HAZEL LATTISAW & ERIE SLOCUM: APPALACHIAN TEENAGE LOVERS & THE FIRST FEMALE BLUEGRASS DUO MUSIC STARS
This is a project in progress. Book 1, written in 2017, is finished and waiting for final editing. Book 2 is in progress. I hope to be finished with it in January 2018.
SOULS ON FIRE AND LONESOME DREAMS, book 1: The Autobiography of Hazel Lattisaw (the book is finished.)
GIRL LOVE AND OTHER WRONG PROTOCOLS book 2: The Autobiography of Ereldine (Erie) Merelda Slocum (the book will be finished in January 2018.)
I write a lot of women main characters in my books. The minds and ways of women have always fascinated me. I am the brother of four sisters and the son of a talented Southern mother. I have two daughters and have always enjoyed my friendships with women on a different and more significant plane than those with men. I find most men disappointing. I have never understood the crudeness brought on by too much testosterone, too much arrogance, and too little respect and sensitivity. For years, I joked, if I were a woman, I’d be a lesbian. Privately, it was not a joke. Most men, even some of the best men I know, are unfamiliar with higher levels of emotional consciousness and what I call macro-mind—viewing and experiencing human life with a wise overview and sharp perspective. In other words, see beyond yourself.
Since female characters are my preference, writing a novel about a gay woman was a natural next step. And since I have this seemingly genetic desire to write Appalachian characters, this is my 'start a novel' process. First, I like writing books set in the early 20th and mid-19th Centuries so I decided 1938 ... I created her name: Hazel Lattisaw ... deciding that she should be precosious child growing up a musician was easy ... a bluegrass musician was natural ... the first bluegrass woman musician to record a record in the mid 1950s was an intriguing idea ... that she should have a teen lover who is also her musical partner and also from 'the wilds' of the coal hills of West Virginia gave the idea more breadth ... and these two young lesbian women set off into the scary and dangerous 'out there' world as young country music performers ... I was off and running. I wrote SOULS ON FIRE AND LONESOME DREAMS first.
Somewhere in the early going, I realized I was writing an autobiography, not just a novel. Hazel Lattisaw's. In doing so, I could explore Hazel and bring her to life telling her own story in such an extraordinarily vibrant and detailed way. Hazel’s lover and musical partner since their early teens is Ereldine (Erie) Merelda Slocum.
When I finished SOULS, Hazel’s story, I thought what a treat to write Erie’s autobiography as Hazel’s lover and musical partner and how she experienced her life and their lives together. A companion book to Hazel's story. It was utterly fascinating to write a study of the same incidents and events and circumstances of two people that, if you read them separately, and did not know they are two parts of a whole, may not tie together other than their names and the major vitals. The complexity and uniqueness and psychological pathways and ambiguities and darks and lights of human beings, if nothing else, makes for all-consuming and fulfilling fiction writing.
So I give you the life of Erie Slocum and GIRL LOVE AND OTHER WRONG PROTOCOLS — the darker balance to Hazel Lattisaw of SOULS ON FIRE AND LONESOME DREAMS.
I respect and love these two women immeasurably. And I have never had so much fun writing fiction. These girls are wild. When I publish them - not sure when - I hope you enjoy both. If I can make a suggestion, read SOULS first. But then, maybe the more fascinating emotional and literary experience is read the darker tale of Erie first. I am too close to them. I wouldn’t know which to start with.
As always, thank you for reading my books. I am honored. My very best to you, ~ JTM / December 2017