Thursday, April 28, 2016

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Mississippi Nights

You ever wonder how an author "sees" her characters? Or the types of vehicles used or places visited?

In Mississippi Nights the story of two brothers, torn apart by a tragedy, is told through their eyes. The bond of brotherhood goes much deeper since brotherhood also pertains to their professions. Jeremy is a police officer and his younger brother, David, is a firefighter. No matter how they try to stay away from each other, their lives, personal and professional, are thrown onto the path of the other. 

I used real places to give a sense of depth of my setting: Southaven, Olive Branch, Arkabulta, and Pick Wick Lake. These are actual places in Mississippi, although the town of Jasper City is fictional. Some readers will note similarities in Jasper City. That's because I drew from the towns Batesville, Hernando, and Oxford to create the downtown layout of Jasper City.

What about my characters? Did I use actual people for them? No, I didn't. I did, however, draw upon personalities of many people and used the characteristics of Type A's to create the brothers. Southern men are a different breed and give them a profession like theirs, and it takes it to a whole new level.

As for Maggie, I needed a person who could bring in a balance. She has her own faults, but her loving and compassionate nature far outweighs any vice. Without her, it would have been just two rams butting heads with no sense of direction. But in order to have her a viable part of the relationship and a reason for being in the midst of the confrontational brothers, I had Jeremy married to her cousin Sarah. Of course this throws another wrench into the situation since it's her father who is the pastor of the Boyette family's church.

 And there would be no story if there were not any secrets, and David carries two life altering secrets. One secret led to his fall into another. Of course as it is always with family, secrets have a way of showing themselves eventually.

This story is one that is dear to me. Not because it's my first published book, but because I dreamed these characters long before the idea of writing them came to be. I breathed and molded them for six months. I lived their lives and heartaches and joys. Now I'm writing an equally emotional book which is a follow-up with David, Maggie, and Poppy, the little girl who stole David's heart.

Until then, be on the look out in months to come for a new book with new characters and set in the South, this time Alabama.