The Shoe Burnin’: Stories of Southern Soul is a collection of the works of 24 diverse, talented southern writers and singers.
Bev Marshall began her writing career during the years her husband served in the USAF, writing lifestyle pieces for military publications and various magazines and newspapers. After living in Mildenhall, England, for three years, Marshall and her husband returned to the States where she began publishing short stories in literary magazines and anthologies.
Her first novel, Walking Through Shadows, published in 2002, was a Booksense Pick, an alternate Literary Guild selection, and was chosen as one of the best debut novels of 2002 by the New Orleans Times Picayune. Her second novel, Right As Rain, won the Mississippi Library Association Fiction of the Year Award. It was also nominated for the National Book Critics Circle’s Fiction of the Year and the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Fiction of the year. Right As Rain was chosen for the Best Novels of 2004 list by the New Orleans Times Picayune.
Bev serves on the Board of Directors for the Tennessee Williams New Orleans Literary Festival, is the co-founder of the St. Tammany Parish Writers Group and the Southeastern Louisiana University Writers Group. Bev lives with her husband Butch in Ponchatoula, La., just down the road from a caged live alligator that serves as one of the town’s tourist attractions.
Excerpt from The Shoe Burnin': Stories of Southern Soul
“Seven Days” by Bev Marshall
She stands watching his back until he disappears. When the door to the jet way closes, the silence in the room is unbearable. She hears her breath, the inhalation of the girl standing next to her. She moves away almost, tiptoeing to the window. She sees the plane sitting on the runway now like a giant bomb that will blow up the lives of the families in this room. She sees the frightened drawn faces at the window. As the women and children watch the plane slowly begin to taxi away, the sound of their breaths can’t be heard anymore. They’re all holding them in. She watches the plane until it turns onto the taxiway, and she leans her forehead against the glass. It is cool on her sunburn and she feels water running down her leg from the blisters breaking behind her knees. No one leaves the room. Everyone knows that some of them will be widows within months or even weeks. Some of the children in this room won’t have a father to toss them a ball, to tuck them into bed, to teach them to drive or swim or fish or share any of life’s lessons. She drops down onto a plastic chair; some of the women continue standing at the window as if expecting the plane to reappear. Finally, a baby cries from across the room, and then a torrent of sobs erupts. She sees several girls sink to the floor, two of them pregnant, and she thinks maybe she could be one of them now. Maybe she’s carrying an egg inside her womb at this moment and a baby of their own will be the gift of this trip. But somehow she knows that her womb is as barren as her heart, and she picks up her carry-on and walks away from the carnage, the obscenity of war.
Right As Rain
“An old-fashioned family saga and a page-turner, a wonderful blend of comedy and tragedy … These voices ring true.”
—Brad Watson, author of The Heaven of Mercury
“Bev Marshall has managed the rare feat of mixing history and fiction, memory and magic, and she has accomplished the all but impossible task of writing about race in a way that is utterly generous … It’s not often that a writer’s staying power is so evident so quickly.”
—Kaye Gibbons, author of Ellen Foster and Divining Women
“Marshall has put her heart and soul on the page for the reader, and the result is a novel so haunting and beautiful it will stay with me always.”
—Silas House, author of A Parchment of Leaves andClay’s Quilt
Walking Through Shadows: A Novel (2005)
Hot Fudge Sundae Blues: A Novel (2005)
Right as Rain: A Novel(2005)