Gone SouthGone South
Meg Moseley
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Northerner Tish McComb knows the sting of rejection. When she moves into the Alabama family homestead, her neighbors shun her because her third great-grandparents were carpetbaggers. That's why she offers a fellow outsider---and the prodigal daughter of an influential citizen---a room. But the wayward girl refuses to reform. Should Tish challenge her houseguest---and her father?
     

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Meg MosleyMy husband and I live near Atlanta, close to the foothills of the Southern Appalachians. His motorcycle often carries us to the mountains of Georgia, Tennessee, or the Carolinas. Sitting on the back of the bike, I can pray, enjoy the beautiful views, and plot new stories. Fiction makes my world go ‘round, whether I’m writing it or reading it. When Sparrows Fall was a finalist for the 2012 Carol award.

 Favorite Bible Verse: Luke 12:32, NAS: Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”


 

 Christianbook.com Interview with Meg Mosley


 

What is your favorite Bible verse, Translation too, please!  And why?

My current favorite is this comment from Jesus, speaking to His disciples: “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32, New American Standard Bible) Of course we don’t know his facial expression or tone of voice, but I can imagine him saying it with a smile and with great affection for his disciples, who must have needed some encouragement not to fear, but to trust that the Father’s heart is kind. He wants to give us every good gift, even the kingdom itself.

Please tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m from California but I’ve also lived in Alabama, in Michigan, and now in Georgia. I’m happiest when I’m curled up with a truly good novel and a decent cup of coffee. (I’m not a coffee snob. Folgers is just fine, thanks.) My husband and I have three grown children, two grandkids, and a ridiculously large collection of children’s books. We live on the edge of the country, where I can be at the grocery store in five minutes, but I can hear the coyotes yipping in the fields at night.  

How did you choose the three settings?  Tampa (albeit briefly, but a place close to me…and my heart!) Noble,  and Michigan?

Florida is my home away from home because my husband and I visit family there so often. I love Florida’s tropical flowers and interesting weather. I chose Alabama as the setting for the fictional town of Noble because I vividly remember the culture shock I experienced when I moved from California to Alabama. I chose Michigan as the protagonist’s home state because my Michigan-born husband and I lived north of Detroit for seventeen years. We’re in Atlanta now, but I have fond memories of being a Michigan 4-H mom, watching Red Wings hockey on TV, and playing euchre with friends on cold winter nights.

How involved are you personally in the story and communities?
 
Except for Tampa, the towns in Gone South are fictional but the communities are loosely based on some small towns I’ve known. Having moved across the country a few times, I can really relate to the protagonist’s adjustment to her big move. I can also relate to her mixed emotions about helping a prodigal who can’t quite get her act together. In theory, we all want to help prodigals come home, but in practice, they can be hard to handle. 

 

Have you traced your ancestors? ~ And found the information a bit askew from what you thought?

My father was a genealogy buff but he passed away before the internet made research easier.  With his work as my starting point, I went online and learned that some of his information was wrong. (Sorry, Dad, but we’re not descended from Plantagenet royalty.) Still, it’s fascinating to see all the different nationalities in our background. My own grandchildren will be almost like a little United Nations. 

What was your inspiration to write Gone South?

When I was a teenager, my father told me he’d noticed that family histories often include inaccuracies or outright lies designed to make a family look respectable—and at the time, he didn’t know some of his information was incorrect! A couple of years ago, that morphed into the story of Tish McComb, a northerner who moves to her ancestors’ town in Alabama, thinking they were beloved pillars of the community.
 
How much research did Gone South take?
 
A lot! I didn’t realize how little I knew about muscle cars, antiques, learning disabilities, and the Reconstruction era until I was too far into the story to back out. Fortunately, research fuels my creativity and inspires me to dig deeper into the story.

What are the some of the most interesting facts that you learned while researching and writing Gone South?

For starters, I learned that General Motors presented Sweden’s Prince Bertil with a ’56 Corvette like the one in the story, so I decided to make mine the same color as his. I also learned that a Maltese dog should wear a harness, not a collar, because the trachea of a Maltese is so delicate that a collar could crush it. Who knew!

Did you already have an antique car background?
 
Well, sort of, but I think we’ll feel a little younger if we call the cars “vintage.”  I learned to drive a stick-shift in my best friend’s father’s Chevelle Super Sport. My first car was a ’66 Dodge Dart that looked like a grandma’s car, but the previous owner had put in a big engine so I had a hard time keeping that thing under the speed limit. In my hometown, Friday nights were like American Graffiti, with everybody cruising Spring Street from the Polar Freeze to Foster’s Freeze and back again. 

What other new writing projects do you have on the horizon?

A Stillness of Chimes will come out in February 2014. It’s about a young woman who comes home to the North Georgia mountains to settle her mother’s estate and learns that new questions surround her father’s long-ago disappearance. And of course I’m working on a new story too.

What message would you like your readers to take from reading Gone South?

I would like my readers to look at the parable of the prodigal son with fresh eyes. His journey home didn’t start with repentance. It started with his hunger and his need, but his father ran to meet him before the son had a chance to ask for forgiveness. God is like that. He offers his kindness even before we repent.

What organizations are you involved with?

I’m a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, and my husband and I recently joined a local motorcycle club that takes interesting rides around Georgia.

 

What are some of the challenges you face as an author?
 
Like anyone else who works from home or outside the home, I often find myself spread too thin. I’m not very good at keeping the right balance between home and family, writing, and the business chores that come with writing.

Who is the person who most influences your writing?

I can’t name one particular person, but I’m strongly influenced by a wide variety of authors I’ll probably never meet unless it’s in heaven. When my creative well runs dry, I’ll sit down with a favorite book and start to remember why I write and how I want to write. 

What aspects of being a writer do you enjoy the most?

I love to see the characters come to life. I especially enjoy the creativity buzz that often comes early in the morning. That’s when I’m most likely to have fresh insights into the way various elements of the story tie together—characters, themes, symbols, and so on. I also enjoy connecting with book groups, in person or via Skype. It’s so much fun to talk books with fellow booklovers.

What do you do to get away from it all?

I like to read a good book, or go for a motorcycle ride with my husband, or take my camera outside and take pictures of whatever I find: birds, flowers, the sky….

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I’m so thankful for the gift of communication through the written word. I’m always blown away by the idea that we can know the thoughts of someone who lives on the other side of the world, or someone who lived in an earlier century. It’s a wonderful privilege.


 


 

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