A friend of mine from high school, Susan White, has written a novel titled Bound South. It’s already getting high praise from several critics and established authors such as Anne Rivers Siddons. Everybody should be very psyched to read it when it comes out on February 10th.
And just for fun, Dr. Lanny Latham gave a one-on-one interview with Susan. Here it is:
Dr. Lanny Latham: Hi I’m certified life coach Dr. Lanny Latham. I am starting my own book club that will one day surpass Oprah. The first book on my list is Bound South. With me today is the author of Bound South, Susan Rebecca White. So Susan, how did you…Get Psyched…to write your novel?
Susan Rebecca White: Dr. Lanny, it was a long process. I was living in San Francisco, having recently quit my job as a high-tech PR associate, where I lasted for two days. Before that I was living—and teaching—at a Catholic Girls boarding school where I lasted a semester. All I really wanted to do was write, so I started doing that and also started waiting tables. A couple of years later I went to grad school in creative writing. I kept turning in stories my teacher didn’t like. Finally he told me to “go outside my comfort zone” and stop writing about young blasé urbanites, so I wrote a story about a young evangelical girl named Missy who is neither urban nor blasé.
Dr. Lanny: So you decided to Have Fun?
Susan: Um, sure. It was fun to be writing. But Missy’s story is kind of sad. Her mom has to clean house for a living and her dad abandoned the family years ago.
Dr. Lanny: Oh yeah, sad, right?
Susan: I mean, not that cleaning house is inherently sad. They just don’t have any money, so life is kind of tough.
Dr. Lanny: They need to Pump It Up.
Susan: I guess. Yeah. I mean, she has this bedrock faith in Jesus that does make her optimistic. So I guess you could say she pumps it up. And then there are these other two main characters, Caroline and Louise Parker, who are rich and privileged.
Dr. Lanny: Oh okay, so Caroline and Louise must be people who Go For It.
Susan: Sort of—I guess. But even though they are rich and privileged, they’ve got their problems. Louise really resents her daughter Caroline, who is pretty wild, and Caroline is having an affair with her high school drama teacher.
Dr. Lanny: Uh-oh! It’s gettin’ hot! I can relate to that drama teacher. I used to be a PE teacher myself, before I got fired. No students had an affair with me. But I bet they wanted to.
Susan: I’m thinking maybe we should re-direct. As a therapist, I thought you might be interested in the strained and sometimes hostile relationship between Caroline and Louise.
Dr. Lanny: Oh yeah they probably just need to ENJOY more. That should solve most of their problems.
Susan: They were able to enjoy life a lot more once they got away from each other. The Parkers live in Atlanta, but then after Caroline gets caught, um, in a compromised position with her teacher, she runs away to San Francisco. And I guess you could say that, from a distance, Caroline and Louise do learn to enjoy each other.
Dr. Lanny: Oh yeah sometimes you just need to run away. Both my parents ran away from me when I was young.
Susan: Oh my God. That’s horrible. I’m so sorry!
Dr. Lanny: My father drifted to Pensacola, Florida to work at a golf range. And my mom joined the Symbionese Liberation army. I never saw them again. But now we probably all ENJOY things more. It must be similar to Missy’s Dad right?
Susan: Uh, sure. Though she never reaches a point where she, um, enjoys it.
Dr. Lanny: Missy just needs to Drink Plenty of Fluids.
Suaan: Dehydration was never really a problem for her.
Dr. Lanny: Does she own a Psych-odometer? What are her Psychedness readings?
Susan: She watches a Christian soap opera called Salt of the Earth that gets her pretty psyched, especially because she thinks her missing daddy is the lead actor in it.
Dr. Lanny: I can relate. I used to think I was watching my missing dad when I’d watch Magnum P.I. And this Salt of the Earth sounds like a very psyched program.
Susan: The actors in it are all pretty psyched for Jesus. Except a couple of them are really bad apples.
Dr. Lanny: How are Missy and Louise connected?
Susan: Missy’s mama Faye cleans house for Louise. And Louise’s gay son, Charles, likes to watch Salt of the Earth with Missy when she comes to the Parker house with her mom. Charles thinks the show is hilarious. He loves the kitsch factor.
Dr. Lanny: Does he do Quick Hands when he watches it?
Susan: Actually, he does.
Dr. Lanny: That’s good. Everybody should do Quick Hands. How psyched were you when you were writing your novel?
Susan: When the writing was going well, I was extremely psyched. During the last two months of finishing Bound South I would play the song “Black Flowers” by Yo La Tengo every morning before I started writing. For some reason it really got me in the mood and pumped me up.
Dr. Lanny: That’s great to hear. You know what Pumped Me Up? Your novel. It’s given me a new perspective on why both my parents abandoned me at an early age and drifted to opposite ends of the country. They just needed their space to Enjoy.
Susan: Uh, yeah. That was the point I was trying to make. Dr. Lanny, in your expert opinion, what do you think my daily psyched level is?
Dr. Lanny: I am getting a very high reading on your psyched level. You seemed to follow my 7 steps especially well during the process of writing your novel. Your psychedness should be copied by all writers.
Susan: Thanks! And thank you so, so much for making Bound South the inaugural choice for your book club.
Dr. Lanny: My pleasure. Everybody should be very psyched to read it. Quick hands!
Susan: Yes, quick hands.
Susan Rebecca White is the author of Bound South, which should be in bookstores very soon. Maybe even today! A graduate of Brown University and the graduate creative writing program at Hollins, she lives with her husband in Atlanta. Visit her at www.susanrebeccawhite.com, and your psych-odometer will fly off the charts.
If you’d like to buy a signed copy of Susan’s book, go here.
If you’d like for Dr. Lanny to sign Susan’s book, please contact him directly.