What will Kentucky Book Festival visitors find on your table?
My book is Daughters of Muscadine, a loosely linked collection of stories set in rural Georgia. Each story stands on its own, but when read together they form a book of stories that deal with themes related to loneliness, estrangement, race, class, and family life in the South.
Whom do you invite to stop by? Who will benefit from reading your book?
If you enjoy a Southern setting, domestic drama, and stories about flawed characters struggling in their everyday lives, stop by. In the first story in my collection, we meet Ida Pearl Crawley, a black woman who was lynched in the 1920s for murdering a white family. The second story is told by a group of female high school basketball players in the 1980s after their teammate goes missing. The other stories in the book branch off from these first two stories. For instance, the first story is told by the great-grandson of the lynching victim, and another story is told by the best friend of the missing basketball player. I wrote it this way because I wanted it to feel like life in a small town. Reminds me of running into my cousins whenever I return home to north Georgia; I don’t always know how we are related, but we are. The characters in Daughters of Muscadine are connected by blood, community, and circumstances.
Could you please tell us something curious about you and/or your book?
Most of the stories in the book are set in Muscadine, Georgia. While Muscadine is an invented town, some of the landscape is inspired by real places I remember from home. For instance, when I wrote about the shoals in the second story in my book, I had Hurricane Shoals Park (a real place) in mind.
Is this your first time participating in Kentucky Book Festival? If yes – what are you looking forward to the most? If you’ve participated before – what was your favorite experience at the Festival?
This is my first time at the festival. I look forward to meeting readers and fellow authors. I’m always excited to find new books to read, so I know I’ll come home with a full tote.
Monic Ductan lives in Cookeville, TN, where she teaches literature and creative writing at Tennessee Tech University. The stories in Daughters of Muscadine feature people whose voices have been suppressed and erased for too long: Black women, rural women, Appalachian women, and working-class women.