Multi-platinum entertainer Sara Evans has always been one to speak her mind and tell her truth. In her new memoir Born to Fly, she does exactly that. We talk with her about some of her early Missouri memories.

Your memoir begins with some sweet and rather specific recollections of growing up in New Franklin, Missouri. Was it challenging to reach back and remember details from those early days?

I have always had a very vivid memory of my childhood. I read somewhere that psychologists say children remember things like the time spent on vacation and playing outdoors and eating at the dinner table with family. And I did those things more than anything. I literally was outside all of the time, on my motorcycle or on a horse or working on the farm. But one of the things I remember the most is eating dinner together, sitting around the table as a family. Those were such good times.

You also touch on the tough times, and you actually go into great detail about the car accident that almost took your life. What was it like going back to that painful time?

When you have a near-death experience, you end up having this real intimacy with God, because even at eight years old, I knew how close I was to dying. God saved me. Getting hit by a car going seventy-five miles an hour and living? That’s miraculous. It truly is.

How did that accident change you?

I had this real knowing of God from that point on. People would visit me in the hospital and keep telling me that God was looking out for me and that he had a purpose for me, and that message got implanted in me. I had already known that I had been given the gift of singing. So obviously, I put those two together. I could sing for people and entertain people and use my God-given gift to make people happy.

You recently moved from Alabama back to Tennessee, but do you still feel like a Missourian at heart?

I guess I do. At the end of the day, I will always consider myself just a girl from Missouri. There is no place like it. There is not a lot of drama. We get to the point. And luckily, I get to go home to Missouri all of the time. My whole family is still there. It will always be home to me.

And now, your kids seem to be following in your musical footsteps. How does it feel to watch that?

It’s a very full-circle moment to watch my son Avery play the guitar and Olivia sing with me. They have been surrounded by music their entire lives. I mean, they grew up on the bus with me. I’m pretty sure they know more about the industry than some industry executives do [laughs]. I raised my kids to be free-spirited. I preached to them to not be afraid to do anything they want to do. But most of all, I told them to follow their dreams … and they certainly have done that.