Last week at TurnRow Books in Greenwood, MS- I got to hang out with 2 Southern Lit authors who rock my socks off!
Lisa Patton (Southern as a Second Language) and Susan Gregg Gilmore (The Funeral Dress)- 2 women, 2 different types of Southern Lit, 2 authors that you must go and buy all their books! Lisa’s are more funny- the lighter side of life; where Susan’s are more about strong women and trying circumstances- yet, each author writes a book that can and should be read by women looking for great reads.
The reading took place in an area of TurnRow that I had not seen- the outdoor porch area. Comfy couches, a nice rocking chair- there was a bit of a nip in the air as the people who attended the book signing settled in to listen to the lovely ladies talk. Susan read first and gave the listeners a bit of a backstory about The Funeral Dress, life for the women factory workers (the women were proud to be able to support/provide for their family by working) and the area where The Funeral Dress is set. She also told of the man that the funeral director was inspired by- his name was Rory Joe and Susan talked of how nice and sweet he was- even when he facing grim circumstances of death.
Lisa Patton read next- and recently finishing reading for the audio version of Southern as a Second Language- she was ready with her voices! As Lisa read, the crowd laughed along because while what she was reading was funny- Lisa, herself, was also a comical aspect! After reading, she told us that the 3rd book was supposed to be titled Dixie in Bloom (because it had Dixie like her previous 2 books), but at the last minute, a new title had to be selected- therefore, Southern as a Second Language was selected (a title she liked much better, anyway!)
One of the audience members asked “if there was ever a moment that they felt they had a sign that writing was the right career path” and Susan thought for a minute- then she told a story. Susan talked about living in California, having finished writing an article for Christian Science Monitor, and deciding to begin writing a screenplay (which she says is much harder than she thought!) Slowly begins mulling the idea over about a book and writing some- when a friend told her to go back to Tennessee for a writer weekend event. At first she did not want to go, Susan was not a fan of flying- but she went. And she was glad she did because she saw her old English teacher Lee Smith, who told her to wait for her that day and she would look over/discuss what Susan was currently writing. After telling the story- Susan said that was a moment she felt she was on the right path, a sign that she was on the right path!
Both Lisa and Susan talked about how writing Southern Lit makes it harder for the foreign rights to their books to be sold (which I think is a shame!) Talking about book covers, Susan spoke of Jill McCorkle saying “Give me the same type of cover you would give a male author”.
Seeing both Lisa and Susan again and getting my books signed by them was such a treat- but even more, was just listening to them talk, telling the backstory of the books, of the writing process. I highly encourage that if you enjoy book signings, to go and see 1 or both if you get a chance!