Agnes Alexander – Mother, Grandmother, Writer
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My mother read a book and the main character’s name was Lynette. She decided when her first child was born it would be named Lynette. I turned out to be that child. My daddy wanted to name me Martha, after his mother, but my eighteen-teen-year-old mother refused to name me after his and not name me after hers and she was still bent on the fact I’d be Lynette. Therefore, I became Martha Lynette Agnes Hall. Later my grandmother insisted she drop the name Agnes, and she did. I learned all this when I was a young girl and for some reason I felt cheated out of one of my names.
When I decided to use a pen name, I immediately decided it would be Agnes. The last name was a bit of a problem. My married name was Hampton, but for some reason that didn’t seem to fit. After some thought, I decided since Agnes was my maternal grandmother’s name, I’d add my paternal grandfather’s name as my last name. It fit well. That was when Agnes Alexander became a reality. Now as many people know me as Agnes as they do Martha or Lynette.
For the first ten years of my life I lived in a rural community in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It was a hard life, and at times it could be lonely. I spent a lot of hours reading anything I could get my hands on. Lots of times it would be my brother’s comic books and at others it would be anything I could check when the bookmobile came to our community. When I didn’t have anything to read, I made up my own stories.
My love of anything western was set during this period of my life. My brother, who was four years younger than me, wanted to play cowboy and Indians. Of course I played with him. We rode all over those hills on our cornstalk horses, shooting outlaws and rounding up cattle. (My sister was a baby at the time and was unable to play with us.)
When I was ten, we moved to the Piedmont section of North Carolina, where I grew up, married and had a daughter. I worked at many jobs during my lifetime. I worked at R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company as a timekeeper and payroll clerk; as a human resource manager for a manufacturing company; and after my daughter was born, I sold Tupperware and Christmas Around the World at home parties so I could take my daughter with me. When my husband opened a real estate company, I was able to become a stay at home mom and concentrate on my writing.
My daughter started school, and I decided to fulfill another dream of mine – going to college. I attended nearby Winston-Salem State University. It was here that my longed for writing career began to take shape. My English professor insisted I send some of my writings in to magazines – and believe it or not, many of them were published. I also sold two books for children. I was always working on a novel, but didn’t dare send it out because I was unsure of myself.
Finally I worked up my courage and at a writer friend’s suggestion sent out my first mystery novel. It was published in 2004. I was delighted when it was nominated for the best NC fiction by the Historical and Literary Society of NC. That proved to me that I could have a writing career.
After twenty books published, in 2011 I turned to writing the books that I most love to read, the Western Historical Romance. It was then I became Agnes Alexander, because I wanted a different identity. I decided to write 26 of these books and title each one with a woman’s name beginning with a different letter of the alphabet, but not in order. The first one published was Fiona’s Journey. It came out in 2012. Since then, I’ve had 15 of these books published and I have plots worked out for some of the next 11.
(See Books for the names of all my published books that are still in print)