Author Interview: Attica Locke

“Loved this audiobook. Darren Matthews is such a compelling protagonist, and the cast of characters, pacing, etc of this novel is terrific. Also thought the reader did an excellent job. Now on to Heaven My Home!”

Kathy, Belmont Books

[audiobook isbn=”9781478968252″][/audiobook]

We talked with Attica about Heaven, My Home (the captivating follow-up to Bluebird, Bluebird), her love of independent bookstores, and how music plays a big part in her work.

Please tell us a little bit about what inspired you to write this book and how this story took shape for you.

The book is a continuation of Ranger Darren Mathews’s story from Bluebird, Bluebird. It was always my intention that each book in this series would be about a crime along Highway 59 in east Texas, where all of my ancestors are from, and that the stories would also track this man’s life and his relationships—with his wife, his uncle and his mother. Heaven, My Home picks up where the first book in the series left off. It’s six weeks or so later, and Donald Trump has been elected. And the Texas Rangers (along with the rest of the nation) are trying to adjust to a new reality. As I was writing this book—attempting to understand how we had followed the historic election of Barack Obama with the election of a racist like Trump—I felt betrayed, and I was wrestling with how or if I could forgive the people who had put Trump in office. Darren is also wrestling with whether or not to forgive his mother for a whole host of her bad behavior. Does forgiveness cleanse the soul and free you or merely invite folks to continue abusing you?

In two sentences or less, what’s something that might surprise listeners about your audiobook?

How many musical references are in the book, how much it’s a part of the way I write and see the world. 

Have you listened to your own audiobook? If so, what struck you about the narration?

I tried listening to my first audiobook, and it was too weird for me. I haven’t done any of my audio books; they’ve all been done by talented actors. But when you’ve only ever heard the words inside your own head, it’s quite jarring to suddenly hear them in someone else’s voice. My sister is also an author, and she’s an actress. She did the audiobook for her memoir, From Scratch, and I would bet she has an easier time listening to hers than I do.

What have independent bookstores and/or booksellers meant to you personally and professionally?

I think indie booksellers are superheroes. I love them first and foremost as a reader. I buy a lot of books, and I love going into bookstores that are beautifully and thoughtfully curated, so that I know I’m going to walk out of there with a good book. As I writer, I’ve been blessed to have booksellers champion my books and get them into the hands of readers who may otherwise never have thought to read my work. I am so grateful.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?

There is playlist for the book on both Apple Music and Spotify. Some of the songs referenced in the book are on the playlist. You could pause the book and listen to the exact song the narrator was just discussing. I hope you enjoy the playlist and the book!

Photo Credit: Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times)

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