Monday 27 January 2014


Writing about the Deep South
My novel Waking Up Dead is set in a small town in Alabama—the main character, Callie, dies in Texas and wakes up dead to haunt someplace she’s never been. I wrote it while I was teaching at a college not far from Birmingham, Alabama. As I’ve mentioned in a number of interviews, the idea for the book came to me as I was driving to work one day; I remember seeing just a wisp of fog move across the statue in the middle of the town square. The statue was of some Civil War figure (I was living in Alabama at the time), and I remember thinking that it looked oddly ghostly. In between teaching classes that day, I started writing Callie’s story. It took me less than six weeks to finish that first draft—her voice was just incredibly strong.

But the setting made a strong impact on the story, as well. The Deep South is, I think, a haunted place—it’s haunted by its history, I think, and that history continues to have an incredible impact on its present. The history of slavery and racism still influence everyday interactions in the Deep South, even when people don’t always realize it. At the same time, southerners of all races are fiercely proud of their home, even with all of its haunted past, and that also influences everyday interactions. I think that to some degree, Waking Up Dead illustrates my own experiences as an outsider coming in to small-town Alabama. While I lived there, I met wonderful people and made great friends, but I also saw deeply ingrained attitudes about race and gender that fulfilled some of the negative stereotypes about the South.

Writing about the Deep South—or for that matter, about any place with a rich history—means examining and integrating that history into the setting and events of the story. In Waking Up Dead, the characters must solve a decades-old murder and in the process, face the ways in which a culture’s attitudes have influenced people for generations. Ultimately, I think that’s the only way to deal with history that we might find unpleasant: bring it into the light, own it, and exorcise the ghosts it brings with it.

Waking Up Dead by Margo Bond Collins
Book 1 in the Callie Taylor series
Genre: urban fantasy

About Waking Up Dead:
When Dallas resident Callie Taylor died young, she expected to go to Heaven, or maybe Hell. Instead, she met her fate early thanks to a creep with a knife and a mommy complex. Now she's witnessed another murder, and she's not about to let this one go. She's determined to help solve it before an innocent man goes to prison. And to answer the biggest question of all: why the hell did she wake up in Alabama?
Source: Info in the About Waking Up Dead was from GoodReads at on 23/11/2013.

Buy Link(s):

Book Trailer:

When I died, I expected to go to heaven.

Okay. Maybe hell. It’s not like I was perfect or anything. But I was sort of hoping for heaven.

Instead, I went to Alabama.

Yeah. I know. It’s weird.

I died in Dallas, my hometown. I was killed, actually. Murdered. I’ll spare you the gruesome details. I don’t like to remember them myself. Some jerk with a knife--and probably a Bad-Mommy complex. Believe me, if I knew where he was, I’d go haunt his ass.

At any rate, by the time death came, I was ready for it--ready to stop hurting, ready to let go. I didn’t even fight it.

And then I woke up dead in Alabama. Talk about pissed off.

You know, even reincarnation would have been fine with me--I could have started over, clean slate and all that. Human, cow, bug. Whatever. But no. I ended up haunting someplace I’d never even been.

That’s not the way it’s supposed to work, right? Ghosts are supposed to be the tortured spirits of those who cannot let go of their earthly existence. If they could be convinced to follow the light, they’d leave behind said earthly existence and quit scaring the bejesus out of the poor folks who run across them. That’s what all those “ghost hunter” shows on television tell us.

Let me tell you something. The living don’t know jack about the dead.

Not this dead chick, anyway.

Meet The Author:
Margo Bond Collins is the author of Legally Undead, first in an urban fantasy series coming in 2014 from World Weaver Press (, and Waking Up Dead, a paranormal mystery forthcoming from Solstice Publishing ( She lives in Texas with her husband, their daughter, several spoiled cats, and a ridiculous turtle. She teaches college English online. She loves paranormal fiction of any genre and spends most of her free time daydreaming about vampires, ghosts, zombies, werewolves, and other monsters. See her website at, email her at Like her on Facebook: or follow her on Twitter: @MargoBondCollin and @vampirarchy


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