Cassie Dandridge Selleck
I had been born and raised in Central Florida and, though I understand an awful lot of individuals who insist that they do not consider Florida "the South", it was as Southern an upbringing as another. My roots on either side of my family trace back to Southern countries as far back as I could go before locating my European ancestors. The South is what I know and love - and sometimes despise. I stopped long ago attempting to define Southern pride, since that's not what I really feel about my legacy. What I feel is thankful. Grateful that I had been raised to say "Yes, ma'am" and "No, ma'am," and thankful that I observed firsthand the racism that's pervasive and damaging in my life. Everything about the South made me that I am now, as a writer and an activist, and as an advocate for change. I write what I understand. I write about the South and its vibrant characters. I write about human character as honestly as I know how. I draw characters to life by providing them voices of people I have lived with and listened to all of my life. They're as real to me as another living, breathing man, so that I handle them with the respect they deserve. I put them on paper and watch what happens.
I still make my House In the South, however no longer at Central Florida. I am a bit north of that, around the historic Suwannee River. Both of my books, The Pecan Man and What Things in Mayhew are set in real cities with names that are untrue. Leesburg natives understand landmarks in my old hometown, along with Mayo folk understand well the stores and dwellings I describe. 2016 was a significant year for me. The Pecan Man was optioned for film rights, and selected for the State of Arkansas' ordinary reader program "If All Arkansas Read the Same Book." It was also the year that I graduated from college with a BFA in Creative Writing, made possible by my late-in-life printing success. I travel a great deal now, performing creative writing workshops and book-signings, and
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