About the Author
Award-winning writer Lindsey P. Brackett once taught middle grades literature, but now she writes her own works in the midst of motherhood. A blogger since 2010, she has published articles and short stories in a variety of print and online publications including Thriving Family, Country Extra, HomeLife, Northeast Georgia Living, Splickety Prime, Splickety Love, and Southern Writers Magazine Best Short Fiction 2015. Lindsey serves as Editor of Web Content for the Splickety Publishing Group, and she writes a popular column for several North Georgia newspapers.
As a mother of four chaotic kids, her home is always full of wet towels, lost library books, and strong coffee. Her love of family ties and southern places prompted her debut novel, Still Waters, inspired by her own love of Edisto summers and peach ice cream. Connect with her at http://www.lindseypbrackett.com.
1. What or whom inspired you to become an author?
I have wanted to be an author ever since I read The Little House series. My parents gave them to me one by one starting when I was about eight years old. I’ve always been a voracious reader but those were my gateway books—from that point on I was a reader and I was a writer. I wanted to tell stories about my world, like Laura did, though I was an adult before I realized exactly what that meant. Other than Laura, I’d have to say books with a strong influence on my writing life were To Kill a Mockingbird and Madeline L’Engle’s memoir, Walking on Water.
2. What did you want to be when you grew up? Did becoming and author ever cross your mind?
Guess you can tell it did from that first answer! I always wanted to be a writer but I struggled (and still do) a lot with self-confidence. I’m pretty good at a lot of things, and the problem with that is, it was easy to do the things that didn’t require me to be personally hurt if I didn’t succeed, such as theater, where I found a lot of joy in directing and working behind the scenes as well as on-stage. It’s much easier to be a part of someone else’s story than it is to write your own. I also had a great love for a classroom, so becoming a teacher was a natural, safe step. I’m so grateful for my years as a middle grades language arts teacher because it’s made me the writer I am today. And I just genuinely love teenagers. They are so much fun to be around and have such amazing insight into the world if you’ll just listen.
3. Who are some of your favorite authors? Do they inspire your own writing?
So obviously, Harper Lee and Madeline L’Engle, who really couldn’t be more different. I write southern fiction, so Lee is a natural choice, but in that canon I have a lot of strong influence from Terry Kay, Joshilyn Jackson, and Beth Webb Hart. Not because I write like them but because I love the way they write about the world I know. The South is an interesting dichotomy, and I don’t know that you can understand it unless you’ve lived it—and even then, my very small town, rural raising is completely different from someone raised in Atlanta or Charleston.
In CBA, Francine Rivers has long been a favorite, and my own editor, Eva Marie Everson. Eva’s Cedar Key novels struck a chord with me unlike any CBA book had ever done and for the first time, I thought my work may actually fit in this industry.
4. What is your current WIP? What can you share with us about this project?
Well, I have several projects going, including a Christmas novella that gives Hannah and Ben (Still Waters minor characters) a story. I’ve also got a sequel for Still Waters in the works. But an agent gave me some valuable advice to pursue a completely different project because of its strong hook and sale-ability. The new project is more Southern Gothic, really strong narrative drive, teenage protagonist, and all the drama and conflict of a small community split down the county line by a tragedy. There’s football and fried chicken and country music and references to Friday Night Lights and Footloose. It’s really different from Still Waters—not nearly as lyrical—but I’m enjoying the process of creating a completely different world. It’s set in the North Georgia mountains, which is where I’m from, so that’s been fun to make people see what this culture is like, because Appalachia is not the same as the Lowcountry.
5. What inspired the idea for Still Waters?
This novel really started with a place—Edisto Beach, where my family spent most summers of my childhood. When I first decided maybe I could actually do this, write a book, all I knew was I wanted a story set on Edisto. From there I began to build characters and to discover what brings them back or makes them stay away. As I grew as a writer, and began to understand how little I knew about novel structure, the plot changed many times, but ultimately it has always been a story of homecoming, relying on the power of family that ties us to a place.
6. What do you want readers to take away from reading Still Waters?
Cora Anne has a strong need to make things perfect, to control outcomes because so much of her young life was out of her control. She really struggles with grace and with forgiveness because she’s got that legalistic mindset—if I do this, then this should happen. I really hope, as readers experience her journey, they’ll recognize if they have any of these characteristics themselves. And I hope they’ll be inspired to let, as Emily Freeman puts it, “grace for the good girl” pervade. It’s my joy, also, to hear readers tell me they can’t wait to visit Edisto now. It’s a really special place, a rare find in a world of over development, and it’s a place that encourages us to live a little slower. I hope, even though everyone can’t get there, my readers will bring some of the Edisto pace into their own lives.
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