Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Guest blogger Cheryel Hutton + book giveaway!

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.


SandyG265 said...

The town I grew up in in NJ is only 3 square miles. I liked it when I was a kid because we could jump on our bikes and ride around town during the summer without anyone worrying about us.

Cheryel Hutton said...

New Jersey isn't a place where I'd normally think "small town," but where you grew up sounds a lot like where I grew up.

Thanks for commenting.

Xakara said...

I always considered Milwaukee a small town, because it wasn't New York City or Los Angeles. Then I went on a road trip and saw truly small towns and got an entirely new perspective. I see both the sense pride and the sense of shame that could come from it, so I'm definitely interested in reading your take.


Kimberley Troutte said...

I'm living in a small town now. I love recognizing folks everywhere I go. There's a real sense of pride and being part of a community. Then again, I recognize folks EVERYWHERE I GO, even when I'm in my sweaty workout cloths. People come up to me on the street and tell me they like the new plants I put in the front yard. Others wonder when I'm going to replace the rotten fence, which is an obvious eyesore. Even to me, people! There are two sides to every coin. Your book sounds awesome!

Mary Marvella said...

Growing up in Augusta, Georgia, I thought our neighborhood was the town, and of course Grandma's house and florist were a special spot in the town. When we moved to Newton, Mississippi, the town was so small it was like a neighborhood.

Angie Fox said...

I'm like Xakara. I grew up in St. Louis, which isn't technically a small town, but it seems like all social groups intersect and we compare ourselves to big cities like Chicago or New York, so we always seem to think of ourselves as a small town.

Cheryel Hutton said...

Xakara and Angie, I get what you mean. When I left Graysville and moved to Chattanooga, I mentioned to a new friend that I'd moved to the big city. She laughed and told me I had just proven the theory of relativity. She was from New Orleans, Chatt. was small.

Thanks for commenting!

Cheryel Hutton said...

Kimberely, that's one of the things I loved and hated. It was nice knowing everybody, but they knew you--all about you, and your family. It wasn't a comfortable feeling knowing you were being judged by things your grandparents did.

Cheryel Hutton said...

Mary, that's Graysville a neighborhood, LOL.

Thanks for commenting, all of you! I'm going to use a random number generator to pick the winner.

tiarella said...

I didn't know you were moving. We'll have to get together for coffee sometime.

I'm from a small town that's even embarrassing to pronounce - Hohenwald which sounds a lot like hole-in-the-wall.

Cheryel Hutton said...

Coffee sounds great.
Thanks for commenting!