Southern Book Tour 2012JL Bryan, author of the critically acclaimed and highly rated Paranormals Series is stopping by to share a little about how he was able to inject the authentic Southern atmosphere into the series.
Thanks to Richard for having me guest post for his Southern Book Tour!
My book Jenny Pox (and its sequels) are set primarily in the fictional South Carolina lowcountry town of Fallen Oak, which is not the happiest place in the world, but has some great scenery. My dad’s side of the family has lived and farmed in that region for many generations (we just do pine trees now).
For this post, I’ve picked out a few of my favorite elements from Jenny Pox, large or small, that reflect the book’s Southern heritage.
MusicJenny Morton’s mother died when Jenny was born, which can happen when you give birth to a girl with a deadly supernatural touch. Jenny never knew her mother, and her main way of connecting with her is listening to the box of old vinyl albums her mother left behind. Fortunately, Jenny’s mom had great taste in country music, so Jenny listens to a lot of Johnny Cash, The Carter Family, and Patsy Cline. Good country music expresses pain, loneliness, and love in the plainest and strongest terms, and so I played a lot of it while writing Jenny Pox.
CharlestonOne of the oldest cities in the United States, and still one of the prettiest. In the second book, Tommy Nightmare, I get to spend some time in this historic city, throw a musical festival there, and wreck the city with a riot. That’s just how I show affection.
Oak trees (& moss)I love old oak trees, they’re twisted and gnarled and they look like they’re full of magical secrets. I even called the town in Jenny Pox “Fallen Oak.” There’s something very rich and vibrant to me about an environment full of ancient, moss-thick trees. Maybe because they remind me of my grandmother’s farm in South Carolina.
Piggy WigglyJenny, and everyone in Fallen Oak, shops at the Piggly Wiggly. I’m not sure why I love the Piggly Wiggly so much, but I suppose it’s because their stores seem to be located only in small towns and out-of-the-way places.
My favorite things about my own stories are usually tiny details. In the second book, Jenny’s father is excited when he gets a good deal on a slab of hoop cheese. He keeps enthusiastically urging Jenny and her boyfriend to try the hoop cheese, which they don’t. In the end, the only person who shares his enthusiasm is a villain character, Tommy, who breaks into Jenny’s house for other reasons and feels like he hit the gold mine when he spies the slab of cheese on the cutting board. Unfortunately, Jenny’s dad never learns that someone finally appreciated it.
And that’s a fairly random-sounding collection of some of my favorites details. Thanks again, Richard!
For more information on the series, click the covers below. I have started reading Jenny Pox and am hooked! You guys should really check it out!
About the author
J.L. Bryan studied English literature at the University of Georgia and at Oxford, with a focus on the English Renaissance and the Romantic period. He also studied screenwriting at UCLA. He enjoys remixing elements of paranormal, supernatural, fantasy, horror and science fiction into new kinds of stories.
He is the author of The Paranormals series of horror novels (Jenny Pox, Tommy Nightmare, and Alexander Death) the Songs of Magic series for younger readers (Fairy Metal Thunder, Fairy Blues, and Fairystruck...so far) and other books. He lives in Atlanta with his wife Christina, their son, and some dogs and cats.