Character Interview: Ava Carstairs Pierce

Who is Ava Carstairs Pierce?

Ava joined the Pierce Family Saga cast in Book 2, For Want of a Father, and married Hiram Pierce in Book 3, Hiram’s Boy. She created havoc and splintered the family in Book 4, Hiram’s War. But who is Ava really? As the author, I set up an interview with the woman many readers love to hate and asked a few questions.

But before the interview, a few facts

Ava was 30 years old when she married Hiram on September 1, 1860. She is 5 feet, 7 inches tall. Red (dark auburn) hair, green eyes. Sturdily built. Not overweight, but big-boned. She has five defining personal qualities: shrewd, ambitious, manipulative, jealous, and impulsive.

Ava Carstairs: Interview with the author

Author: Hello, Ava. Thank you for joining me today. I’ve been wanting to get to know more about you ever since you showed up unexpectedly in Book 2.

Ava: You’ve had three books to get to know me. You didn’t care before, so why now?

Author: You were always an important character, but in Hiram’s Girls, you will have your own point of view chapters. For me to tell readers your side of the story, I need to know more. Will you help me out?

Ava: I suppose. What do you want to know?

Author: What brought you to Hidden Springs?

Ava: My cousin, Agnes, was here, and I had no place else to go after Jack Yates ran out on me. The law was after us, and Jack figured he could travel faster on his own. Agnes’s husband Joe didn’t want to let me in, but she finally persuaded him to let me stay for a few weeks. I hoped Jack might come for me. Until that happened, I tried to fit in, even sang in the church choir, and that’s how I met Hiram. I wasn’t impressed at first, but then I found out he had his own business, a nice home, and a respected position in the community. Well, I wasn’t getting any younger, so when Hiram asked me to marry him, I said yes.

Author: I already know all that. Tell me something I don’t know.

Ava: Like what?

Author: What are some of your first memories?

Ava: My mother left me with my uncle and his family when I was four years old. I’d just had a birthday and got a rag doll for a present. Then Agnes, my cousin who was five years older, got a doll with a china head and hair and that looked like a baby. Agnes always got the good stuff, and I got her hand-me-downs. 

Author: You sound jealous.

Ava: Wouldn’t you be? Can we move this on? I’d rather think of something else.

Author: Okay. What can you tell me about your son, Daniel? What is your last memory of him?

Ava: Leaving him on the Laird’s doorstep. I couldn’t take care of him. Jack had gone off when he knew I wasn’t going to win the court case against Gerald Ward’s estate. I couldn’t prove Ward was Daniel’s father, and his relatives, the Lairds, showed some evidence that he wasn’t. So I had no money, and Agnes’s husband, Joe, kicked me out when the bad publicity caused so much gossip his customers started shopping elsewhere. Wherever Daniel ended up, he was better off there than with me.

Author: Surely, you have some good memories.

Ava: My best memory was marrying Hiram. I laugh at that now, but then it seemed like a dream come true. I thought he loved me. He even believed in me enough to toss out his son and leave his daughters by Minerva in Westport with their aunt. I promised him sons, but I birthed girls. That’s when I found out he didn’t really care about me. He only cared about the possibility I might give him a son. Still, I could mostly get what I wanted from him, but the town turned against us when he kicked Ambrose out, and they blamed me. Well, it was my doing, but who needs the approval of a bunch of self-righteous hypocrites?

Author: If that was your best memory, what was your worst?

Ava: How do I pick one worst memory out of so many bad ones? Jack Yates is the reason for most of them. He was Daniel’s father, but he ran out on us, which I’ve already told you about. Even so, I always went with him when he asked me, only to have him to desert me again. The absolute worst was this last time in Colorado when he got arrested. I had to steal a horse and run from the law in the middle of the night because he had stopped to gamble on our way out of town. If we’d just left as soon as we’d collected the gold, everything would have worked out. I can’t let them catch me. I can’t–I can’t talk about this anymore.

Author: I’m sorry to have upset you. Maybe we can talk more later. Readers, if you have any questions for Ava, leave them in the comments. Ava, thank you for your time.