Tessa posted this round-up of places off LJ she's been blogging lately. In it, she said, "I talk about scary things, blogging, why I decided to set my book in southern Missouri, of all places. . . ."
And I perked up a bit, because I am homesick right now and I am sometimes fond of southern Missouri and so I went to read it.
Here is the interview with Tessa. This is the part which really struck me hard:
I’m from Kansas, and went to high school in Missouri, so I have an affinity for the area. I’ve done a lot of camping in the Ozarks and in Trail of Tears Park near Cape Girardeau. The area is so beautiful! I love the land. It feels old and mysterious and rich like Mississippi and Louisiana (where I have family), but also lighter – more hopeful somehow. So it’s really the feeling of southern Missouri that I wanted for Blood Magic: southern gothic, but hopeful.
And this is the babbling comment I left for Tessa:
I kinda have a love-hate relationship with Missouri for a lot of reasons (mostly doing with conservative politics and being queer), but I am really, really homesick for my family right now and looking forward to moving back to Missouri. So when I read this reason for setting your book there, I almost burst into tears because it's so perfectly true. I grew up in southwestern(ish) Missouri and did my undergrad in Cape Girardeau and spent so much time walking along the Mississippi telling stories and hiking in the Trail of Tears Park and learning to find the magic in a place which made me mad much of the time.
Even though I was already looking forward to reading Blood Magic, I am now -- looking forward to it even more? Words have failed me right now, but I was looking forward to it before and now I feel like this is necessary reading for me. And in some ways, I'm glad it's not available yet, because I think if I tried to read it right now, so homesick as it is and so stressed with life, the setting would overpower the rest of the book for me and I'm really excited about the premise so I don't want that to happen, but oh, has it given me something to crave.
I will stop babbling at you now.
So I stopped babbling at her and instead came to babble at you. I lived in Cape Girardeau for approximately six years (four years of undergrad and then a couple years working after), and yes, often I hated it there. But I also found these moments of magic; the full moon above the Mississippi River and the rise of dark trees across the river, walking around downtown with the old murals and no-longer-working fountains, the stones and the cracked sidewalks and the broken streets. I found magic and monsters and adventures in cornfields and big bonfires and covered bridges and empty fields. I told werewolf stories in the darkness and watched a bridge be destroyed and took pictures in the woods. This icon is from a picture I took in the Trail of Tears park, on one of the many photography hikes I used to take with friends.
I think I've finally had enough distance from some of the worse parts and what I'm left with is the magic and the monsters in the darkness. And I am very eager to read Blood Magic.