Q&A: Debby Mayne (Dixie Belle)
THERE'S SOMETHING FASCINATING ABOUT TRANSPLANT STORIES. IS THAT WHAT INITIALLY DREW YOU TO THE PLOT?
I love what I call fish-out-of-water stories because they naturally lend themselves to organic humor and conflict. Cissy Hillwood definitely experiences both of these. The other two Southern women are heroines of books two and three in the Uptown Belles series.
CAN YOU TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR THREE MAIN CHARACTERS AND WHAT EACH ONE BRINGS TO THE STORY?
Cissy in the first story, Dixie Belle, is a headstrong woman who has great intentions, but she acts before she thinks. But she has a heart of gold, and she wants to do the right thing ... if she can ever figure out what that is.
My second heroine Charlene is a little bit older than Cissy, so she takes on a big sister role to help her new friend learn the ropes in the Big Apple in the book Trouble in Paradise. She wants to find love, but it seems as though it will never happen, until she allows herself to see the softer side of her boss.
Bethann, the heroine of One Foot Out the Door, the third book in the series, is the quietest of the three. She moves to New York City to help her elderly great-aunt. She has no intention of staying long-term, but romance has a way of changing things.
WHAT TYPE OF RESEARCH WAS NECESSARY FOR THIS NOVEL?
New York City is one of my favorite places to visit, and I have quite a few friends from there. I used my personal experiences combined with help from various people who have lived there and the New York City research librarians who don't mind answering some of the most nit-picky questions.
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR OWN SOUTHERN HERITAGE?
My parents are both from Mississippi, and I've lived in several Southern states throughout my life. I grew up an "Air Force brat," so I know what it's like to be Southern in a non-Southern environment. People like to listen to me talk, and when I do they laugh. It took a while to figure out that they weren't laughing at me but enjoying the different way I spoke. I like all things Southern, including sweet tea, grits, and all things fried.
WHY DO YOU THINK THE SOUTH IS SUCH FERTILE GROUND FOR GOOD LITERATURE?
I think the slower pace of people in the South, the willingness to study human nature (including their own), and their ability to laugh at themselves helps add texture to the stories. Most of the Southern women I know have a healthy dose of self-deprecating humor that endears them to everyone they're around. Even if you don't like them you can probably relate to them on some level.
WHAT FUTURE BOOKS DO YOU CURRENTLY HAVE PLANS FOR?
Since the third book in the Uptown Belles series isn't slated to release until 2016, I haven't decided what to write yet. But there's a good chance at least one character, or maybe all, will be Southern. I'm also the etiquette writer for About.com, and I've had requests from readers for a manners guide for Christian women and girls.