Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Q&A with Jess Montgomery

From my Q&A with Jess Montgomery, author of The Stills:
How much work does your title do to take readers into the story?

Though it’s two short words, The Stills works on two levels to bring readers into my novel. The Stills is set in 1927 in the Appalachian area of Ohio (the southeastern corner). Of course, 1927 is a little over halfway through the United States’ experiment with Prohibition. My series focuses on Sheriff Lily Ross, inspired by Ohio’s true first female sheriff. In my first two novels featuring Sheriff Lily, Prohibition—and moonshining and bootlegging—are in the background of the stories, occasionally brought in as minor plot points. In The Stills, bootlegging comes to the forefront, forming a main part of the plot. Lily faces off against George Vogel, a big-time bootlegger, inspired by the real-life crime boss George Remus. She can no longer think of violations of Prohibition as simply being a continuation of backwoods moonshining that has been going on for generations. George is bringing big crime—and big danger—to the heart of Lily’s county, and not long after he arrives, people start to die. She forms a wary alliance with a Bureau of Prohibition agent, as well as people in her community, to confront him.

But Lily is also still slowly coming to terms with her grief over losing her husband, Daniel, in the first novel in the series (The Widows). Other characters, too, must pause and consider how events around them impact them at their deepest level. So The Stills also refers to those quiet, still moments we all have—sometimes by choice, and sometimes as they’re foisted on us—to reflect on our situation, our beliefs, our place in the world.

The Stills also refers to...[read on]
Visit Jess Montgomery's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Widows.

The Page 69 Test: The Hollows.

The Page 69 Test: The Stills.

Q&A with Jess Montgomery.

--Marshal Zeringue