My Personal Backstory
I grew up a preacher's kid in Georgia and Alabama. My identity as a Southerner is stronger than my identity as an American simply because it goes back farther -- to at least age three when was too young to articulate it. We would climb into our pale green Henry J to go to church, to town, or to visit family, and I would stand in the front seat (no wussie car seats or lap belts for us Boomer kids, nosiree), stare out the windows, and feel a sense of belonging to this place...
At the time, the place that evoked this sense of belonging was my hometown, Dalton, Georgia, but as I grew older, the boundaries of my place expanded outward. By the time I reached my teens, it encompassed the entire South.
My Writing Background
I'm a former staff writer for The Florida Sun, (now the Pensacola Independent News), which was published, starting in 1999, in Pensacola, Florida by former Congressman Joe Scarborough (now the star of "Morning Joe" on MSNBC).
"Read Cover to Cover, Never Bound by the Truth" said the little slogan in the top left corner of the cover. My articles were all nonfiction and ran the gamut from travel to current events and chemtrails to Bigfoot in Dixie.
Pop Culture Authors Who Inspired Me to Write
Rex Stout -- author of the Nero Wolf detective series -- the voice of Archie Goodwin, who shares with Scout Finch the honor
of being my favorite first-person narrator. I read my first Wolfe Book at age thirteen, Might As Well Be Dead.
Frances Parkinson Keyes -- her sprawling Louisiana novels are a bit dated now and politically incorrect but her settings and characters are highly memorable. (Clyde Batchelor of Steamboat Gothic is the quintessential romance hero, in my humble opinion.)
Dixie Browning -- Back in the '80s, Dixie was the first to inspire me to try my hand at writing romance. Most of Dixie's novels that I read were set in the South, along the Atlantic coast, which was a big attraction for me. It was doubly enjoyable because I could tell Dixie was a Southerner and knew her setting and her people.
Margaret Mitchell and Harper Lee -- Need I say more?