Bear Bryant and Tadpoles

Still working my way down a very long list of childhood memories in keeping with the place and the time period–Alabama in the 1980s–of my next novel, Family Law. 14) I was almost eight years old when Bear Bryant died, and I remember standing in the middle of my grandparents’ braided rug, my grandfather leaning forward…

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Memories of Roly-Polys and Swimming Pools

And a few more memories of childhood in Alabama (I’m past a dozen now)…. 12) My neighbor’s backyard had the feel of a fantasy. He had a swimming pool and a fig tree. In my own backyard, we had muscadines and scuppernongs, and I would sit under the thick ceiling of vines and pluck them one…

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More ’80s memories–Dad edition

#9–My father would take us crappie fishing at night, which was as much about the snacks to me as the fishing. We’d ride out to the middle of the lake, wind whipping hair and jackets, and there was always something ecstatic about that rush of wind. When we’d stop and drop our lines, we could…

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Why I Loved Gunsmoke

Childhood Memory #8 I watched Gunsmoke reruns with my grandfather most days—he loved everything about it, and I loved Miss Kitty, the beautiful owner of the Long Branch Saloon (and also maybe brothel?) Plenty of afternoons we would act out the episode once we turned off the television, with me playing Kitty and my grandfather…

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Why I Sometimes Act Like I Was Born in the Great Depression

Another batch of memories in preparation for FAMILY LAW, which is set in the world of my own childhood. My grandmother turned 105 this week, and so these are all her. She’s at the center of many of my warmest, best memories. 5. My grandparents did not believe in wasting money on snacks during car trips.…

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A Few Bits of an Alabama Childhood

My upcoming novel, Family Law, is set in the time and place of my own childhood—the ’70s and ’80s in Montgomery, Al. I haven’t written a distinctly Southern novel since my first book, The Well and the Mine, came out in 2008. As I get ready for this book’s release, I wanted to spend some…

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New Novel in May

I submitted Family Law to my publishers nearly two years ago, but–thanks to the pandemic–it’s taken a while to become an actual hold-it-in-your-hands book. Not that I’m complaining: I didn’t want my book to come out in this past year. It was worth waiting. Set in Alabama in the early ’80s, Family Law follows a young lawyer,…

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Halloween

Of all the things I love about October, the costumes at our Halloween party might top the list. This year’s theme was THREE, and we had some logistical issues. Ten minutes before the party started, I realized the two heads I planned to attach to my son’s Three Musketeer costume–so he would be all three…

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