Author Background The author of Cold Sassy Tree, Olive Ann Burns, was born in 1924. Her real name is Amy Larkin. When she first had thoughts about writing, she did not know anything about writing structure and didn't know any literary terms at all. But when she was diagnosed with cancer in 1975 she decided to go for it and write a book. This book was called Cold Sassy Tree and happened to be her only published book. Before writing Cold Sassy Tree she was a journalist for the Journal and the Constitution. She also voiced her opinions through a column called "Ask Amy." She worked on Cold Sassy Tree for eight and a half years, finishing in her early 60's. Cold Sassy Tree was based on her family history in many ways even though it is fiction. While writing the book she interviewed her family members to get information and to know the rhythm of their speech.
She grew up in the south and therefore knew the setting for the book from living there. Her father's remembering of his youth in Commerce, Georgia was a model for Cold Sassy. Olive Ann Burns got the setting place, Georgia, from her father's story and the style of life. Will Tweedy, the main character, was based on Olive's father also.
Olive's great-grandfather Powers told her stories of his life that inspired the character Grandpa Blakeslee. Especially, because when Grandpa Powers' wife died he married a young woman soon after just like Grandpa Blakeslee. Grandpa Powers' second wife influenced the creation of Miss Love, except the physical appearance was made opposite.
Finally, while writing her sequel to Cold Sassy Tree her cancer came back and she died on July 4, 1990. Overall, Olive Ann Burn's early life and family were very influential in writing Cold Sassy Tree.