Authors You Should Try: Joshilyn Jackson

Joshilyn Jackson writes contemporary, Southern fiction featuring strong and/or eclectic women characters, not to mention some of the most dysfunctional of dysfunctional families ever.

When booktalking her  first novel, gods in Alabama, I simply use this line from the jacket flap: “When Arlene Fleet headed off to college in Chicago, she made three promises to God: She would never again lie, she would stop fornicating with every boy who crossed her path, and she’d never, ever go back to her tiny hometown of Possett, Alabama (the “fourth rack of Hell”). All God had to do in exchange was to make sure the body of high school quarterback Jim Beverly was never found.”  Come on!  Who wouldn’t want to read further?

Her latest book, Backseat Saints, is the story of Ro, an abused wife who realizes it’s time to change her life after she meets a psychic who tells her that husband is going to kill her – and encourages Ro to choose to live by killing him first.

Jackson writes with a lyrical, light style, and her characters find themselves in all sorts of quirky situations.   gods in Alabama, in particular, makes a wonderful discussion because not everyone will find the characters easy to swallow.  When my book club read this last year, about half of the group disliked it – which as we all know, can make for a lively discussion!  Mostly, they couldn’t empathize with the main character, or they found the storyline unsavory, but all agreed it was an interesting plot!

Jackson is also the author of Between, Georgia; and The Girl Who Stopped Swimming.



About the Author:

Rebecca Vnuk is the editor for Collection Management and Library Outreach at Booklist. She is also the author of 3 reader’s-advisory nonfiction books: Read On…Women’s Fiction (2009), Women’s Fiction: A Guide to Popular Reading Interests (2014), and Women’s Fiction Authors: A Research Guide (2009). Follow her on Twitter at @Booklist_RVnuk.

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