Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Beverly Taylor Herald, September 29, 1997

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:01 - Family

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Partial Transcript: This is an oral history interview with Beverly Taylor Herald being conducted by Linda Beattie for the Kentucky Writers Oral History Project.

Segment Synopsis: Herald discusses several relatives, including her grandparents and father.

Keywords: Allen County (Ky.); Birth certificates; Birth dates; Brothers; Grandfathers; Grandmothers; Grandparents; Louisville (Ky.); Parents; Relatives; Siblings; Sisters; Step-grandmothers; Twin sisters

Subjects: Families.; Genealogy

00:03:44 - Childhood / twins

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Partial Transcript: Um, and what was your childhood like?

Segment Synopsis: Herald recalls her childhood, which was spent entirely in the Louisville, Kentucky area. Herald also talks of the relationships she has recently observed between twins who are children. Lastly, Herald's early education is described.

Keywords: Best friends; Bonding; Book signings; Books; Classrooms; Competition; Elementary schools; Experience; Friends; High schools; Identical twins; Louisville (Ky.); Memories; Mothers; Moving; Presents; Second grade (Education); Sixth grade (Education); Twin sisters; Twins; Valley High School

Subjects: Childhood; Education; Families.; Teachers; Writing

00:08:45 - Mirror twins / school

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Partial Transcript: We're mirror twins. I'm left-handed, Barbara's right-handed.

Segment Synopsis: The science behind mirror twins is discussed. Herald also describes how being a mirror twin has an impact upon both her own individual writing, and collaborative writing that she does with her sister. Finally, the twins' collective experiences with writing and reading during grade school are shared.

Keywords: Biology; Books; Characters; Classes; Clues; Details; Editors; Elementary schools; English; Feelings; First drafts; Grades; Handedness; Junior high schools; Left-brain; Library; Lunch; Math; Mirror twins; Parents; Plot; Readers; Reading; Right-brain; Schools; Seventh grade (Education); Strengths; Twin sisters; Twins; Twins Magazine

Subjects: Childhood; Education; Teachers; Writing

00:14:45 - Start of writing

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Partial Transcript: What do you remember about when you started--first started writing?

Segment Synopsis: Herald chronicles the beginning of her writing career in elementary school, and then the reemergence of her career following university.

Keywords: Alfred Hitchcock; Arbor Day; Assignments; Creativity; Determined; Elementary schools; English; Jefferson County Public Schools; Journalism; Letters; Newsletters; Prizes; Published; Rejection slips; Short story; Sonnets; Stories; Television; Third grade (Education); Tree; Twin sisters; Twins; University; Work; Writing contests

Subjects: Authors.; Childhood; Education; Marriage; Writing

00:19:20 - Work and writing

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Partial Transcript: How many articles had you published before you co-authored your first book?

Segment Synopsis: Herald lists several of the various occupations she has had throughout the years that involve writing as a primary task of the job description.

Keywords: Akron (Ohio); Articles; Awards; Children; Feature writing; Hospitals; Husbands; Kentucky Hospital Association; Letters; Life; Newsletters; Occupations; Offices; Owensboro (Ky.); Photography; Pictures; Public relations; Short stories; Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens; Work

Subjects: Authors.; Employment; Writing

00:21:58 - Influences / differences in twins

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Partial Transcript: I'm going back to school days for a second.

Segment Synopsis: Herald briefly mentions several teachers who have been influential upon her writing. Subsequently, Herald talks of the differences she is able to see in twins, as well as the variations (both physically and in their personalities) between herself and her twin sister.

Keywords: Agents; Awareness; Book signings; Brands; Clothes; Conferences; Differences; Faces; Features; Grades; High school; Husbands; Influences; Mirror twins; Opposites; Personality; Purses; Separation; Seventh grade (Education); Twin sisters; Twins; Twins Magazine

Subjects: Authors.; Education; Families.; Teachers; Writing

00:27:58 - College

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Partial Transcript: Uh, there's a lot to genetics because, when we hit college...

Segment Synopsis: Herald recalls her time in college, which was spent at the University of Louisville. The reactions of her parents towards herself and her sister attending college are also examined.

Keywords: Brothers; Business colleges; Campuses; Children; College; Commuting; Determined; Divorce; Driving; Family; Fathers; Feminism; Friends; Genetics; Grades; High schools; Identity; Mothers; Outfits; President's scholarships; Pressure; Scholarships; Schools; Twin sisters; Twins; Upbringing; Women

Subjects: Education; Education, Higher; Families.; Higher education; Marriage; University of Louisville

00:33:45 - Family and education

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Partial Transcript: What happened when you finally graduated? Were they happy for you or?

Segment Synopsis: Herald continues to discuss her family and their attitudes towards higher education. Herald's educational interests, strengths, and weaknesses are also briefly considered.

Keywords: Brothers; Character; College; Decisions; Driving; Experience; Feminism; Health; Humor; Independence; Interests; Issues; Learning; Marriage; Math; Men; Mothers; People; Readers; Reality; Sensibilities; Students; Success; Twin sisters; Twins; Upbringing; Working; World; Writing

Subjects: Education; Education, Higher; Families.; Higher education; University of Louisville

00:40:05 - University of Louisville / husband

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Partial Transcript: If we could talk about your college experience for a moment, you went to the University of Louisville in what year?

Segment Synopsis: Herald further reflects upon her education at the University of Louisville where she earned an associate's degree in biology. The interviewee's social life during this time is also recalled, such as when she met her first husband. Additionally, the lives of both Herald's now deceased ex-husband and ex-brother-in-law are also briefly explored.

Keywords: Art; Associate's degree; Biology; Brother-in-law; Business; Campus; Careers; Classes; Communications; Death; English; Football; Fraternity; Husbands; Ideas; Illnesses; Ithaca (N.Y.); Journalism; Majors; Money; Parties; Philosophy; Pre-med; Professors; Scholarships; Science; Sorority; Twin sisters; Twins; Undergraduate; Women

Subjects: Education; Families.; Marriage; University of Louisville

00:48:04 - First marriage

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Partial Transcript: Um, so you met your first husband--

Segment Synopsis: Herald discusses her life and marriage with her first husband.

Keywords: Apartments; Catholic; Children; Choirs (Music); Colleges; Daughters; Family; Husbands; Jeffersonville (Ind.); Life; Louisville (Ky.); Manufacturing; Mass; Methodist; Occupations; Parents; Relationships; Sons; Toy manufacturers; Traditions; Wedding

Subjects: Churches; Education; Employment; Families.; Marriage; Religion

00:56:18 - Art during marriage / children

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Partial Transcript: And what year did you get divorced?

Segment Synopsis: Herald discusses the paintings of her children that she did towards the end of her first marriage. Herald also describes two of her three children.

Keywords: Acting; Art; Babies; Computer science; Daughters; Details; Divorce; Drawing; Electrical engineering; Eyes; Faces; Intelligence; Letters; National Merit Scholarship; New York (N.Y.); Painting; Personality; Pictures; Reading; Sesame Street; Sons; Supermarkets

Subjects: Children; Families.; Marriage

01:01:52 - Life after divorce / ex-husband's death

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Partial Transcript: What happened after your divorce?

Segment Synopsis: Herald talks of her life following her divorce. The events leading up to her ex-husband's death at a young age and the impact of this on their children are both explored.

Keywords: Childcare; Coronary heart disease; Death; Divorce; Ex-husbands; Health; Illnesses; Life; Louisville (Ky.); Office jobs; Personality; Shorthand; Smoking; Stress; Struggle; Symptoms; Twin sisters; Twins

Subjects: Children; Families.; Marriage

01:07:07 - Second husband

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Partial Transcript: After you divorced, you moved to Owensboro, is that right?

Segment Synopsis: Herald details the career of her second husband, as well as how they met and what their lives are like.

Keywords: Adopted children; Advertisements; Aging; Bosses; Buddy Love; Careers; Chattanooga (Tenn.); Cleveland (Ohio); Disk jockeys; Evansville (Ind.); Family; Greenville (S.C.); Henderson (Ky.); Husbands; Jerry Lewis; Legal secretary; Lexington (Ky.); Life; Louisville (Ky.); Meeting; Occupations; Owensboro (Ky.); Paintsville (Ky.); Program directors; Promotions; Radio names; University of Kentucky; Work

Subjects: Children; Families.; Marriage; Radio stations.

01:15:00 - Niece and nephews / jobs / health

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Partial Transcript: And, in, in, fact Barbara's children are from, are from her first marriage too.

Segment Synopsis: Herald briefly describes her niece and nephews (her twin sister's children). Then, some of the occupations that Herald has previously had are explored. Then, the interviewee's health is touched on, along with another listing of the types of employment Herald has obtained over the years.

Keywords: Akron (Ohio); Allergies; American Lung Association; Aunts; Babysitting; Chamber of Commerce; Dolls; Genetics; Greenville (S.C.); Hair color; Health; Hospitals; Husbands; Malls; Marriage; Marriages; Nephews; Newsletters; Nieces; Occupations; Owensboro (Ky.); Parents; Personnel; Public relations; Shopping; Smoking; South Carolina; Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens; Twin sisters; Twins

Subjects: Employment; Families.; Genealogy

01:21:17 - Work history continued

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Partial Transcript: Well, when you were getting the jobs at the hospitals and the Stanley Hywet Hall, and, and various places doing newsletters...

Segment Synopsis: Herald provides a detailed overview of her work history during her second marriage, and explains why she chose these positions over other job opportunities.

Keywords: Administrators; Arkansas Louisiana Gas Company; Biology; Chattanooga (Tenn.); Daviess County (Ky.); Firing employees; Hospitals; Husbands; Job applications; Lazarus (department store); Letters; Manufacturing company; Marriage; Meetings; Money; Moving; Muhlenberg Community Hospital; Newsletters; Novels; Occupations; Opportunities; Owensboro (Ky.); Patient education; Photography; Public relations; Salary; Staff; Writing

Subjects: Employment

01:29:33 - Writing again / finishing bachelor's degree

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Partial Transcript: Did you have a job during that time?

Segment Synopsis: Herald discusses both beginning to write again on a full-time basis, as well as the completion of her bachelor's degree some years after originally enrolling in college.

Keywords: Bachelor's degrees; Co-authors; Communications; Courses and lectures; Credits; Daviess County (Ky.); Greenville (S.C.); Hospitals; Journalism; Lazarus (department store); Muhlenberg Community Hospital; Novels; Owensboro (Ky.); Public speaking; Published; Short stories; Twin sisters; Twins; University of Akron; University of Louisville; Work; Writing

Subjects: Authors.; Children; Education, Higher; Higher education; Writing

01:32:54 - Hospital job / genres / cinema

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Partial Transcript: And then right after I made that decision I got the job offer at the Owensboro-Daviess County Hospital to be part of their administrative team.

Segment Synopsis: Herald explains the job application process for a position she was able to obtain at a hospital in Daviess County, Kentucky. Herald also talks of the genres that she and her sister write within, and about current cinema.

Keywords: Acting; Administration; Agatha Christie; Books; Chattanooga (Tenn.); Commuting; Department stores; Editing; Evansville (Ind.); Experience; Fiction; Films; Genres; George Clooney; Hospitals; Husbands; Job applications; Kentucky; Learning; Life; Michelle Pfeiffer; Motion pictures; Movies; Murder mystery; Owensboro (Ky.); Romance; Rules; Schools; Staff; Twin sisters; Twins

Subjects: Authors.; Daviess County (Ky.); Employment; Writing

01:39:21 - Writing with sister / dogs

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Partial Transcript: Uh, to date, you and your sister have published two mysteries...

Segment Synopsis: Herald describes what it is like to collaborate with her twin sister on writing projects. The literary styles of the sisters are also compared and contrasted to each other. Following this, Herald talks of her and her sister's dogs, who serve as inspirations for characters in their novels.

Keywords: "Cozy mysteries"; "Double books"; Books; Changes; Chapters; Characters; Comparisons; Deaf; Differences; Divorce settlements; Dogs; Double; Ex-brother-in-law; Future; Humor; Intelligence; Locations; Louisville (Ky.); Maltese; Memory; Mysteries; Novels; Outlines; Owensboro (Ky.); People; Plots (Drama, novel, etc.); Puppy; Research; Setting (Literature); Styles; Suspense; Titles; Tricks; Twin sisters; Twins; Voice

Subjects: Authors.; Families.; Writing

01:48:07 - Business side of writing / future projects

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Partial Transcript: I'm wondering, are you contracted to produce a particular number of...

Segment Synopsis: Herald outlines the business side of her writing such as her contract and agent. Subsequently, Herald discusses upcoming writing projects that she has in mind.

Keywords: Agents; Books; Business; Collaboration; Contracts; Deadlines; Headaches; Husbands; Mysteries; Negotiations; New York (N.Y.); Projects; Release dates; Sentences; Series; Sisters; Twin sisters; Twins

Subjects: Authors.; Health; Writing

01:54:33 - Sources of writing material

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Partial Transcript: Um, I think people often wonder with mystery writers especially, where they get their ideas for their plots.

Segment Synopsis: Herald considers where she and her sister get ideas for their novels from.

Keywords: Books; Books on tape; Driving; Headaches; Health; Mystery; Plots (Drama, novel, etc.); Series; Stress; Twin sisters; Twins; Workshops; Writers workshops

Subjects: Authors.; Writing

01:56:08 - Influences / humor / writing and favorite authors

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Partial Transcript: What other writers do you most admire, and how do you believe their work has r--influenced yours?

Segment Synopsis: Herald considers the most important influences upon her writing. Following this, a humorous event at the funeral of one of Herald's aunts is recalled. The interviewee also explains why she does not read the work of other authors while working on a piece of fiction. Finally, Herald lists the authors that she likes to read the most.

Keywords: "D is for Deadbeat"; Admiration; Aunts; Caskets; Chapels; Curtains; Dorothy Cannell; Funerals; Humanity; Influences; Joan Hess; Laughter; Mysteries; Novels; People; Reading; Sue Grafton; Timing; Twin sisters; Twins; Voice

Subjects: Authors; Writing

02:04:00 - Teaching writing / writing courses

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Partial Transcript: Do you have any notion about the way you think creative writing should be taught?

Segment Synopsis: Herald describes her experience in both teaching writing courses and being a student in such a course. Instances of prospective writers in writing classes and their actions are also shared.

Keywords: Actions; Business writing; Chapters; Colleges; Courses and lectures; English; Exhaustion; Experience; Fiction; Grammar; Henderson Community College; Home; Ideas; Kentucky; Language; Louisville (Ky.); Minneapolis (Minn.); Plot; Products; Published; Rewrites; Situations; Solitary; Theme; Twin sisters; Twins; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Work; Workshops; Writer's workshops; Writers

Subjects: Teaching; Writing

02:09:25 - Revision process / writers group

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Partial Transcript: And how long do you let those first drafts sit before you go back and rewrite?

Segment Synopsis: Herald explains what she does to revise her writing, coupled with a discussion of her use of writers groups.

Keywords: Activities; Agents; Contact; Criticism; Deadlines; Dianne Aprile; Editors; Freedom; Helpful; Ideas; Knowledge; Money; Mystery Writers of America; Newsletters; Problems; Published writers; Revisions; Rewrites; Self-assessment; Sisters in Crime (Organization); Time; Twin sister; Twins; Writers groups; Writers programs

Subjects: Authors; Writing

02:13:59 - Advice for writers / nature of creativity

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Partial Transcript: Uh, do you have any advice for beginning writers?

Segment Synopsis: Herald provides advice to beginning writers. Herald also speculates upon what the nature of creativity is, along with examples of her own creative tendencies.

Keywords: Art; Characters; Christmas; Courage; Creative outlets; Creativity; Drawing; Dreams; Freedom; Learning; Murals; Painting; People; Published; Reindeer; Rejection letters; Risk; Submission; Success; Twin sisters; Twins; Work; Writers

Subjects: Authors.; Writing

02:18:12 - Doll collecting

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Partial Transcript: Yeah. I think, you know, one of the reasons now I'm not painting is because I'm doing dolls.

Segment Synopsis: Herald discusses her recent newfound hobby of collecting and selling vintage dolls, as well as the interests of her husband in collecting war memorabilia.

Keywords: Antique malls; Birthdays; Books; Civil War memorabilia; Cleaning; Clothing; Collectibles; Collections; Creativity; Daughters; Dolls; Flea markets; High schools; Hobbies; Husbands; Louisville (Ky.); Owensboro (Ky.); Presents; Repairs; Selling; Shoes; Thrift shops; Toys; Twin sister; Twins; Vintage; Visual; World War II

Subjects: United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.; World War, 1939-1945

02:26:12 - Death of her son

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Partial Transcript: You referred to your son who died.

Segment Synopsis: Herald discusses the death of her son and the impact this event has had upon her family.

Keywords: Accidents; Death; Highway accidents; Mortality; Oregon; Police; Sons; Survivors; Travel; Truck drivers; Trucks; Walking

Subjects: Children; Families.

02:28:15 - Final thoughts

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Partial Transcript: Uh, is there anything we haven't discussed that you think is particularly important for people to know about you either as a person--

Segment Synopsis: Herald shares her final thoughts on how she would like to be remembered as both a writer and as a person. Then, Herald discusses how her personal life has shaped the writing of herself and her sister.

Keywords: "Double Cross"; Attention; Books; Brothers; Characters; Collaboration; Enjoyment; Experiences; Health; Life; Lives; Mothers; Nice; Novels; Parents; People; Proud; Reading; Series; Twin sister; Twins

Subjects: Authors.; Families.; Writing