I’m trying to find a balance between research and actual writing. Considering I haven’t been putting very many words on the paper for Fairville, I figured I should do something towards getting the story done. So I spent a good deal of yesterday researching the history of southern Lousiana, particularly Lafourche Parish (where the fictional town of Fairville is set).
I left Louisiana when I was 27 years old, happy to be gone. And in the 16 years since, I’ve never regretted that decision. But my love-hate relationship with the state of my birth makes good fodder for fiction, I think. I’m especially fascinated with the idea of coastal erosion, and that much of the land that existed in Louisiana even when I was a kid is now under the Gulf of Mexico.
Course, you know the question has to be asked–what secrets are going to be washed away with the tide? What buried mysteries will be exposed as the land is drawn out to the waters?
My challenge here is to translate those questions into actual story, and to create characters compelling enough and ideas sound enough to sustain a novel. The problem is, how do you write a contemporary novel set in Louisiana without playing into the standard cliches (voodoo, hurricanes, murder, Mardi Gras, political corruption)?
I don’t think it’s possible–there will be at least one hurricane in my novel, and plenty of corruption. Murder is a strong possibility, too.
But hopefully I can find some aspect of Louisiana history that is overlooked by the hacks and use it as a catalyst in my book. It’s just so much more than Mardi Gras and voodoo. Really it is.