Friday, August 10, 2012

For Brooks D. Simpson ...

... who has shown such interest in Sweet Southern Boys

Brooks Simpson has mentioned outright, or alluded to, my novel, Sweet Southern Boys, several times in his blog, in an unflattering manner. He did this while the novel was still being written and edited, so he passed judgment on a book he never read. Typical prejudice from anti-Southern critics.

In any case, because he's shown such interest in something he apparently looks down on without knowing anything about it, I've decided to make this post so he can get to know my characters better. Some of this background information doesn't appear in the novel, so this is behind-the-scenes stuff.....

Shelby Michael Kincaid

Born August 3, 1976, Verona, Georgia
At seventeen, he stands 5'10" and weighs 176 pounds

Son of Kurt and Gina (Shelby) Kincaid
Sister Ainsley five years younger

Takes karate lessons beginning at age seven; collects arrowheads; gets a Commodore 64 computer at age nine, teaches himself BASIC programming which sets him on the path to becoming an IT professional as an adult.

Shelby is frank and impulsive. He's an ambivert, equally comfortable alone or with crowds. He has an explosive temper, but a very long, very slow fuse, so his temper does not explode often. When he does something regrettable, he has a tendency to overdo the guilt and remorse, to let it go on a little longer than it needs to, but he eventually moves on. He's is highly emotionally invested in his little sister, Ainsley, and very protective of her.

Shelby is very popular with girls at Verona High School. He's a wide receiver on his high school football team. His nickname is "Shelby Cobra." He goes to work at Morgan's Supermarket at age 14 and works there part time, off and on, until the spring of his senior year.

Shelby Kincaid -- a sweet Southern boy.


Troy Randall "Randy" Stevenson, Jr.

Born February 9, 1976, Atlanta, Georgia
At seventeen, he stands 6'1' and weighs 185 pounds.

Son of Troy and Patty (Ayres) Stevenson
Sister Melissa, a year and five months older
Family moved from Atlanta to Verona in 1976 when Randy was just a few months old. He has no recollection of any other home.

Randy is two cliches -- tall, dark and handsome; the strong, silent type. He's athletic, like his father, Troy. Likes golfing with his father, and dabbling in astronomy. His team sports are football, baseball and basketball.

He is somewhat reserved -- a private person (although open and sharing with his two best friends). He's not really an introvert, but he is given to introspection.

Because of his father's problem with alcohol, which precipitated a crisis for the Stevenson family when Randy was very young, he is more sensitive than the average guy to pain and/or distress in another person, and more sympathetic.

Girls interpret his reserve and sensitivity as his being "troubled" -- a tortured soul who needs their tender loving care. They're always asking Shelby and John Mark why Randy is wounded, and what they can do to attract him -- so they can help him, of course. This amuses Randy's two best friends to no end because Randy is not troubled, he just doesn't find it necessary to blurt everything he's thinking and feeling.

It amuses Randy, too, because he's actually very well adjusted; like his father, he's happy with who and what he is. However, he doesn't find it necessary to always correct this wrong impression about himself because, well, it is a powerful chick-magnet....

Randy Stevenson -- a sweet Southern boy.


John Mark Jordan

Born July 21, 1976, Charlotte, North Carolina
At seventeen, he stands 5'9" and weighs 165 pounds

Son of Dale and Carol (Payne) Jordan
Brother Tommy three years older
In 1978 when John Mark is two, the family moves to Verona, Georgia where Dale becomes the pastor of Forsythe Street Baptist Church

John Mark learns to skateboard at age six and becomes Georgia State Champion at twelve. He collects coins and stamps, and likes to read boys' adventure stories. In high school, he is a place kicker and punter for the Verona Patriots.

John Mark is optimistic and expansive. He's an extrovert and gets along well with others. He is an extremely good-looking kid who grows into a stunningly handsome man... but he's a talker. He just jabbers. Shelby's nickname for him is "Wock" -- short for "Jabberwock," an allusion to his loquaciousness.

A great disappointment in his life is that he and his older brother, Tommy, are not close; but his relationship with his best friends helps to make up for it.

Although a preacher's son, and a believer, John Mark has his own view of religion and deity. He believes more strongly in a somewhat impersonal providence than he believes God directly and personally intervenes in human life.

John Mark Jordan -- a sweet Southern boy.

These boys were playmates as preschoolers, and grew to become life-long best friends. They are extremely loyal to each other. Through their friendship, their families become close friends. When they are younger, their mothers make them into "pretty boys". Their fathers are okay with that, as long as they don't make them into sissy boys. When they are older, their mothers paradoxically indulge their frequent (but not constant) scruffiness (long hair, frayed collars, knee-holes in jeans).

They have very strong male role models in their fathers, who are their primary disciplinarians. (Kurt Kincaid is an outdoorsman who grew up in Verona, hunting and fishing in the woods and swamps of south Georgia; Troy Stevenson was an All-American running back for Bear Bryant at the University of Alabama in the early 1970s and is a successful (competitive but not ruthless) corporate executive; Dale Jordan is a community and religious leader who has the responsibility of pastoring a church of about 300 members and instructing young men in leadership of church and community.)

These boys are not prudes, but they sincerely believe their religion. They are good boys and they try to do the right thing.


Shelby, Randy, and John Mark have been best friends since grade school. Growing up in a small town in south Georgia, they've petted and spoiled Shelby's little sister, Ainsley, hunted and fished, played football, studied, worked and worshiped -- together. The sons of close-knit families, they have been raised to be responsible, to revere God, and to love.

But as seniors in high school, they are accused of unspeakable crimes. Branded criminals in headlines from coast to coast, persecuted by the justice system, abandoned by their community, their lives shattered and their futures jeopardized, they have no one to turn but their families, their faith and each other.

Sweet Southern Boys -- a coming of age story, a tale of misandry run amok.

E-book available from and Smashwords. Trade paperback edition coming soon.

Copyright © 2012 by Connie Chastain. All rights reserved.

Images © Copyright by Kevin Russ and, Attator and, Luminis and, and Connie Ward. Stock photos used in accordance with iStockphoto and Dreamstime standard license.

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