Debby Mayne sat down to tell FF all about her new series Uptown Belles (Realms)—three
stories of Southern gals taking The Big Apple by storm and perhaps finding romance along
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
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