Monday, February 6, 2023

The 40 But 10 Interview Series - Gina Tron


As you know, I had retired the literary Would You Rather interview series, but didn't want to stop interviews on the site all together. Instead, I've pulled together 40ish questions - some bookish, some silly - and have asked authors to limit themselves to answering only 10 of them. That way, it keeps the interviews fresh and connectable for all of us!

Today, Gina Tron joins us. Gina is the author of multiple books, including the memoir "You're Fine.", absurdist short story collection "Eggolio and Other Fables," and poetry collections "Star 67," "Employment," and "A Blurry Photograph of Home." Forthcoming memoirs "Eat, Fuck, (Write About) Murder" and "Suspect" will be released by Vegetarian Alcoholic Press in 2023. She loves writing poetry, memoir, and journalism. 

Why do you write?

There are only  few things in my life I am one hundred percent certain of and writing is one of them. When it comes to writing, I have always felt a calling to it. The times in my life when I felt the least myself were the times that I neglected to write. Writing has given me purpose in my darkest days and increased happiness in my happiest of days.


If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

It would be a time machine that goes back 15 minutes. I could do all kinds of mischief and not have to pay the consequences.


 How do you celebrate when you finish writing a new book?

I take a break from writing (with exception of my jobs) for a few days, if not a week. I relax, spend time with loved ones, and try to put my phone on “do not disturb.”


Describe your book in three words.

Home distorted home.


Describe your book poorly.

Poetry book of whining.


What is your favorite way to waste time?

 Junk television and sleeping. I used to be more pretentious and only read or watch educational things but now I realize that zoning out on reality tv is actually inspiring.


What is your favorite book from childhood?

 I loved reading R.L. Stine’s Fear Street books and anything by Stephen King. I would go through those books as if they were candy.


If you could go back and rewrite one of your books or stories, which would it be and why?

Parts of my first memoir “You're Fine.” as I started writing it shortly after the events of it. It was also my first attempt at a book. I feel it’s possible I didn’t have enough distance from the events and focused too much on some of the interpersonal relationships I had that don’t propel the story forward. But, like any piece of work, there is always room for improvement and at a certain point I just have to let it go and be a time piece of my life.


Do you read the reviews of your books or do you stay far far away from them, and why?

 Yes. I thoroughly enjoy and learn from constructive criticism and always welcome it. If anything, I wish I had more of it. Any hateful reviews or emails are a different thing, but it just comes with putting yourself out there.


If you were stuck on a deserted island, what’s the one book you wish you had with you?

Stephen King’s “On Writing.” It’s one of the easiest books for me to read and each time I read it, it helps improve my writing in a whole new way.


Gina Tron’s bombastic and tender recollection of homeplace sets an entire stage where small and large tragedies play out—where readers become drenched in the lived experience of what it means to be “coming of age / barely / feeling the river below.” Here, imagination cuts through the absence and darkness that surrounds. Tron leads us into a darkroom where the images and stories of home are still-and-forever processing, a portrait in search of a memory in search of mystery. We are invited to walk alongside the speaker as she goes “stalking abandoned malls and searching for the remnants of life,” always burning with desire to know more. Tron tells us that there are lessons to be found inside of transgression. This book is a language joyride providing the vehicle of escape.  

 –Julia Madsen, author of Home Movie, Nowhere and The Boneyard, The Birth Manual, A Burial


A Blurry Photograph of Home was last found in a salvage-titled car. Some sitting water may have morphed the media, but the words are fiercely legible. You want to dry it out, clean the cover, and refresh such an intimate object. Maybe a few of Gina Tron’s memories will rub off on you. It is a scrapbook of journeys across America.

 —Josh Dale, publisher and author of The Light to Never Be Snuffed

Buy a copy here:

Sunday, February 5, 2023

Books I Read in January

 New year, new reading goals! In December I had my worst reading month ever... (well, in recent ever, anyway, lol). In January, I blew that embarassing low book count out of the water. I managed to finish 11 books! Granted 4 of them were audio books, but still!!

Let's see what I read, shall we? 

Our Share of Night by Mariana Enriquez

Good lord, the next time I decide to pick up a book this long, do me a favor and stop me. Just knock the damn thing out of my hand, or deny my netgalley or edelweiss request ok?!

It wasn't a bad book by any means, it was just toooo damn loooong. I'm postive we could've achieved the same outcome in oh, say, 300 less pages?

In a nutshell, a boy is born to a father who has a magnificantly terrible ability to communicate with an evil darkness and has inherited his powers. His father is sickly, dying a slow death, and is endlessly abused and forced to perform Rites and Ceremonials at the hands of his adopted family, who want to harness this darkness for their own dark, demented means. His father knows nothing will stop them from coming after his son once he's dead so he protects him, marks him so that his family will never be able to find him and force him to suffer the same destiny.

All of this is basically covered in the first section of the book. During the remaining 75% of the novel, we are frustratingly bounced around at a snails pace across a multitude of time periods and by a handful of connected narrators who continue to shed their particular light on what we already knew, the whole time wondering where we are being led and if we are ever really going to get there. And we do, readers, we do. But man, if there was short cut to get there, I would have gladly taken it!

Also, to be fair, this was a big buzz book in 2022, and by now I should know that me and big buzz books don't usually get along so well. So I'm not surprised to find myself underwhelmed.

Here's looking forward to seeing what 2023 has in store for me!!

The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh

I picked this up based on the recommendation of a couple of bookish friends and I'm glad I did. The prose was *chef's kiss*.

Labeled a feminist dystopia, The Water Cure is told from the perspective of three sisters who have been raised in an isolated homestead because the mainland, and possibly the entire world, has become unsafe - the air poison, the meat toxic, the men dangerous and violent, especially towards women.

We learn through the sisters collective memories that there was a time when their home, which is basically an abandoned grand hotel, used to be a refuge for "damaged" women who were hurt and suffering. Their parents used primative and strange therapies to cure them and send them back out into the world. Once the women stopped coming, their parents began using the therapies and other odd purification rituals on the girls, preparing them for the inevitability of men arriving on their shores. And yes, men do arrive. And hoo boy do things get interesting when they do!

It reminded me less of Handmaid's Tale (which it has been heavily compared to) and felt more similar to California by Eden Lepucki, except, here, they don't leave the safety of their home to face the changed world. Instead, they must face the fact that their home may no longer be safe...

A bit of a slow burn to start, and somewhat overly predictable, but a fully engaging and enjoyable read. Highly recommended for readers who like dystopian and apocalyptic stories in which the characters are fully isolated and have limited knowledge of or contact with the "outside" world.

Stella Maris by Cormac McCarthy

This companion book to The Passenger smacks of McCarthy's play The Sunset Unlimited.

The story is pure dialogue: two characters, Alecia and her doctor, explore why she has checked herself into the mental facility again. And that's all I'll say because oooohhhhhh.... having now listened to Stella Maris, I think my feelings about The Passenger may have changed and I may (maaaaayyyy) go back and give that one a re-listen now that I think I know what I know. You know?

No One Will Come Back For Us by Premee Mohamed

Cosmic horror only right here in our backyard. Steeped in speculative fiction and dripping with dark shadows, this collection of stories is infested with strange monsters and old gods who seek our attention, our planet, and our very lives.

A few of the standout stories for me were:

- "Below the Kirk, Below the Hill", about a dead girl who washes up on shore and the lighthouse keeper who looks after her

- "The Evaluator" about a guy who is sent out to determine whether or not a young girl has been posessed, and finds himself face to face with something wicked

- "The Honeymakers", about a group of girls and their strange relationship with bees

- "For Each of These Miseries", about what happens when a submarine comes into contact with a long undisturbed underwater entity

- And the title story "No One Will Come Back For Us", which ushers in a strange and otherworldly pandemic unlike anything we've ever seen before

Another notch in Undertow Publication's belt!

Unwieldy Creatures by Addie Tsai

This is a book that's been on my radar for quite a while. I had been keeping my eye out for it in the bookstores but none ever seemed to carry it so I was thrilled when a copy arrived in the mail last week c/o the author!

Unwieldy Creatures is a queer, gender-swapped retelling of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. In it, we meet Plum, a queer biracial Chinese Embryology intern, who is sharing the terrifying story of her time with Z, AKA Doctor Frank, a queer biracial scientist dead set on creating the "perfect" child without the use of egg or sperm.

It's an origin story as well as a cautionary tale. Z, we learn, allows her obsession with creating life sans men to taint her relationship with the woman she loves most, Hana. She will stop at nothing, is willing to risk everything, but there are complications and when her first experiment fails to meet her expectations, she not only loses the love of her life, she also heartlessly abandons the hideous child in the woods.

But our past never stays buried for long and years later, Z is confronted by the monstrosity, who demands something of her. Z is rattled by this and turns to Plum, divulging the full and horrific history, asking for their assistance with this newest project.

Addie pulls the classic into contemporary times with ease, introducing IVF and queer lifestyles, our culture's obsession with beauty and the perfect body, and the ways in which parental abuse and childhood trauma shape us and haunt us in our adulthood. An interesting spin on a story in which the created continues to compel our sympathy while the creator effortlessly earns our wrath.

Road of Bones by Christopher Golden

Caught this as an audiobook deal on Chirp and thought it sounded too intriguing to pass up.

Teig and Prentiss head out to Siberia to record a documentary of "Life and Death on the Road of Bones", a highway that gets its name because it was built over the dead bodies of thousands of Gulag prisoners. They're hoping this will be their big break, but instead end up finding themselves broken in ways they could not have ever predicted.

They hook up with a local tour guide Kaskil and end up running across a woman named Nari who is stuck out in the snow with a broken down car. The twosome have now uncomfortably become four. Kaskil convinces them to swing over to his hometown before they hit the road for real, but quickly realizes something is not right. The town is empty - front and back doors left wide open, food still on the tables, footprints leading straight into the woods - except for one little girl who appears to be in a catatonic state of shock. As they continue to explore the area in an attempt to understand where everyone's gone, they are attacked by a pack of wolves and end up running for their lives.

The wolves behave strangely, seeming to track them relentlessly wherever they go, and our little group soon picks up on the presence of other... things... out there in the woods as well. And that's when the situation becomes one of sheer surivial. Can they outrun the terror that is chasing them or will they succumb to the subzero temperatures first? What exactly IS chasing them and why don't their bullets seem to stop them?

A fast paced, high energy supernatural story that works very well as an audiobook.

Last of the Better Days Ahead by Charlie Parr

"This isn't an autobiography. I made all these stories up, if you can even call them stories - they are more like fragments of unfinished songs. Or daydreams, maybe. I've always wanted to see what would happen if I didn't carve away all the non-song bits., but instead went on to finish my thought without regard for how my guitar would interact with the words."

I hadn't heard of Charlie Parr or his music prior to his publisher putting this book on my radar. Strangely, in the collection's prologue, Charlie warns readers away from listening to the album of the same name, even though these are meant to be companion pieces, as he admits he hasn't listened to the record in quite a while.

Of course, as I waited for the book to arrive, I did a quick youtube search and gave some of them a listen. I find him to be similar in many ways to Will Johnson, and oh god don't kill me, David Duchovny. There's this deep, raspy, salt-of-the-earth feel to their music, which also shows up beautifully on the page when they put pen to paper.

In this collection we meet a variety of characters, many of them blue collar workers doing what they can to scrape by, in these gorgeously depicted blink-and-you'll-miss-it moments of their lives. I picture them in clothes with the knees and elbows worn thin, with dirt streaked cheeks and cracked fingernails, wind tussled hair and smile lines a mile deep. I imagine they smell of grass and motor oil and cigarettes and pine soap. And I am expecting them to become my friends.

Each story sings - some quietly, some more loudly. A truly lovely collection, not a bad one in the bunch.

Bad Cree by Jessica Johns

Oooooh. I kept seeing this one pop up in my feed here and there and finally decided to take the plunge. I listened on audio and it was really just so good. I don't think the description of the book does it justice, honestly.

It's a story about loss and grief and the horrors that escape our dreams and infiltrate our reality, only it's sooo much more than that too.

MacKenzie, a Cree woman, has recently lost both her grandmother Kokum and her sister Sabrina. As they approach the one year anniversary of her sister's death, she starts to dream about her, only the dreams are more like nightmares. And she's beginning to bring bits of those dreams back with her when she wakes. Afraid she might be losing her grip on reality, MacKenzie starts to reconnect with her estranged family and learns that they, too, have similar 'gifts' of visions and dream premonitions. Armed with this knowledge, she and her remaining sister Tracey, along with their cousin Kassidy, set out to understand what Sabrina is trying to tell her, and uncover a force much darker than they could have ever anticipated.

Steeped in Indigenous forklore and magik, and strong family dynamics, the atomspheric Bad Cree is more horror adjacent than actual horror, and I think it's best when you go in knowing as little as possible, like I did. It exceeded my expectations because quite frankly, I wasn't sure what I was expecting. And it really blew me away. If you're seeking more stellar debut and Indigenous fiction, Jessica Johns is where it's at!

Pinata by Leopoldo Gout

Slow burn horror novels are such an interesting thing. Initially I'm all like c'mon already, get to the good stuff because I know it's in here... but then once the good stuff finally gets going I'm all like whoaaaaa there, slow down, why are you in such a rush all of a sudden?!

Also, mothers, how well do you know your daughters?

In Pinata, we find ourselves following Carmen Sanchez and her daughters Izel and Luna as they travel to Mexico so that Carmen can keep an eye on the renovation that's taking place on the site of an old Abbey. Carmen's excited to introduce her kids to some of thier cultural history, but things take a weird turn when some scaffolding comes loose and exposes a hidden alcove containing some ancient clay pots and other detritus. During the commotion Luna, ever the curious girl, sneaks one of the strange pots out of the room and manages to smuggle it back to their home in New York, unbeknownst to Carmen, when word of the accident at the abbey gets back to her boss.

Little by little, Luna begins to withdraw inside herself and strange things start to happen at a water's boil sort of pace. Small things that Carmen and Izel could easily brush aside without much second thought, like the sounds of Luna speaking to someone in her room when no one else is in there with her and the creepy drawings she's been sketching, soon become more worrisome until eventually there's too much to ignore, like waking up to a dog sized cricket at the foot of your bed, and uhm hello, NOW you realize that a very pissed off ancient entity is attempting to use your child's body as a gateway for the apocalypse? Really?!

While there were some head-shaking, eye-rolling, shoulder-shrugging moments of really bad parenting, it was quite a unique and wild ride. I see it being compared to both The Exorcist and A Headful of Ghosts and that's actually a pretty good way to describe this book. I was highly anticipating this one and it didn't let me down.

Patterns of Orbit by Chloe N Clark

I picked up this collection today and had not expected to tear through it so darn quickly!

In Patterns of Orbit, Chloe deftly navigates the harsh realities of outer space, the horrors buried deep within the ocean, and literally everything in between. Her stories are relentless in the best way. She accomplishes in a few pages what others can't pull off in a hundred.

Steeped in love and loss, comforts and fears, science fiction and horror, these stories will unsettle you. They will gut you. They will crawl under your skin and haunt you. If you don't start looking at forests, bodies of water, and the stars differently after this... do I even know you?

How to Sell a Haunted House by Grady Hendrix

This was my first Grady Hendrix novel, though I #ownbutnotyetread a few others, and I think I'm glad I started with this one. Based on the reviews I've read, I see people calling it "campy", others considering it a possession story vs a haunting. Well, you know what I say? I say it was a whole lot of fun! And I'm ready for more.

I listened to it on audio and really loved how it played out in that format. The narration was wonderful, the characters didn't take themselves too seriously, and even though I totally saw what was coming from a mile away, it didn't take away from the experience AT ALL.

And oh, btw, did you know I absolutely hate hate HATE dolls, puppets, ventriloquist dummies, and marionettes? They creep me out so bad. When I was a kid, for some strange reason I really wanted a Groucho Marx dummy for Christmas and once I got it, I was sooo terrified of it that I stripped all his clothes off and locked him in the coat closet so he couldn't get me at night. Seriously, google it. You'll see why. And I always made sure I fairly rotated all of my stuffed animals and dolls in bed with me each night so they didn't get jealous of each other or get mad at me. So uhm, YEAAAAH this book was also one massive fucking trigger for me too! And I STILL loved it!


Thursday, February 2, 2023

The 40 But 10 Interview Series: Niamh McAnally


New year, new interview series! Looking forward into 2023, I have decided to retire the literary Would You Rather series, but didn't want to stop interviews on the site all together. Instead, I've pulled together 40ish questions - some bookish, some silly - and have asked authors to limit themselves to answering only 10 of them. That way, it keeps the interviews fresh and connectable for all of us!

We're joined today by Niamh McAnally. Niamh is an Irish-born author, former TV director, and youngest daughter of the late BAFTA award-winning actor, Ray McAnally, and actor, Ronnie Masterson. Niamh has traveled all over the world and lived and worked as a volunteer in many island nations in the Caribbean and the South Pacific. In 2016 she helped a solo sailor crew his boat from Florida to the Bahamas. It was only supposed to last a month. Niamh soon realized she had not only found the life she loved but also the love of her life. She and Captain Gary have sailed as far north as Maine in the USA and south to Grenada. They are now joyfully married. Many of her stories are inspired by her travels on land and at sea. Flares Up: A Story Bigger Than The Atlantic from UK-based Pitch Publishing was conceived when she photographed Paul Hopkins and Phil Pugh’s moment of triumph after they had 3,000 nautical miles across the Atlantic. Her short story Haul Out is featured in the anthology A Page from My Life, and she has been published in The Journal, The Irish Times, Sail, and Subsea magazines. Niamh blogs as The Writer On The Water.

What’s the best money you’ve ever spent as a writer?

Traveling the world as a volunteer. Having helped small businesses and families in places like St. Barth’s, New Zealand, Vanuatu, Fiji, Tonga, Palau, Vietnam, Sweden, Spain, Bahamas and the Caribbean, I have research material for more books than I could manage to write in a lifetime. One of my projects was to help a solo sailor crew his boat from Florida to the Bahamas. It was only supposed to last a month but somewhere on the high seas a spark ignited between us and we kissed the flame. A month turned into four, a year into six. We are now married. Best investment ever. The story features in my memoir Following Sunshine and living on our sailboat Freed Spirit put me in the right place at the right time to be inspired to write Flares Up.


Describe your book in three words.

Inspiring. Relatable. Unputdownable.


If you met your characters in real life, what would you say to them?

“Why?” And I did. The protagonists of Flares Up are two real, middle-aged men who got into a fourth-hand, twenty-foot wooden boat and rowed it 3,000 nautical miles across the Atlantic. I wanted to know why they did it — not the prepared why they told the press, or the noble why they told their friends, but the real why they told themselves in the dead of night. The why that drove them during the years of preparation and enabled them to say goodbye to loved ones they prayed they would see again. The why that made quitting not an option when they faced storms and equipment failure in the middle of Poseidon’s rage and they why they had yet to discover once they stepped on dry land and reflected on who they had become during those 70 days, 9 hours and 11 minutes at sea.


Do you read the reviews of your books or do you stay far far away from them, and why?

Yes, I read both those written by professional reviewers as well as book lovers. Why? Because even though opinions can be subjective I am always on the lookout for suggestions and positive critiques on how I might improve my craft.


What’s the single best line you’ve ever read?

As writers we are taught to “show” don’t “tell”. The best example I have ever read of this is by Hilaire Belloc in The Cruise of the Nona when he “shows” us the size of the vessel: “Four men were happy on board her, five men she could carry, six men quarrelled.”


What’s something that’s true about you but no one believes?

That I’m an introvert. I’m a former TV director/actor. I have a very gregarious personality, enjoy public speaking, and making someone laugh so most people think I’m joking when I say I am an introvert. But once I explain that unlike an extrovert who gains their energy from being around other people, an introvert revitalizes in their alone time and spends that energy in public, then they get it. When I feel “peopled-out” I know I need some quiet time to reflect and go inward.


If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

An ability to clean the oceans, restore the coral reefs to vibrant health and return captured dolphins and whales to the wild.


If you could spend the day with another author, who would you choose and why?

Nora Roberts. The first book of hers I read was The Reef. I am a former scuba-diving instructor and when I read her passages that take place under water, I was so sure she was an avid diver herself. Not so, apparently. I’d love to chat with her about how she combines her research with her writing skills to craft such believable settings and environments.


What songs would be on the soundtrack of your life?

“Columbus” by Mary Black

“Shiver me Timbers” by Bette Midler

“I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack

“Follow the Sun” by Xavier Rudd


Are you a toilet paper over or under kind of person?

Definitely over. And as for whether the glass is half full or half empty? My answer is neither. The glass is always full: half with water, half with air.



Flares Up is a true story of adventure, tenacity and the capacity of the human spirit to triumph over adversity.

Firefighter Paul Hopkins, 55, survives a brain haemorrhage. The experience motivates him to undertake the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge – to row 3,000 miles across the Atlantic. He teams up with entrepreneur Phil Pugh, who is aged 65 but renowned for undertaking extreme physical challenges in honour of his disabled son.

They encounter major financial and physical setbacks, which cause years of delays and put a strain on both their marriages. Finally, on 12 December 2019, in a fourth-hand 20ft wooden boat, they set off from the Canary Islands.

Violent storms, 30ft waves and equipment failure leave both men seasick, dehydrated and sleep-deprived. Alone on the ocean, they are forced to examine their lives. Was the decision to undertake this challenge brave, selfish or foolish? After 70 gruelling days at sea, they cross the finish line, two changed men. Will either of their wives be there to greet them?

Buy a copy here: 

FLARES UP: A Story Bigger Than The Atlantic

Monday, January 30, 2023

The 40 but 10 Interview Series: Joey Hedger


New year, new interview series! Looking forward into 2023, I have decided to retire the literary Would You Rather series, but didn't want to stop interviews on the site all together. Instead, I've pulled together 40ish questions - some bookish, some silly - and have asked authors to limit themselves to answering only 10 of them. That way, it keeps the interviews fresh and connectable for all of us!

Today, Joey Hedger joins us. Joey is author of Deliver Thy Pigs (Malarkey Books) and In the Line of a Hurricane, We Wait (Red Bird Chapbooks). A former Floridian, he currently lives in Alexandria, Virginia. You can find his writing at


Why do you write?

I write because I genuinely enjoy writing. I’ve always loved reading fiction, and I always wanted to do that, in whatever way possible: create fiction. It’s an absurd activity, almost embarrassing—putting words on a page and asking people to pretend they’re real. But it’s also a form of communication that makes sense to me, because there’s already a sense of creativity and vanity in communication, but when someone says back to me what they thought of my writing, it really tells me something about them, in the sense that they saw a certain scene EXACTLY as I did, or completely opposite. Now that my book’s been out for a while, those are the things I’ve noticed.


Do you have any hidden talents?

I’m a pretty good guitar player, an okay piano player, and a pretty bad banjo player.

What’s the most useless skill you possess?

Magic tricks. When I was a kid, I learned a bunch of coin-based magic tricks, and even made up a few, that are still floating around in my brain with little to no purpose.

Describe your book poorly.

A group of losers try to make their town smell less bad.

Would you and your main character(s) get along?

My main character is named Marco Polo Woodridge, and he’s sort of weirdly compulsive, individualistic, depressed, and mourning (at the time of the book’s beginning). I think we’d get along okay, especially as kids, but only if our families knew each other. He feels like the kind of person you’ve known for a long time, but neither of you really call or reach out anymore.

What is your favorite book from childhood?

I was quite obsessed with Brian Jacques’ Redwall series as a child.

What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading Unruined by Roger Vaillancourt, a recent title released by my own publisher Malarkey Books. I’m biased, because I feel like all the other “Malarkey” authors from this last year are my book siblings, but I get each title when it comes out through the publisher’s book club, and they really are some of the best books I’ve read in a while.

 What’s the one book someone else wrote that you wish you had written?

99 Stories of God by Joy Williams. There’s something so precise and minimalistic and beautiful and absurd about that book (and Williams’s writing generally) that always gives me a proverbial knuckle sandwich in the gut anytime I read it that makes me simultaneously want to quit writing and also improve in any way I can.

  What’s on your literary bucket list?

 This might not be exactly a bucket list wish, but I would love to see my book get physically passed around between readers. I would love for someone to discover and read my book because someone else handed it to them and said, “You should read this.” An odd dream of mine is that I stop selling books entirely because there’s a secret network of people just passing my book from person to person to person until its reach has gone so much farther than I could ever take it.

Do you DNF books?

I prefer to call it DNFY (Did Not Finish Yet). There are admittedly a few books on my nightstand as well as many more that I’ve dropped back off at the library or the used book store that I’m convinced I’ll get back to eventually. Even if just as a ghost.


It’s been a year since defiant vandal Marco Polo Woodridge lost his father in a gruesome factory accident at J. Lowell’s Meat Factory, the noxious Midwestern pork giant that employs the majority of Prairie Ridge, Illinois’s residents. Despite the smell of death in the air—both from the lingering memory of Charles Woodridge and the thousands of pigs slaughtered daily at J. Lowell’s—the people of Prairie Ridge live in a state of regretful acceptance of the company’s hold on the community. That is, until Marco Polo teams up with Susan and Margaret Banks, the mother-daughter duo committed to restoring Illinois’s native tree population and sticking it to the man all the while. With grit, humor, and Midwestern charm, Pigs examines what happens when you bite the hand that feeds, and what happens when that hand is the very one destroying you.

 Buy the book here: