About 25 years ago, Steve McCondichie received a reproduction of a late 19th century photograph from his father.
The sepia-faded image depicts McCondichie’s grandfather as a young boy sitting barefoot and knickered somewhere in the now-defunct town of Scots Station, Alabama. Framed and placed prominently on his writing desk, the photo served to crystallize the significance of Scots Station in his family lore.
This March, McCondichie is breathing life back into that small, forgotten Alabama town with the release of his second novel, “The Parlor Girl’s Guide,” published SFK Press based in Newnan, Georgia.
“I had all these stories and snippets from a lifetime of weddings, reunions, and funerals swirling around inside me,” McCondichie said. They helped to shape the land and the people living there.”
McCondichie used the existing town of Moreland, Georgia, to help him pull Scotts Station up from the past and onto the pages. Moreland is located in Southern Coweta County and has an estimated population of 422 according to the 2016 Census.
However, while Scotts Station shaped the novel’s setting, McCondichie drew strongly from another source to influence his development of Molly Lingo, the novel’s memorable protagonist.
“My mother was a big fan of ‘Gone with the Wind.’ I must have seen it around 40 times growing up,” McCondichie said. “Scarlet O’Hara and her rebelliousness is something that was ingrained in me.”
But McCondichie wasn’t satisfied with a copycat version of the iconic anti-belle.
“I needed to push that attitude further. Eventually Molly turned into this marriage of Scarlet O’Hara and Lisbeth Salander from ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’” McCondichie said.
In “The Parlor Girl’s Guide,” a hard-edged country girl enlists the living and the dead to guide her past family tragedy and forge her escape from a secluded Southern brothel. After her father’s murder and mother’s abonnement, a merciless landowner forces Molly Lingo to work in a rural Alabama hunting lodge that doubles as an exclusive whorehouse. Molly, the feisty tough teenage daughter of a hand-to-mouth tobacco farmer, employs a mysterious specter and a troubled gambler, “Cotton” Arnold, to assist her in breaking away from the unrelenting grip of the sharecropper culture. Set at the beginning of the Jazz Age’s promising sweep across America, Molly’s story depicts both the shocking brutality of the landlord class and a young woman’s determination not to be treated as a second-class citizen. This energetic historical fiction offers supernatural thrills and the poignant transformation of a metaphysical coming-of-age tale.
After 25 years peddling bulldozers around the globe, Steve McCondichie exited the corporate world to pursue his true purpose—telling thrilling tales about our meandering journeys through life. A well-traveled native Southerner, he works as a real estate novelist and lives in Newnan, Georgia and Amelia Island, Florida.
Praise for “The Parlor Girl’s Guide”:
“A gritty portrayal of a plucky young woman of the Deep South, who is victimized by dark forces beneath the glitz and glamour of the Jazz Age.” —John Russo, co-creator of “Night of the Living Dead”
“’Elegantly wrought and paced for action…” —Amos Jasper Wright IV, author of “Nobody Knows How It Got This Good”
“Molly is feisty, resourceful and beautifully flawed. Truly captivating anti-heroine.” —Gisele Firmino, author of “The Marble Army”
“McCondichie is part historian, poet, raconteur, and guiding spirit through a violent, Southern dreamscape.” —JD Wilkes, author of “The Vine That Ate the South”
More information about “The Parlor Girl’s Guide” can be found at: https://sfkpress.com/titles-the-parlor-girls-guide
More information about Steve McCondichie can be found at: https://stevemccondichie.com/
Media Kit for “The Parlor Girl’s Guide” is available here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1ATYHC35fJTC9oFKCseAc5leiWGFl5DQx?usp=sharing
For review copies and interview requests, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (770) 683-1239.
Purchase “The Parlor Girl’s Guide” March 26 from your favorite local Southern independent bookseller or online.