National Reading Group Month is an initiative of the Women’s National Book Association (WNBA). Every October, WNBA organizes events nationwide, and announces an annual list of book selections for reading groups: Great Group Reads. To read more about Great Group Reads and see the other lists, click here.
Over the Plain Houses by Julia Franks, published by Hub City Press, is one of three finalists for the annual Crook's Corner Book Prize for best debut novel set in the American South. Now in its fourth year, the prize will award $5,000 in January. This year's judge is Mississippi novelist, Tom Franklin, author of Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter and other works.
Eight years ago, Julia Franks and her husband bought a farm in western North Carolina. At the time, the 1800s farmhouse on the land was still standing and when they walked in the doors, they were greeted by dozens of odd artifacts, including animal bones, locks of hair, insect hives, and even a jar with a fingernail in it. Franks is a high school literature teacher and lover of writing, so it was hard for her to not let her imagination run wild. Her curiosity about the lives of the people who once lived there inspired her debut novel, “Over The Plain Houses,” (Hub City Press/2016).
Listen to the whole interview (15 minutes)