Q&A: Judy Christie (Sweet Olive)
THIS BOOK FOCUSES ON A HOT TOPIC RIGHT NOW--THE SELLING OF MINERAL RIGHTS IN SMALL TOWN AMERICA. WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE ABOUT THIS STORY?
As a longtime resident of Louisiana, I love watching how friends and neighbors come together to help each other make hard decisions and to support each other, even when they disagree on an issue. I watched this topic unfold in the lives (and backyards) of everyday folks and observed individuals struggling to do the right thing--and added a "what if?" twist to the issue.
I HAVE TO ASK: DID YOU WATCH THE MATT DAMON MOVIE "PROMISED LAND" WHICH TELLS ANOTHER STORY OF A SMALL TOWN AND A NATURAL GAS COMPANY COMPETING FOR RESOURCES? IF SO, DO YOU HAVE ANY COMMENTS ABOUT IT?
Sweet Olive had already been written when "Promised Land" was released, and I decided not to see it, although I'll probably watch it one of these days. From the movie reviews I've read, the two stories take different approaches.
THIS STORY IS SET IN LOUISIANA, WHICH HAS A RICH CULTURE AND HISTORY. IT'S ALSO THE SETTING FOR YOUR REAL LIFE. WHY DO YOU LIKE WRITING ABOUT LOUISIANA?
Louisiana has so much personality—and I enjoy sharing its texture with readers and showing my affection for its eccentricities. Folks here persevere through hard times and play during good times; they enjoy faith and family and fun. Quirky and compassionate, people approach life with down-to-earth good humor and are great storytellers. That inspires me to try to create characters readers will root for.
In Louisiana, you're apt to see a pirogue on a bayou while a bass boat blasts by; old and new are woven together. By setting each of my seven novels in a fictional Louisiana town, I hope to introduce readers to the details of life here while exploring themes universal to any small town. And, of course, there's the scrumptious food--from beignets to etoufee, boudin to biscuits. This adds an extra layer of flavor to any story.
WHY DO YOU THINK READERS WILL ENJOY THIS STORY?
Sweet Olive is a unique twist on a modern issue with a setting full of southern flavor. I hope that entices readers and leaves them wanting to know more about life at the corner of Trumpet & Vine in Samford, Louisiana. Early readers have told me they became attached to the characters and cared about them, while enjoying the small-town setting. There's also a romance thread, which I had fun writing and which readers say they like! Reviewers have compared this book to the Mitford series, which I consider a great honor.