First I’d like to thank the amazing Angie Fox for inviting me. I love her books, and she’s a really nice person.
I’m celebrating the release of my latest book, The Ugly Truth, a paranormal romantic comedy set in a small town in Tennessee.
Today, I’m going to make a confession. I used to be ashamed of the little town where I grew up. For years, I refused to acknowledge I grew up in Graysville, Tennessee. Then I wrote a book about a small town.
The heroine, Stephie, like me, is ashamed of her little hometown. Her friend, Madison, is proud of hers--Ugly Creek. While writing the book, I had to think through both sides of the issue, why a person from a tiny little spot on the map would be ashamed, and reasons why a person would be proud. It was a learning experience.
I had to think through the idea of uneducated rednecks—both parts of the stereotype come from the hard work to survive in small rural areas. The term redneck comes from the reddening of the neck from working long hours in the hot sun. Education took a backseat to the work needed to support the family. Even today, education is not as important as work. Survival comes before learning, and many still live below the poverty line in the rural south.
Not everybody in small Southern towns are poor and uneducated, but where I came from the majority are. I was fortunate that education was important in my family, and the adults had jobs that supported us so we could go to school.
Something I remembered as I wrote The Ugly Truth was the big heart of these small towns. Helping each other is important to Southern folks. And I’m proud to come from a place with a big heart. Tennessee, after all, is known as the “Volunteer State” because of the thousands from Tennessee who volunteered in the war of 1812.
My family has lived in Tennessee for generations. We have deep roots in this rocky ground. Which makes it bittersweet that my husband and I are moving to Florida sometime in the next few months.
In honor of the release of The Ugly Truth, I’m going to give a PDF copy to one lucky person who comments on the blog. I’m going to randomly pick the winner, so be sure to comment for a chance to win!
Thanks for having me here.