“Why are your books set in Alabama?” is a popular question when people find out that I don’t hail from that great state. I grew up in small-town Louisiana and I live in the Atlanta suburbs, but I write about Alabama. More about that in a minute.
But first, let’s talk about the South. Why not Louisiana? When you think of Louisiana, your mind immediately plays zydeco music and sees purple, green, and gold plastic beads. I, personally, begin to smell boiling crawfish and crave bread pudding. But, unless I want to try and explain how Louisiana is separated into three distinct demographic and geographic regions, it’s hard to set a “southern” novel there. By the way, the three regions are: New Orleans, Cajun Country, and Redneck. It’s a fun place. Soon.
I live in Georgia, and it’s a fine place to reside, but everybody thinks of Atlanta. Period.
There are the wonderful Carolinas in the South, but they are considered more a moss-laden “low country” South. The drawl is different and often has a coastal feel. It’s a southern sub-genre that’s owned by the biggies like Mary Alice Monroe and Pat Conroy (God rest his soul).
Florida isn’t considered the South. Not really. Only geographically.
Texas. That’s all sexy cowboy rancher stuff.
Arkansas. Sigh. I don’t know Arkansas.
Missisippi. Maybe someday in the Delta.
Ten Reasons I Used Alabama as a Setting for My Novel
- It’s in the South. Way South.
- Every time I pass through Alabama on my way to the beach, I feel an overwhelming urge to stop and sit on a stranger’s porch and drink sweet tea. That’s how cute the old houses are in Eufaula, Alabama.
- Have you heard Tom Hanks pronounce Al-uh-bahma in Forrest Gump? Love. Also, the way natives pronounce Mo’ beel, Mont gum’rey, and Green’vul. It’s the best kind of Southern that rolls off the tongue.
- Every time I pass through Alabama on my way home to Louisiana from Georgia, I cross this awesome lake with lovely houses on its banks. I have that same urge to stop and sit on a stranger’s dock and drink sweet tea.
- Alabama has lake(s) and a beach. And sweet tea.
- SEC football. Roll Tide. Go Auburn Tigers! Just kidding, I’m an LSU Tiger fan. Don’t hate me.
- Bless your heart.
- God Love You.
- Talladega, right? I think I had to mention NASCAR, even though it’s too loud for my delicate eardrums.
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Have a lovely day, everyone!