What is the working title of your book?
State of the Heart: South Carolina Writers on the Places They Love
What is the genre of your book?
Anthology of essays about places in South Carolina
Where did the idea come from?
I really was taken by the “My Kind of Town” series Smithsonian Magazine was running that featured writers from around the country describing the town/cities where they lived. I thought it might be interesting to narrow that focus from a town or city to an actual place, like a hiding place. Writers being thinkers, I thought their opinions would be interesting.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
South Carolina writers tell us why one certain place in the state is so special to them.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
It took about 2 and a half years to solicit, gather, and edit essays, artwork and photos for the collection – and to get various stages of proofs back to the publisher ready for printing.
Who or what inspired you to write it?
Fascination with the topic itself, and curiosity about what different writers would say, and how they would say it.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
The anthology will be published by the University of South Carolina Press.
What other books would you compare this book to within your genre?
National Geographic published an anthology titled Heart of a Nation that included an essay by Spartanburg writer John Lane. John also contributed to State of the Heart. Heart of a Nation was about natural places in the country; State of the Heart was open to whatever different writers came up with—sports arenas and cafes, for instance.
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
There are 35 essays, so I won’t try to do them all. Still, I’ll take some artistic license in terms of whether these talented souls are performing in this world or the next:
Brian Dennehy – Pat Conroy
Mary Steenburgen – Liz Newall
Diane Keaton – Ceille Baird Welch
Charles Durning – Billy Deal
Sissy Spacek – Robin Asbury Cutler
Geraldine Page – Dot Jackson
James Garner – Ken Burger
Alfre Woodard – Dianne Dinah Johnson
Andy Griffith – Kirk Neely
Jon Voight – Tom Poland
Teri Garr – Cindi Boiter
Donald Sutherland – Deno Trakas
What else about your manuscript might pique the reader’s interest?
Because I purposely didn’t suggest places to writers, I was very surprised by the places they chose, and the personal nature of some of them. Some writers chose to write about places that are no longer here, so younger readers will learn that when you erase a few decades from a place, you’re in some ways wandering through a foreign country. There is a lot of wisdom in these essays. Many of the contributors have experienced a lot in their lives, and through these essays, they honor people who have been very important to them.