A Literary Traveler’s Guide to the Gulf South

I was so thrilled when author Diane Jones Skelton reached out to me earlier this year to tell me she was including my Chloe Jackson Sea Glass Saloon mysteries in her book A Literary Traveler’s Guide to the Gulf South: Bay St. Louis to Apalachicola. It released on August 1st.

Here is more about Diane: DIANE SKELTON is an author and award-winning feature writer living in Gulf Breeze, Florida. She’s written three books and edited several others including Emerald Coast Review XXI, an anthology of regional writers. Her work has been published in The English Journal, national fraternal publications, and regional publications as Mississippi Magazine, Florida Hockey Life, and The Gulf Breeze News. Her newest book is A Literary Traveler’s Guide to the Gulf South (2022). Currently, she teaches memoir classes at the Gulf Breeze, Senior Center and facilitates an Emerald Coast Writers critique group. Before moving to Florida, she advised award-winning student publications in Louisiana, Texas, and Kansas. She taught high school journalism, photojournalism, and English, as well as Mass Communications at Tarrant County College (Texas) and advised student publications at Washburn University (Kansas). Her blog, The Gumbo Diaries, showcases articles on literary travel and writers. She has published two memoirs, The Gumbo Diaries: Mississippi and Beyond (2015) and Thanks for Asking (2020). She is a member of Florida Writers Association, a patron to National League of American Pen Women, Pensacola. She holds a B.S. in Journalism and English from University of Southern Mississippi and a Masters in Journalism from University of Kansas.

The book is packed full of information about the area and the authors who lived there or wrote about it. There are sections with quaint city walks, bird watching, and the Jimmy Buffet Trail. Diane breaks the book down into sections: the Mississippi Coast, Lower Alabama, the Florida Panhandle, and one of my favorite sections Day Trips. Each day trip includes Read, Eat, See recommendations. For the Scenic 30A page she suggests reading the Chloe Jackson Sea Glass Saloon books, Missing on 30A by Deborah Rine, and watching the movie The Truman Show. (I happened to be visiting the Panhandle when they were filming The Truman Show and have pictures of various sets.) It’s such a fun idea so if you ever visit the area be sure to pick up a copy of the book!

Diane also has a blog called The Gumbo Diaries. She writes on a variety of topics including this fun post Cooking on the Road, Eating Like the Locals with recipes about how locals eat in various parts of the Gulf South. Diane also writes about books she reads and I love this post about the book The Heart Mender. It’s set in 1942 about German U boats that were off the Gulf Coast and how author Andy Andrews found German artifacts on his property when he dug up an old tree. Diane wrote about my series along with another in this post about cozy mysteries.

Even if you don’t plan to visit the area this book will take you there!

Readers: Have you ever visited sites where books are set? One of my favorites was visiting Hannibal, Missouri and all the Mark Twain sites there.

20 Thoughts

  1. “One of my favorites was visiting Hannibal, Missouri and all the Mark Twain sites there.” Mine too! We went several times especially a few whenever we were crossing the river. It really was fun as well as interesting given the historical relationships. Good one. Sherry!

    1. My parents had friends in Hannibal so we went a lot. They had a boat and took us out to Turtle Island (I think that’s the name) which is the island Tom ended up on.

  2. That’s so cool, Sherry! A student once called me – she was writing an app for Cape Cod to do something like that book and wanted to include my Cozy Capers books. Not sure if she ever finished it.

    I want to know what was in the Eat section that went with your book.

  3. Way cool, Sherry! I love the Panhandle area and am looking forward to my next trip there.
    John Green’s novel THE FAULT IN OUR STARS is set partly in the area of Indianapolis where I live. When the film came out, I wrote a blog post with photos of the key landmarks – North Central High School (where my kids went), Holliday Park, the Art Museum’s Funky Bones exhibit, and the Speedway Gas Station. I had so much fun doing that!

  4. Very cool, Sherry! I’m having a hard time putting my brain in gear to think of examples, but I’m sure I have visited sites in books.

  5. What a fabulous idea! Now I want to go back to the Panhandle and visit all the literary sites cited! I can’t recall ever doing a physical literary tour, but I love to travel through books.

  6. I was going to say no, and then you mentioned Hannibal. Yep, spent a couple of hours there walking around seeing “all the sites”. Lovely place. Oh, and how could I forget Salem, Massachusetts? Another wonderful place to visit the books. What a great road trip it would be to travel around the US and visit all the places where books are set. One would have to live a hundred years!

  7. How very cool!

    As you know, I have visited an area where a book was set quite recently. (I was in Sarah Winston’s neck of the woods recently and got ice cream at the stand that Sarah visits in the series.) It’s always fun when I get to do that. I also enjoy reading books set in So Cal for that reason.

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