We’ve got all three of Lisa’s novels up for grabs today. See the form below for entry details.
The number one piece of advice I was given when I started this literary journey was, as trite as it sounds, “write what you know,” even down to the location of the story. So instead of setting my novels in Nashville, the place I currently rest my head (soft pillows only please), I set them in Memphis, the place I was born and spent most of my life. Plus, if truth were told, Memphis needs the PR!
I just published the third book, SOUTHERN AS A SECOND LANGUAGE, in my Dixie series, and not only are each of the books stand-alones, I’m also happy to admit there is an element of truth in all three. First off, I really was a Vermont innkeeper! “Was” being the key word, as three sub-zero winters sent me speeding back down South without so much as a peek over my shoulder. That crazy misadventure left room for numerous thinly veiled accounts that I could add to my debut, WHISTLIN’ DIXIE IN A NOR’EASTER. In particular, my little senior citizen Yorkie, who accompanied me on the move up North, HATED the snow (as did I), not to mention the twenty-five-degree-below-zero temps, so I gave her one of the starring roles in the book. Her name was Holly but she became Princess Grace Kelly, or Gracie for short. Let’s just say tee teeing outside for her was not an option.
Next, in YANKEE DOODLE DIXIE, I really was the promotion director of a top radio station in Memphis and I could bring so many fun, true-to-life radio pranks to my story. Like when Johnny Dial, the morning deejay, tells his listeners a panda escaped from the Memphis Zoo and his partner dresses in a panda suit appearing in various locales around Memphis. That really happened. And people honestly fell for it.
And now in SOUTHERN AS A SECOND LANGUAGE, my protagonist, Leelee Satterfield, lives with her second mother Kissie, an eighty-three-year-old African American steel magnolia, who peppers her with advice, whether she asks for it or not. I really had a Kissie in my life that never hesitated to correct me when I veered off the straight and narrow. Without her I never would have learned how to cook, clean or properly wash and fold my laundry. Times were different in the South when I was growing up. Many a white mother held her newborn in her arms for the first time and after coming home from the hospital handed that baby straight over to her black mother. Writing about Kissie was the best part of the SOUTHERN AS A SECOND LANGUAGE odyssey. She died in 2002 but I felt like she was right next to me. I miss her so much, I ache. Creating the character of Kissie brought the real Kissie back to life.
* * *
Not only do Southerners talk slowly, but sometimes the whole language is hard to understand. No one realizes that more than Memphis belle Leelee Satterfield. Since she debuted inWhistlin’ Dixie in a Nor’easter, Leelee has entertained tens of thousands of readers. Watching her tackle life and love in Vermont was only the tip of the iceberg when it came to antics, charades, mischief, and romance. Now that she’s back in Memphis, and starting a new relationship with Peter, the Yankee chef from her New England inn, you’d think she’d sit back and enjoy her newly crafted life back home in Dixie. But that just wouldn’t be as much fun.
Opening up a new restaurant with Peter isn’t as easy as she had anticipated, especially when it comes to the differences between the North and the South. When Leelee’s ex-husband, Baker, returns unexpectedly, everything else goes haywire. Throw her three crazy best friends into the mix; Riley, her meddlesome next-door neighbor who sells Pampered Chef for a living; and Kissie, Leelee’s beloved second mother who claims Riley sits on her “last raw nerve,” and you have the perfect recipe for a sassy, Southern delicacy.
Lisa Patton’s Southern as a Second Language is an endearing and chuckle-inducing tale that keeps us guessing up to the very last page how it all works out in the end. Whether among maple trees in Vermont or magnolia-filled Memphis, Leelee’s charm, heart, and laughter will delight readers in any climate.