I'm a girl from the South with a huge love of the paranormal, so naturally I have high standards for fiction about either. That's how Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl hooked me. (See my review here.) It had both and did them proud.
And what better way to find out than to ask Kami and Margie...
Is Gatlin based on an actual town or is it a mish-mash of small southern towns?
Kami: We didn’t pattern it after a specific town, but it’s very similar to the small towns our families are from – and lots of small towns our readers are from. We call it the Casserole Belt.
Margie: But as we have traveled through the South, there are several towns that remind us of Gatlin. Moncks Corner in South Carolina and Beaufort in North Carolina would probably be the closest. It’s right by the real Summerville and the real Lake Moultrie.
How did you develop the town and the culture of Gatlin? What kind of research went into creating it?
Kami: My family is from a small town in North Carolina, so I draw a lot of inspiration from there. Most of my aunts and cousins are members of the DAR. My great-grandma made biscuits by hand and baked like Amma, and I’ve actually seen lots of people walk their cats on a leash.
Margie: My family is from a tiny town in the west. So much of Gatlin comes from our family stories, as well as trips to the Carolina coast: Savannah, GA, Charleston, SC and Summerville, SC. Like Carleton Eaton, my grandfather really was the postmaster in his small town and actually did know everyone’s secrets.
Gatlin functions more as a character than as a setting. What do you consider its role in the story?
Margie: Gatlin is sort of that place that Ethan will always and never be from. Growing up, my church community felt like that. So did the small town my mom grew up in. I think it’s probably going to take every page Ethan has to figure out his relationship to that town, which sort of means figuring out his family, and the Mortal world.
Did infusing history into the fictional town of Gatlin prove challenging? Why or why not?
Kami: Not at all. My family is from the South and I know a lot about American History, as well as the Civil War.
Margie: At Yale, I finished all my coursework for an American Studies PhD, so I have always had a great love of American History. And I secretly want to move to Charleston.
|Photo by Alex Hoerner|
You can keep up with Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl & The Caster Chronicles at http://www.beautifulcreaturesthebook.com/.
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