Friday, February 21, 2014

Laura McHugh

From a Q & A with Laura McHugh about her new novel, The Weight of Blood:

You grew up in the Ozarks and decided to use that as the setting for The Weight of Blood. Obviously your knowledge and connection to the place was a reason to write about it, but what about the Ozarks in particular drew you to place your characters there?

The forbidding landscape and the remoteness of the Ozarks create a sense of foreboding that helps set the tone of the novel. And I’ve always been fascinated by the culture, which is steeped in folk wisdom, home remedies, and superstition. We were outsiders in our tiny town, yet at the same time, it became my home. Years after moving away, I was still haunted by the place, and the novel allowed me to explore the darker side of those tight-knit rural communities where outsiders aren’t welcome.

Is this dark story based on truth? If so, tell us about it…

Part of it, yes. I started the novel knowing that Lucy’s friend Cheri was dead, but I wasn’t sure what had happened to her. Then I came across a news article about a shocking crime involving a young woman in Lebanon, Missouri—the small town where I’d attended high school—and I knew that Cheri would suffer a similar experience.

Living in rural communities, it often seems like everyone knows everyone else’s business, and that it would be impossible to keep secrets, but then you see...[read on]
Visit Laura McHugh's website.

--Marshal Zeringue