Book Nerd Interview
Melinda McGuire is a native Texan. She grew up traveling red dirt roads surrounded by Pine trees. Her novels transport readers to the fictional town of Hefner Falls in rural northeast Texas from the Civil War through the Great Depression.
She blogs about southern writing and writers at melindamcguirewrites.wordpress.com
And, her blog, SouthernSugarBaby (www.southernsugarbaby.wordpress.com) is all about Growing Up Southern with recipes, family stories, and keys to surviving the south - Bless Your Heart isn’t a compliment, folks!
Sweet Tea and a super top secret recipe for Queso provide energy as she seeks to fulfill her goal of World Domination in Scattergories.
Her novels and short stories are available through Amazon and Smashwords as eBooks and paperbacks. The audio version Josephine: Red Dirt and Whiskey is coming soon!
What Made You Think of That?
Sometimes it starts as a whisper of an idea, a quick observation that floats by. Other times, it’s two incongruent thoughts, two random ideas that don’t seem to go together, but then, you think “what if” those ideas collided.
The Great “What If”
WHAT IF there was a young woman during the Great Depression who had been raised poor in the rural countryside and went through the motions to meet expectations of what “decent” people should do
And, then …
WHAT IF that young woman came into money?
And, then …
WHAT IF a stranger came into that woman’s life who proved to be so tempting to her that she risked her standing in the town, her reputation, and her money to be with him?
Josephine: Red Dirt & Whiskey
These are the questions that led to my debut novel - Josephine: Red Dirt & Whiskey.
"Lying, cussing, smoking, drinking, fornicating, all those things Brother Richard told the congregation not to do, Josephine was doing every one of them and then some."
So begins the secretive story of Josephine Killian Johnson, a young widow, alone in rural northeast Texas during the Great Depression.
Josephine can cuss a blue streak, out drink a grown man, and smoke cigarettes as fast as she can roll them, but only in private.
In public, Josephine goes to church, drives the old women to the quilting circle, and donates to the needy, until Ethan comes along.
The lust Ethan ignites within Josephine threatens to bring all her secrets to light.
Chapter Ten: Homemade Wine and a Smoke
Josephine threw open the front door, used her toes to push her shoes off and never let go of the key or her pocketbook. She looked out the window to make sure Mr. Keasling was gone, and she headed for the kitchen. She needed some liquor. It wouldn’t be whiskey, but she needed something. Josephine got out a bottle of homemade wine one of the regulars at the General Store had brought to her for after Samuel’s wake to “settle her nerves.” She turned up the bottle and gulped. The taste was sickeningly sick. Josephine didn’t stop to wipe the trickles of wine from her mouth or chin. She drank half the bottle and smoked two cigarettes she had found where she had hidden them in the kitchen cabinet. She plucked loose tobacco from her lips and pulled out her pocketbook.
She started counting Samuel’s money, and the tears finally came. Honest tears. Not tears of sadness over the loss of such a good, frugal man, and not tears of gratefulness for his ability to save and provide for her even after death when everyone else fought poverty. Josephine cried and laughed. She had money. Nobody had money, and she, Josephine Killian Johnson, had money. There was enough money in her pocketbook and in the deposit box to live on for the rest of her life, even if she lived to be a hundred.
Josephine knew exactly what she would do, starting with her decision to not tell anyone anything. Times were hard, and Josephine didn’t need anybody coming around asking for handouts. God had given her this money for her happiness. She knew this must be her reward.
“Praise God, my good living has paid off. God rewarded me for my charitable works, my kindness to my aunt, and my losing my husband. Thank you, sweet Jesus.”
She could buy whatever she wanted now, no more wretched potatoes. Josephine could buy new clothes. No more patching up old dresses. She could even buy herself a car, a Model T, like what she had seen in the movies, even nicer than Mr. Keasling’s. She would have to learn to drive, but that was fine.
Josephine took another drag on her cigarette and scowled. She had to be careful. No free living for her. No, she would have to plan out everything as carefully as possible. Maybe she could say another relative died and left her a car. That might work. She would have to think about it. Josephine put her pocketbook inside the dresser drawer, grabbed the bottle of wine and sat on the porch to watch the sunset. After the sun went down, Josephine tucked herself into the middle of the bed and slept.
It's the Great Depression in rural northeast Texas, and not much has changed, except in the life of Josephine Killian. After losing her mother and her aunt, Josephine finds herself alone and independent. Loneliness leads her to sacrifice her freedom for the bonds of marriage. Life becomes routine.
But, when a mysterious stranger,Ethan, appears, he draws out what Josephine fights to keep hidden. Ethan opens up the doors to lust, secrecy and addiction that could lead to Josephine's self-destruction.
Will the people she knows from church, her neighbors in Hefner Falls, and her own desire to turn away from evil be enough to overcome the temptations Ethan offers? Or, has Josephine gone too far to turn back?
Josephine, Red Dirt & Whiskey follows the life of Josephine during the depression in a small Texas town. This Southern Romance story is charming and the characters are brought to life with Melinda McGuire’s writing approach. The details expressed on this book are simply incredible. The reader is given a front row seat to feel the emotions that Josephine pours out from having to experience abandonment repeatedly.
The story carried a fluid-like flow and allowed the reader to be shrouded by the plot, setting, and interesting characters. The tale of Josephine’s shift in life is charming and reflects to a lot of what people goes through. It is truly an incredible book with an excellent plot and outstanding dialogue.
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