Author Jo Huddleston

Sweet Southern Romance

Monday, November 19, 2012

My New Novel!

Monday Musings on This 'N That

My debut novel, That Summer, is scheduled to release December 8, 2012! That Summer is the first in the Caney Creek Series, and will be followed by book #2 in April, 2013, and the final book #3 will release in September, 2013.

That Summer is an inspirational Southern historical novel. The story is set in the Southern Appalachian Mountains in East Tennessee. I and my ancestors grew up in that region and I know and care about the people there. The book sweeps from 1928 to the 1950s, following the Callaway family as they experience struggles and successes, as their faith falters, and as they face temptations.

A little about the book cover. The top half of the cover shows a peaceful creek named Caney Creek. The 1929 car on the bottom half of the cover…well, you'll have to read the book to find out the significance of the car.

Here's an interview I did with Jim, one of my main characters:

Hello, Jim. Are you the young man who doesn’t enjoy growing up on a farm?
JIM: Yes, ma’am, that’s me.

What’s so bad about growing up on a farm?
JIM: To begin with, our house and everythin' belongs to a Mr. Thomas. We’re sharecroppers I guess you would call it. As I understand it, when Poppa settled on livin' on Mr. Thomas’s land, the owner wanted rent money, not a share of the crops we grew. That way, Mr. Thomas gets his money whether the crops make good or not.

How many are in your family?
JIM: I have two brothers, who are twins, and two sisters. And there’s Momma and Poppa.

Tell me about your house.
JIM: The house is pretty crowded. We just have two small bedrooms. One, Momma and Poppa use and then in the other bedroom we have two beds, one for my two sisters and the other for me and my two brothers. We have a little kitchen and a room big enough to put a round oak table where we can all sit down and eat together. Then we have a small livin' room, I guess you’d call it, where we have a fire grate. The fire in the livin' room and in Momma’s cook stove in the kitchen is all the heat we have in the winter. And in the summer we just open our windows to try to get cooled down. The only chairs we have to sit in are wooden straight-backed chairs, some with cane bottoms. We use them to sit in the livin' room and carry them to the eatin' table to use there too.

What are your happiest memories of living with your family?
JIM:  Well…I guess I can’t think of too many. I can remember when I was a little boy, Poppa would play with us. He would cross his long legs and let me sit on his foot. He would swing his foot up and down and we’d play “ride the horsey.” For a while now there’s been no playin' with Poppa. He’s turned mean. Nothin' any of us do is the way he wants it done. He’s mighty hard on me and the twins. My older sister, Shirley Ann, is even afraid to be around him now. He spews out his anger at whoever stands nearest to him and his anger is usually misdirected or unfair.

What can you do about this situation with your poppa?
JIM: Well, not a whole lot. Just try to stay out of his reach. Momma just takes it, says the Bible tells her to be submissive to Poppa. I don’t think the Bible means she should be submissive to a man that treats his family as harsh as Poppa does. But I know what I’d like to do.

What would you like to do, Jim?
JIM: I’m the oldest, I’m seventeen, and I want to move to town. I want to get a job and have me some money, meet some girls, and make my own choices. That way, I wouldn’t have to listen to Poppa’s rantin' and ravin' every day.

But the Bible tells us to honor our fathers and mothers.
JIM: Yes, ma’am, it does. But do you think that means we’re just supposed to be treated no better than the farm animals? If Poppa has his way me and the twins would stay here forever and he’d work us on the farm. But I’ve got to get away from all this. I’ll hate to leave Momma but she won’t even talk about leavin'. And my sisters and brothers will get their chance to leave as they get older. I’ve just got to get away. Someday I will.

The winner of last Thursday's blog post for a copy of Murder in Marietta by Deborah Malone is KayM. I'll email you to get your mailing address and get the book out to you. Thanks all for commenting. Watch for more book giveaways.

Till next time ... keep on smiling.


  1. Congratulations on the upcoming release of your debut novel! :) I enjoyed reading the interview! :)

    1. Jes, thank you. I'm glad you stopped by and left a comment. When my books arrive, I'll post again about That Summer and do a book giveaway drawing.