Friday, August 20, 2010

Why I love Southern novels – as reader and writer

Judy Christie
I like biscuits and books.
I hate hurry and worry.  
Our world would be a better place if everyone ate more biscuits, read more books, and quit running around like chickens with their heads chopped off.  Or, that's what I think anyway.
About ten years ago, I decided to slow my life down and enjoy each day more.  When I stopped living in a tizzy, I thought about that Southern novel I had always wanted to write. On my fiftieth birthday, I committed to write it -- a gift to myself.
The birthday cake got stale before I put fictional words on paper. With my old laptop booted up and a few days clear on my calendar, I thought back to all those wonderful Southern books I had read and what I liked about them – a sense of place, characters I cared about, humor, and not quite knowing what might happen next.
 I typed sentences. Deleted sentences. Typed more. (I was the state champion typist in high school, so the typing part was easy.) I read a lot about how to write a novel, talked to a good friend or two, and sorted through notes. I began to move to the fictional town of Green, Louisiana, where my writing journey intersected with the launch of the inspirational fiction line at Abingdon Press.
One year ago this month that first novel, “Gone to Green,” made its debut – with a starred review in Publisher’s Weekly and a big hug to the FedEx guy who delivered the first copies. This month the second novel in The Green Series, “Goodness Gracious Green,” was released, and thoroughly celebrated at a big party on a very hot day. In February, “The Glory of Green” will be out.  Readers say they look forward to it – both for the story and because it will release in winter.
I plan to take readers back to Green three more times after that because there’s so much that goes on in a small southern town. “Rally ‘Round Green” is under way, also for release in 2011.
Grab a biscuit and think about the joy of the Southern novel.
            If you’re a reader, check out Southern writers – as different as the opinions neighbors have about the best kind of tomatoes to grow, and as alike as your family's dishes at Thanksgiving. If you want to write a novel, do it. Put those first scary words on the page. The “delete” key is a wonderful invention, but not half as much fun as the rest of the keyboard.
            If you’re a writer, find your unique voice. Stay true to who you are and the tales you want to tell.
           Happy reading, one and all! I’ll be looking for you down in Green.

7 comments:

The Pulpwood Queen said...

You can read more about Judy Christie at www.judychristie.com. She has a whole series of "Hurry Less, Worry Less" books that I am working my way through as I am one of those chickens she was referring to running around with their heads chopped off. Judy also has amazing organizational skills of which I am now proud to say I harness everytime I can coerce her in to my stable of champion author gatherings. Yee haw!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Wish our southern town was similar to your description.

Darla said...

Judy! Good to see you on here! I have told you before and I will say it here publicly I enjoy your Green Series so much. Lois is turning into a character that I very much wish I could go have lunch with! When you get to know Lois and Green you can't help but want more. I'm glad you will be giving us more!

Susan Cushman said...

It's encouraging to me that you published your first novel after 50... I'm pushing 60 and working on my first:-) Great post.

Marilyn said...

Being at the book party for "Goodness Gracious Green" was a WARM and wonderful day; and reading GGG on the way home was delightful! We have given out copies to friends and family, great gifts..
I'm eagerly awaiting the next book in Feb.

Renea said...

Wonderful post Judy. Very inspiring from a fellow headless-chicken.

Cilla said...

Judy, I absolutely loved Goodness Gracious Green, read the whole book the day I got it! You are such a talent, and super writer, and I really enjoyed every one of your books. Congratulations!