However, like almost everything I write, the book is based on real life experiences and there is every chance that a coincidental similarity may make a friend or relative uncomfortable. I’m southern to the core and have the deepest respect for privacy and dignity. I am offended by the ‘tell–all’ books written by the famous or notorious, where personal moments are splayed across the page to embarrass, sully, and disrupt.
My heritage is rich with scandalous relatives who married second cousins, bred with in-laws, flaunted unsavory cravings, lusted unsuitably, and lived licentiously. Whether drunk, insane, addicted, psychotic, or simply narcissistic, these warped characters are the compelling element of any story, the ones who simultaneously fascinate and repel.
My grandmother had eight brothers, none of whom ever held a steady job for more than six months at a stretch—yet all of whom lived like southern aristocracy. They gambled, ‘escorted’ ladies, married money, sponged off relatives, cheated creditors, and charmed their way through interesting lives. They were tall, well-spoken, handsome, irresistible rascals and cads in whose lives hundreds of good stories are to be found.
I am proud of the legions of decent, godly, productive ancestors who fashioned commendable lives going back to colonial days. But, I don’t really want to write about them—if I did, I would probably use my real name—or maybe not. Anonymity frees the writer from caution and enables one to write broadly and without restraint.