People have asked me why I write about the South when I don’t live there. It would be simple to write about where I live but not really a challenge or interesting to me. Am I always going to describe these places exactly as they are? No and honestly I don’t always want to. I write fiction. I do enjoy creating stuff in my head that doesn’t necessarily match what I have seen. It ends up more of an amalgamation of what I make up and life experience. It is one of the best things about writing fiction. I get to make places look and feel the way I want.
Jasmine, the main character in my book, Breathe, gets to have a say in where her family moves. She chooses Louisiana. She wants a fresh start in a place totally different from where she comes from as I mentioned in my post about Lafayette. I loved the idea of some place with swamps and rivers, big beautiful weeping willows and roads that twist and turn to unknown destinations. An air of mystery was what I needed. A place with a long history. A place where people knew who their ancestors were all the way back to the Civil War.
I also wanted to create a hero with charm and manners. When I think of those two things and where they might exist, the South is the first thing that comes to mind. There really is something sexy about a man born with a whole lot of charm. I am a sucker for charming. If he comes with good manners too, I am a goner. So I created Easton Ward. He is confident without being cocky. He has more charm than anyone should and his manners are impeccable. He is also very easy on the eyes.
Family is the next reason I looked to the South. I love big families. I am half Italian but since my Dad moved out here from New York and almost everybody else stayed, I was raised with very little family beyond the immediate. Growing up I wished and prayed for a bigger family. I would have loved to have had tons of brothers and sisters and cousins to hang out with. I love the idea of a large family crammed into one house, cooking and eating together at birthdays and holidays. Laughing and playing games, retelling stories of times past, kids and pets running everywhere. Easton’s family fit my ideal of a large Southern family. They each have their own quirky personality and they all love each other even with the flaws.
So that is why the South fits my stories. The stories I want to write right now are set there because it works. And the voices in my head have Southern accents so what's a girl to do?