I don’t actually write about writing, I write about eatin’ and livin’.
And Feedin’ and Livin’ are pretty much uppermost in my mind at all times. As in, what to cook next and what do I feel like eating today. How are my taste buds speaking to me about what they want. I can smell a spice or taste some new (pepper jelly) and different something that someone else has made and automatically think of a way to use it in a new recipe. That’s how I came up with sweet potato biscuits with pepper jelly and shaved country ham. It just seemed like it would be excellent together and it was. Its also how I came up with garlic cheddar cheese grit cakes topped with a braised mixture of turnip and mustard greens sprinkled with finely chopped purple onion. Really pretty and an excellent finger food. That last recipe started with “How can I make Grits and turnip greens a finger food?”after that its all sort of visceral response, as is most of my life, apparently as is, most of my writing.
I started writing my book about 5 years ago, I didn’t even know what category to put it in when I started, I just started writing because I didn’t have a choice really the words just poured out of me. But there was a woman who has become a really good friend of mine, Charlotte Rains Dixon, she was my mentor in the beginning and will be, forever and always. She pointed me in the right direction and helped me to understand what it was that I was doing. She continues to help me to this day. Her new book is being published the 16th of this Month, Emma Jeans Bad Behavior!
Her website is http://www.charlotterainsdixon.com, go there, buy her book you will be happy and smarter for the effort. Now, I will answer these questions about my book and direct you onto some others that are writers as well and they will answer questions too!
1. What is the working title of your book? In the Shadow of the Blue Ridge
2. Where did the idea come from for the book? I had grown up in a way of life that existed in the late 50’s and early 60’s that really no longer exists. Where family’s are close (down the street) and everyone watches out for everyone else, people grow their own food and raise their own chickens. But the thing I realized that was very different, not until my early 30’s unfortunately, was what I grew up in was a matricidal family, women ran the whole shebang. (pun intended) They made the rules, owned the land, plowed the fields, planted the seed and pulled the weeds harvested the crops, canned and froze the food, wrung the chickens neck for dinner, plucked it and had dinner on the table EVERY DAY! All while keeping house and working, often, a full time public job. They wrote music, played instruments, sang beautifully, told stories and taught children right from wrong. Don’t get me wrong there were men but they were off working the railroad or at the barber shop. When Helen Reddy sang “I am Woman hear me Roar…” in 1975, the women in my family had been roaring for generations. And they raised me to roar! It actually never occurred to me that I was not the equal of ANY man, because the first 10 years of my life, I watched women run the world. I realized that was a unique upbringing and I wanted to write about those women and how it helped me in my view of the world.
3. What genre does your book come under? How about Creative Non-Fiction/Memoir, that sounds good.
4. Which actors would you choose to play your character in a movie rendition? That’s a hard one, I don’t really keep up with actors much, because its a simple story about children and growing up, I would think unknown actors would be the best. That’s all I got.
5. What is a one sentence synopsis of your book? As I tend to be wordy this could be hard, but here goes. A young girl named Butchie grows up with the freedoms accorded by a southern small town in the 60’s, but also with the strictures that social and cultural norms presented within her own family and how the women in her family actually handled that.
6. Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency? None of the above.
7. How long did it take you to write a first draft of your manuscript? Still going.
8. What other stories would you compare this story to within your genre? Jim the Boy by Tony Early
9.Who or what inspired you to write this book? All the wonderful, magical, strong Women that came before me in my family, and with their loving kindness, got me growed up.
10. What else about your book might pique the readers interest? It about a time and a place and a way of living that many people are wanting to turn back to, growing their own food , having their own chickens, the slow food movement is a good example, supposedly it was started in North Carolina , the land of my book and my birth. I mean slow food was all about my early childhood, Granny would send my brother and me to the garden to pick some ripe corn for dinner and we’d SLOWLY walk back to the house with a dozen ears in our little arms, arguing all the way about who picked the best corn. It was ALL the best corn, best corn I ever ate!
If you back to the beginning of this blog you will realize that this is also dedicated to those wonderful women and that way of life.
I am sending you on to my writer friends blogs and you must go there.
The first one I mentioned yesterday, Kory Wells, a sweet southern genteel woman who drinks good Bourbon straight up and writes wonderful poems about almost everything that is good and true. http://www.korywells.com
Ashley Wrye Loar, who moved her happy mid-western self to sunny L.A. via Nashville where she landed for 10 years and met her husband Chef. We met in a writers group I was privileged to be a part of, she is my red-headed little sister who is also a gifted writer. Find her truths at http://www.brilliantmediocrity.blogspot.com
And my good friend Amanda Moon, what a great name for a writer huh? she is working on her 3rd book I believe, and is so gifted it makes me sick, no really! Physically sick! She is half my age with twice my talent and 10 times my drive. she keeps me on the cutting edge of all the literary things going on in our area and actually doesn’t mind being seen in public with such an old lady. She even walks slower for me. Catch her at http://www.amandamichellemoon.com
These are probably not direct links to their websites but I don’t quite get the way of that, I am after all, elderly. But copy and paste them you can do it! As a reward………
Tomorrow you get the recipe for my sweet potato biscuits, where to get that shaved country ham and pepper jelly, also the recipe for garlic cheddar grit cakes with braised turnip/mustard greens.