I write Southern-fried fiction. But how is writing Southern different to writing fiction set elsewhere? It's a lot more than throwing a few “y’alls” into the story. Southern is a way of life, a set of priorities intrinsic to the South. It’s a sixty-year-old, former pro football player calling his parents “mama” and "daddy."
Like cowboys have the Code of the West, Southern women have their Code of the South. That mind set digs its heels in and won’t let go. Just try to wear white shoes or pants after Labor Day. You’ll see. I've tried to break that rule ,but I get as far as the bedroom door and run back to the closet to change.
I'm used to crowded freeways in other states, but it's different in the South. I’ll never forget the day I had a blowout on the Atlanta 285 Bypass. The traffic was moving at a brisk eighty miles per hour with me in the second to the fast lane. In that first moment of panic, I looked in my rearview mirror and the vehicles parted behind me like Moses parted the Red Sea. I was able to move to the right shoulder. Before I could even remove my seatbelt, a pickup truck with four men pulled up behind me. Those good ole boys changed my tire and me back on the road in five minutes flat. That’s Southern, folks.
Southern is expecting rescue. It’s warm hospitality and open doors. It’s graciousness and charm. It’s hallowed traditions carried on long after anyone remembers the origin. It’s iron in the veins of women as delicate as flowers.
Wherever you live and set your novels, be sure you know the customs and traditions. I've lived in three corners of the country. They are different. I set When the Bough Breaks in two states, then I plopped a Georgia peach in the middle of New York's capitol. Having lived it both places, I was able to make the reader see and feel the difference.
Southern is a way of life, a set of priorities intrinsic to the South.~ Ane Mulligan (Click to Tweet)
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