The year is still young, and this duo - The Native Sibling - can be your band of 2014. If you've been looking for fresh, clear acoustic sounds this brother-sister duo might be exactly what you need. Ryan and Kaylee were kind enough to spend a few minutes answering some questions for an interview here. In the interview we go all the way from Galway to burritos and back again to their thoughtful lyrics, mixed in with their music videos.
I enjoy talking with readers about my book and my current projects, and I've been fortunate to have readers who enjoy the discussions brought about by Red Lory. One of the more common questions is: Who is the good guy? I never answer that question directly - instead I like to ask an admittedly frustrating question of my own: Is there such a thing?
For the life of me I can't explain why How to Win Friends and Influence People wasn't required reading at some point in my education (and why The Scarlet Letter was). This is one of those books that gets mentioned often without having been read - a book that the other guy should read. However, it's a book that deserves to be found on the Mount Rushmore of American literature. (*Opinion Alert* The other three titles on Mount Rushmore would be The Grapes of Wrath, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest).
Now, before we get started, you've read To Kill a Mockingbird, right? You have? Great. It's one of the most accessible books that southern gothic has to offer, but you're a seasoned reader so let me show you some other options you've got out there in no particular order:
DELIVERANCE (Yes, it's a book - not just a fantastic movie).
If you've seen the movie don't think for a second that you know what the book is about. You don't. You'll recognize some landmarks (if you know what I mean), but you'll soon realize that the main storyline of the movie is nothing but the backstory of James Dickey's novel. It's told from the viewpoint of Ed Gentry, a New York ad man, who finds himself in the backwoods on an ill-fated canoe trip.
Is the writing any good? You be the judge:
HANDCARVED COFFINS (Short story, in a collection)
Truman Capote is far and away my favorite author, and he holds this distinguished position because of this particular short story. He claimed it to be a work of non-fiction, but that claim too turns out to be fiction. Now that we've gotten that bit of housework out of the way, allow me to celebrate the greatness of this story. It's an exercise in simplicity - a significant departure from the verbosity of the typical southern gothic work. Although Capote wrote about many locations - this one taking place in the Midwest - I consider everything of his to belong to the genre because his southern voice and storytelling can't be separated from the narrative.
So what's the fuss all about?
Oh, I don't know - just a serial killer who sends his victims a small hand-carved coffin days before their certain demise. It's an eerie story, especially when we're certain of who the killer is. But can the case against this person be proven? Does it even matter? In Capote's own words from the story: "God's work. God's will."
This story can also be found in one of Capote's largest collections, Portraits and Observations.
A GOOD MAN IS HARD TO FIND (Not a love story. At all).
Oh, Flannery. You beautiful, twisted woman. She is the southern gothic genre. Right from the very beginning, no matter how light-hearted the writing is, you just know down deep inside to not get too attached to anyone. The beauty of her writing is that no matter what happens to her protagonists or antagonists the reader is left whole - a more complete person than when they began the story. A Good Man is Hard to Find is the most extreme example of that among her works although it has stiff competition.
What did Flannery have to say about her writing?
I'm glad she used the word "comic" in that quote because that's a word that comes to mind while reading this particular short story. It's violent. It's comical. It's one of the best that southern gothic has to offer.
A Good Man is Hard to Find can also found here.
By no means are these the the end-all and be-all of southern gothic fiction, but they're a great starting place to see what makes this genre worthwhile. What books or short stories have you enjoyed from the genre?
I've always found it thrilling how an influence, though it be miles or years removed, can touch down at one particular point in any person's life and dramatically change it in some way. Somewhere between space and time, that influence, Rod Serling, decided to approach me on the very important subject of censorship.
Since Red Lory has become available in many formats and also because the internet is a confusing place, here's a quick recap on where you can get your copy:
Audiobook: Audible, iTunes through your mobile device
The movie adaptation is still in production. Hopefully soon you'll be able to find it at a theater near you. After that, I pray it will not be found in a 4-for-1 DVD combo pack.