Friday, August 29, 2014

Setting: Center Stage in The Oleander Sisters by Elaine Hussey

I grew up reading and loving the novels and short stories of great Southern writers such as Eudora Welty, William Faulkner and Flannery O’Conner, and the plays of Tennessee Williams. In all of them, the sense of place was so strong I could feel myself there, in the story with the characters, holing up with Sister in the small-town post office in Welty’s Why I Live at the PO and prowling a mansion on a Delta plantation, trying to figure out how to deal with Sister Woman and her no-neck monsters in William’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
When I chose the setting for The Oleander Sisters, I wanted a time and a place that would directly impact the story. The summer of 1969 in Biloxi, Mississippi, had exactly the kind of excitement I needed. In July, Neil Armstrong walked on the moon and in August, Hurricane Camille blew the Gulf Coast nearly off the map. I loved the contrast between hope and despair. I loved that I could put my characters to the test in a category five storm that mirrored the tsunami going on in their private lives.
As always, I did extensive research to write a novel set in the not-so-distant past. The true stories that came out of Camille were so fascinating I sometimes got caught up in the research and had a hard time making myself get back to my own novel.
I did, of course, and many of you have written to say how you relate to the sisters, and how you once lived through a storm, and – oh, best of all – how you love the book! Thank you for letting me stop by to chat with you. I’ll be giving away two digital copies of The Oleander Sisters today. Do leave a comment for a chance to win. Ask anything you like about the book, and I’ll be here to answer your questions.

1 comment:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...