Interview with Eve Marryat
Main Character of Sweet Mercy
by Ann Tatlock
Tell us about your family.
I have the best parents on God’s green earth and that’s the truth. They’re good and kind and loving. Daddy worked a long time for the Ford plant in St. Paul, Minnesota, but like a whole lot of other people he lost his job after the stock market crashed. So he decided to move us to Mercy, Ohio to work with his brother, “us” being him and me and Mother. My older sister Cassandra stayed in Minnesota, thank goodness. Now, she’s a whole different story altogether. We’ve never gotten along very well. She’s just too wild! I mean, she spent years going to speakeasies and drinking out of hip flasks and partying the nights away. I’m not kidding when I tell you she used to dream of being a moll. If she could have married a gangster like Bugs Moran she would have. Just for the fun of it. But of course she got pregnant and ended up marrying someone else. Serves her right.
What was the scariest moment of your life?
Hands down, the scariest moment of my life was when I saw a man machine-gunned to death. Mother, Daddy and I were walking in downtown St. Paul when a dark car rolled past us with the barrel of a tommy gun poking out the back window and suddenly the man ahead of us was lifted up off the sidewalk in a hail of bullets. In the next moment his body landed in a bloody heap right on the front doorstep of a Jewish deli. That’s why I was glad when Daddy said we were leaving St. Paul.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
At 17, I’m still thinking about that. All I know for sure is that I want to help people and do something that will make the world a better place. Heaven knows, it sure could use some improving.
What are your favorite TV shows?
I’ve heard about TV but I’ve never seen one of those machines. If you mean my favorite picture show, it has to be that movie that just came out with Charlie Chaplin called “City Lights.” Charlie is just so sweet to that pretty blind girl he falls in love with. I want someone to love me like that.
What songs are most played on your Ipod?
What on earth is an Ipod? (You ask some strange questions.)
What are you passionate about these days?
I’m passionate about keeping the laws of Prohibition and I think everybody else should be too. The government has said no drinking and they mean NO DRINKING! So what does everybody do? People are making gin at home in their bathtubs and moonshine in a million stills out in the woods. And you know what that moonshine’s got in it, don’t you? Rubbing alcohol, embalming fluid, and other toxic stuff that was never meant for human consumption. And people drink it anyway! Of course genuine liquor is being smuggled in over the borders and selling it is what’s making the gangsters like Al Capone rich. You tell people not to drink and suddenly everybody wants to drink! I just don’t understand it.
If you could apologize to someone in your past, who would it be?
I don’t think I need to apologize to anybody. I think my sister Cassandra should apologize to me for teasing me and calling me all sort of wretches names.
What makes you happy?
My new home at Marryat Island Ballroom and Lodge! I love this place and I’m so glad Uncle Cy invited us to come live and work here. The island in the Little Miami River is just heavenly. People come from all over the place to stay at the lodge and to swim, picnic and dance on the island. It’s the sweetest place on earth, and no more gangsters like up in St. Paul.
What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
You’re probably not going to believe this, but I met Al Capone and the man was actually nice to me. I mean, really nice. Of course, at the time I was just a kid and I didn’t even know it was Al Capone. If you want to find out how I met him, you’ll just have to read my story in Sweet Mercy.
Stunning coming-of-age drama set during the Great Depression and Prohibition
When Eve Marryat's father is laid off from the Ford Motor Company in 1931, he is forced to support his family by leaving St. Paul, Minnesota, and moving back to his Ohio roots. Eve's uncle Cyrus has invited the family to live and work at his Marryat Island Ballroom and Lodge.
Eve can't wait to leave St. Paul, a notorious haven for gangsters. At seventeen, she considers her family to be "good people," not lawbreakers like so many in her neighborhood. Thrilled to be moving to a "safe haven," Eve soon forms an unlikely friendship with a strange young man named Link, blissfully unaware that her uncle's lodge is anything but what it seems.
When the reality of her situation finally becomes clear, Eve is faced with a dilemma. Does she dare risk everything by exposing the man whose love and generosity is keeping her family from ruin? And when things turn dangerous, can she trust Link in spite of appearances?
Ann Tatlock is the author of the Christy-Award winning novel Promises to Keep. She has also won the Midwest Independent Publishers Association "Book of the Year" in fiction for both All the Way Home and I'll Watch the Moon. Her novel Things We Once Held Dear received a starred review from Library Journal and Publishers Weekly calls her "one of Christian fiction's better wordsmiths, and her lovely prose reminds readers why it is a joy to savor her stories." Ann lives with her husband and daughter in Asheville, North Carolina.