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Watch Out For Shotguns

Let me guess. When you hear “Appalachia” you picture moonshine, clan feuds, illiterate hillbillies living up “hollers,” shotguns at every door jamb, and maybe banjo music playing in the background.

Have you noticed how stereotypes are invariably wrong but they live on because there’s a kernel of truth hidden inside the bullshit?

Where I live in east Tennessee, there are still those who live in primitive conditions in the mountains, and some definitely still make moonshine. It’s just that the world has gotten small. Between satellite TV, broadband internet, cell phones and drones, cultural isolation “ain’t” what it used to be.

Nonetheless, when my novel’s protagonist is born in her small Appalachian hometown, her options are limited. The natural beauty of the area abounds, but when it comes to making a living, she suffers. It’s no surprise that after she comes into her lucrative preternatural gift, she jumps at the chance to move to the big city. Of course, the big city for her is Knoxville, Tennessee, not New York. Even so, she feels she’s traded paint-peeling clapboard and second-hand shopping for a trendy urban lifestyle and expanded horizons. Yes, yes, I hear you New Yorkers, hell, even you Nashvillians, laughing from here.

Don’t laugh too hard. I’ve got that shotgun, remember? And I’m all hopped up on moonshine, ready to dance to some fiddle music.

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