Welcome to Katrina Parker Williams, talking about her new book!
My latest novel Bootlegger Haze is a family saga about two bootleggers, one colored and one white, who are linked by infidelity. One of the biggest colored bootleggers in Mississippi and known for selling the best whiskey in Jones County, Buford Tee learns his craft from his grandfather, who takes him in and raises him after the murder of his mother. His rival, Morris York, a white bootlegger, hates Buford Tee for drawing his customers away, who favor Buford Tee’s top-notch whiskey to York’s watered-down hooch. York’s resentment is also fueled by his recollections of his stepfather’s infidelity with Buford Tee’s mother, a union which resulted in the birth of Buford Tee. York believes his mother, who dies shortly after discovering the affair, died of a broken heart, and he sets out to destroy Buford Tee, although others close to him suffer his wrath.
Christine DeMaio-Rice designed my book cover. She did a wonderful job. Tom McNemar provided the amazing artwork. He is so talented.
What about this story made you have to write it?
I had heard family members talk about relatives in the early 1900′s who were bootleggers. I did research on this topic, but I could not find much information on black bootleggers during that period. I talked with relatives and discovered some interesting stories about relatives that ran moonshine and sold bootleg liquor, so I thought this would be an interesting topic to develop into a novel.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned during the creation of this book?
One thing that surprised me was how many people made a living from selling illegal moonshine during the early 1900′s. Making and selling bootleg whiskey in many parts of the country during that time was as common as a farmer selling his cotton or corn crop for a living.
What was the hardest part to write?
There are scenes in the novel that deal with lynching during the late 1800′s. I did research on the topic, and much of the information I found was very difficult to read. It was also very difficult for me to write these scenes, but I wanted to try to write a book that is historically accurate even though it is fiction.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I love to paint. Watercolors are my favorite media. I find that painting relaxes me, and when I get inspired, I can knock off as many as ten pieces before the inspiration leaves me again.
Can you share a little of what you are working on now?
I am currently working on a series of short thrillers to be released around Christmas.
What advice would you give a new writer?
Study the craft of writing, and write, and write, and write some more. Try to write something regularly, if not every day then every week, if you can. And have fun with your writing. If it becomes a chore, you will not want to continue, so make it a fun endeavor always.
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