Most people would probably assume the original inspiration for a book called Dear Hank Williams would be tied to country music. And they'd be right, but the first seed for my story wasn't the famous singer/songwriter from Alabama. Even though I was a Hank Williams fan, I didn't think of the role he would play in the book until much later. The country music angle came from the Goree All-Girl String Band.
In 2003, I read an article by Skip Hollandsworth in Texas Monthly Magazine. "O Sister Where Art Thou?" told the story of a group of women prisoners from Goree Prison Unit in Huntsville Texas who formed a band. They sang at the prison rodeo and at the warden's home. Their radio performances caused their fan base to grow. Even so, most of the women didn't pursue a musical career after they did their time.
After reading Hollandsworth's article, I filed it away, hoping some story would surface one day. Right off, I thought it would be interesting to write about a character with a mother who becomes a Goree Girl, but that's just a situation. I didn't have a story until two other bits of inspiration joined in and gave me what would eventually become Dear Hank Williams. I'll tell you about one of those in my next post.