“Texas. It’s like a whole other country.”
It’s the slogan from a state tourism ad campaign that aired in the early 90s, and I heard it so much growing up it became part of everyday vernacular.
But the thing is, in a lot of ways, the tourism folks hit the nail on the lone star head. I just didn’t realize it until I moved away. Little quirks about Texas that astonish and baffle other people are commonplace for me because they’re part of the place that shaped me, integrated into my earliest memories.
Revisiting my home state in my Faith McClellan series has been way more fun than I ever imagined, but especially when you’re writing about a state so big, with so much history and such varied culture, writing what you know comes in really handy. Any writing teacher will tell you that what breathes life into a setting is the details.
Knowing how a hundred shades of blue ripple through a field when spring bluebonnets blow in in a breeze because you’ve seen it a thousand times, or how easy it is to transplant and grow thick blades of healthy St. Augustine grass in a volatile summer climate, or how fast the bustle of a big city can give way to a hundred miles of flat, brown nowhere on a long drive…I haven’t really thought about any of it in years, but every time a childhood memory shows up on the page, it makes me smile. It also lends the books an authenticity I hope will transport readers to the plains, rivers, lakes, caves, and landmarks of my home state even if they’ve never traveled south of Richmond.
With much affection,