tale.  Laura puts her faith and trust in God for the healing of her family.

Would his father really harm Laura and the children?  What horrors await?

When it comes to Laura's father-in-law and the brethren I can't help but remember the  expression, "O, what a tangled web we weave when we practice to deceive."  written by Sir Walter Scott.

The author has written about how the color of ones skin can create a variety of opinions and feeling within our culture.  Add the element of the women ancestors journals was major plus in this story.  It lets the reader see the hardships and heartfelt feelings of these women without actually seeing a color.  You will see them as men, women and children with the very same hearts and minds being punished because of the color of their skin, no other reason. 

"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female, for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.   And if ye be Christ's then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."        Galatians 3:28-29

I highly recommend this book.

I rate this book a 5+ out of 5.

I received a free copy of this book from Ambassador-Emerald International for review.  I was in no way compensated for this review.  It is my own opinion.

If you found this review helpful vote yes or no here.


  1. I have a sister that would love to read this book, the storyline is very historical.

    cenya2 at hotmail dot com

  2. This book has a wonderful story to tell and I would love to win it for my sister, Joi.

    cenya2 at hotmail dot com