This is Spotty. He was my friend for only a year, but it was a special year, because we had rapport. He came to our house one day and decided to stay. One night, he bit me and infected me with love.
He grew to be very special to me. He was so laid back, nothing ever fazed him. He was just a sweet old man, cat version. Would that I could be so cool. I so miss my special feline friend. (Read more about Spotty HERE.)
My Writing Inspiration -- The South and Southern Men

I'm a culturally conservative Christian but I don't write Christian fiction, per se. I do write from a Christian worldview and with the motives of undergirding traditional morals and advancing noble and virtuous ideals.

I try to create characters who are flawed but basically good human beings, whether heroes or villains. Villains just have more or deeper flaws and don't make much effort to overcome them or make amends for their mistakes. I make religion a part of my characters' lives without being preachy.

Although most of my books are not romances -- at least, not genre romances -- there is almost always a love story involved. And when it comes to love story heroes, I love to read about -- and write about -- real men who struggle not with imaginary foes, but the real demons that plague the human family. No bad-boy "heroes" for me. Give me heroes who are the flesh and blood sons of Adam struggling to live up to the nobility of human nature and harness their less noble components.

The best heroes are tough, sweet, loving men who take their responsibilities seriously -- men of principle, men of courage, men of passion who do not let their passions master them.  Good is soooo much sexier than evil!

Frankly, the reason I write is to honor such men; in fact, to glorify them ... particularly Southern men, who are so often unfairly maligned in popular culture.  That makes my stories a bit controversial, perhaps -- Southern Man, which is about a false sexual harassment accusation against an innocent man, is intentionally anti-feminism -- but controversy is no reason to avoid certain subjects when writing.

My Personal Backstory

I grew up a preacher's kid in Georgia and Alabama. My identity as a Southerner is stronger than my identity as an American, simply because it goes back farther.

This sense of identity goes back to at least age three when I was too young to articulate. We would climb into our pale green Henry J to go to church, to town, or to visit family, and I would stand in the front seat (no wussie car seats or lap belts for us Boomer kids, nosiree), stare out the windows, and feel a sense of belonging to this place...

I first identified the place that evoked this sense of belonging as my hometown, Dalton, Georgia, but as I grew older, the boundaries of my place expanded outward. By the time I reached my teens, it encompassed the entire South.

My Writing Background

I'm a former staff writer for The Florida Sun, (now the Pensacola Independent News), which was published, starting in 1999, in Pensacola, Florida by former Congressman Joe Scarborough (now the star of "Morning Joe" on MS- NBC).

"Read Cover to Cover, Never Bound by the Truth" said the little slogan in the top left corner of the cover.  My articles were all nonfiction and ran the gamut from travel to current events and chemtrails to Bigfoot in Dixie.

Pop culture authors
who inspired me to write

Rex Stout -- author of the Nero Wolf detective series -- the voice of Archie Goodwin, who shares with Scout Finch the honor of being my favorite first-person narrator. I read my first Wolfe Book at age thirteen, Might As Well Be Dead.

Frances Parkinson Keyes -- her sprawling Louisiana novels are a bit dated now and politically incorrect but her settings and characters are highly memorable. (Clyde Batchelor of Steamboat Gothic is the quintessential romance hero!)

Dixie Browning -- Back in the '80s, Dixie was the first to inspire me to try my hand at writing romance. Most Dixie's novels that I read were set in the South, along the Atlantic coast, which was a big attraction for me. It was doubly enjoyable because I could tell Dixie was a Southerner and knew her setting, and Southern people.

Margaret Mitchell -- Need I say more?

How do you chart the chronology of your life?

Some people do it by milestone achievements -- starting first grade, starting high school, first job, marriage, first child, first grandchild.... Some people do it by decade -- first decade, childhood. Second, adolescence. Third, young adulthood, and so forth. I do it geographically.

Until I was seven, we lived in Dalton, Georgia
Nine to thirteen -- Munford, Alabama

Thirteen to seventeen -- Ft. Deposit Alabama
Seventeen to twenty-two -- Montgomery, Alabama
Twenty-two to twenty-five -- Monroe, Louisiana
Twenty-five to thirty -- Mattoon, Illinios
Thirty to the present -- Pensacola, Florida.

I remember the milestones of my life by the place where I was living when they occurred. In Dalton, it was starting school. In Carrollton, I became a Brownie Scout.

At age thirteen, in Munford, I became a Christian, baptised one Sunday by my father after morning church services. It was there that I started dating. In the years we lived in the tiny, unincorporated community,  I fell in love for the first time -- and one of the things I love most was Munford itself. It nearly killed me to leave it.

No significant milestones to remember from Ft. Deposit, but in Montgomery, I was "in" at my little school (something I'd never been before) ... part of the clique and a cheerleader, a member of the homecoming court, things that were so important at the time. Fell in love twice more, got my first job, and again had to leave a place I loved.

In Monroe, Louisiana -- yup, Duck Dynasty-land -- I found my husband, and in central Illinois, I accepted the reality of a childless future. Battled tenacious depression related to place, not childlessness, and grew determined to return to the South.

In Pensacola, I came to realize the vital importance of culture and politics and became politically involved, and finally took up writing, something I had wanted to do since Monroe, when I took my first creative writing class at the Northeast Louisiana University.

Place is extremely significant to me. Where I live is either very positive or very netagive for me, rarely neutral. I even organize my house and work geographically -- I know what something is without even looking at it, because of where it's located. 

I know people whose cluttered desks cause them no problem at all.  All they have to do to know what any piece of paper is, is to pick it up and look at it... Oh, this is a notice to renew my post office box fee by the end of the month.  And they can lay it back on the pile, and before the end of the  month arrives, they'll dig it out and go renew their box fee. But I would have to put the paper in a stack designated "Pay before the end of the month."  Lay it on a pile of clutter, and it would simply disappear, even in plain view.

Back when I was a secretary in insurance claims, I knew what everything on my desk was by the place it was located. That stack in the top tray? New claims to make file folders for. This stack of claim folders on the top shelf? There are cassette tapes inside to transcribe. Those three in the bottom tray? Need to have personal property inventory forms typed into the system... and so on.

To the extent that I can, I organize my computer geographically.  At least, my desktop icons. But cyberspace does not lend itself to geographical organization; or if it does, I haven't figured out how. Neither does writing, although the fact that I'm a plotter rather than a pantser may have something to do with my odd concept of organization.

Until I can figure out how to organize my writing geographically, I will just have to muddle along the best way I can with the equivalent of a cluttered desk in my head.

Some of My Other Interests

Mid Century Modern...Anything. Art, architecture, furniture, housewares, fashion, you-name-it.

Vintage Travel Trailers -- Restoration, or building new to look old...

Southern History and Heritage

(More on Pinterest)

Original Material © Copyright 2010 - 2014 by Connie Chastain ~ Web Design by Word Slinger Boutique

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