>Deanna Raybourn talks about her heritage

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The Delightful Deanna Raybourn Dishes with PBD
When the Paperback Dolls asked me to guest blog, it was suggested that I might like to share a few details of my Texas heritage in honor of the theme this month. Naturally, I jumped at the chance, because honestly, the trick is getting Texans to hush about their heritage!
In my case, I am a sixth-generation native Texan, with roots on my mother’s side going back to the War for Texas Independence. With that kind of history come stories, lots of stories. In Texas, like the rest of the south, women gather in the kitchen to gossip, but the men like to tell a tale or two as well, and more than once I found my grandfather in the yard, telling the same story my grandmother was passing along in the house. Scandal was offered up in juicy tidbits, and I learned that if I was quiet and still, they often forgot I was listening. I got an accidental education in some rather grown-up subjects. I had family members who were adulterers and runaway wives, murderers and horse thieves.

Tales of untimely deaths or the occasional incarceration were related in ghoulish detail. I heard about the great-uncle who fell into a bonfire and perished while burning autumn leaves, and I learned about the wife-killer who carved a hope chest in prison, emblazoning the word “Mother” across the lid. (It now sits serenely in my mother’s bedroom, and you would never guess it had such dubious origins.) I listened to stories about angry fights that erupted into gunfire, and accidental deaths couched as suicides. We were the south Texas version of the Starkadders of Cold Comfort Farm, with more than a few nasty things to be seen in the woodshed.

But those tales became warp and weft to me of the fabric of storytelling. I learned that conflict is the essence of telling a good story, and that the twistier a tale, the better. I learned–like most southerners–that eccentricity was to be prized, and that being ordinary was settling for something less. And while my own storytelling might seem on the surface to borrow more heavily from the English side of my family, I owe my love of the macabre to the Texan half, to men and women who rustled horses and killed their wives and abandoned their babies and drove cattle north to Kansas. They lived larger than most, and because they insisted on living by their own lights, I have a hundred stories to tell.

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5 responses to “>Deanna Raybourn talks about her heritage

  1. >Deanna Raybourn really is amazing!Love her writing! Thanks for sharing with us!!!

  2. >Thank you so much Deanna! What a wonderful guest blog!Can't wait for Lady Julia and Brisbane to strike again! 😉

  3. >I haven't read Ms. Raybourn's work before but because of this guest post I am adding them to my amazon cart right now. What a way with words!Thank you paperback dolls for introducing me to yet another author!-CC

  4. >I'm so glad you featured Deanna! I can still remember reading an ARC of her first book after my Mom told me about her (they were friends) and thinking, "This gal is going to go FAR!" When I met her in person at Malice Domestic a few years ago, she was so gracious, kind, and funny. I'm a huge fan.ASB

  5. >Thanks for the warm welcome, Dolls! (And, Sassy, it was fabulous meeting you too. Tell your mama hi!)

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