LSBBT Under The Bayou Moon by Valerie Fraser Luesse


Valerie Fraser Luesse

Categories: Fiction / Christian / Historical
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: August 3, 2021
Number of Pages: 352

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When Ellie Fields accepts a teaching job in a tiny Louisiana town deep in bayou country in 1949, she knows her life will change--but she could never imagine just how dramatically.

Though rightfully suspicious of outsiders, who have threatened both their language and their unique culture, most of the residents come to appreciate the young and idealistic schoolteacher, and she's soon teaching just about everyone, despite opposition from both the school board and a politician with ulterior motives. Yet it's the lessons Ellie herself will learn--from new friends, a captivating Cajun fisherman, and even a legendary white alligator haunting the bayou--that will make all the difference.

Take a step away from the familiar and enter the shadowy waters of bayou country for a story of risk, resilience, and romance.

Valerie Fraser Luesse is the bestselling author of Missing Isaac, Almost Home, and The Key to Everything, as well as an award-winning magazine writer best known for her feature stories and essays in Southern Living, where she is currently senior travel editor. Specializing in stories about unique pockets of Southern culture, Luesse received the 2009 Writer of the Year award from the Southeast Tourism Society for her editorial section on Hurricane Katrina recovery in Mississippi and Louisiana. A graduate of Auburn University and Baylor University, she lives in Birmingham, Alabama, with her husband, Dave.
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Interview with Valerie Fraser Luesse

What do you think most characterizes your writing? It’s very Southern and, I hope, authentic. Readers often tell me they feel like they’re watching my books instead of reading them, which is really interesting to me. 

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Taking readers to Southern Louisiana, which I absolutely love. My husband, Dave, and I got to explore bayou country and Cajun culture for Southern Living magazine, and we both were hooked—on the eerie beauty of chartreuse-dusted waters and cypress trees and Spanish moss, the warmth of the people, the amazing food, and of course the music and dancing .

What are some day jobs that you have held?  Have any of them impacted your writing? My longtime day job is magazine writing. I worked with or for Southern Living magazine in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years, and I’ve been writing travel and culture stories for about a decade. Travels for the magazine and mentoring by the magazine’s veteran writer and photographers absolutely influenced the way I tell stories as a fiction writer.

Do you have any writing pet peeves? Dialog that doesn’t sound like anything a real person would say.

What projects are you working on at the present? I’m working on a new book inspired by my maternal grandmother and her sister, both of whom always had an air of mystery about them for me—but for very different reasons. The working title is Letters from My Sister.

What does your perfect writing spot look like? Is that what your ACTUAL writing spot looks like? 

I’m very blessed on that front—my actual writing spot IS my perfect writing spot, which my husband designed for me. We call it the Story Shack. The preschoolers next door call it Miss Val’s “wittle house.” It’s a tiny cottage with a steep-pitched roof, a vaulted ceiling to make it feel bigger than it really is, a little front porch, and tons of family pictures and sentimental treasures that inspire me, all scattered around a high display shelf that keeps them accessible but out of the way. There’s a red velvet chair for my orange cat, Cheeto, and a rocker for the occasional nap by a big picture window. 

Do you have any strange writing habits or writing rituals you’d like to share with your readers? 

My favorite writing time is a couple of hours before dawn, and I like to write in the dark, with Sea Grove scented candles burning—gardenia or honeysuckle fragrance in warm weather and a Christmasy candle called Yuletide once the weather turns cold.

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

I’d never write about a place that I have no real connection with. I guess it’s the travel writer in me. I have to know where I am. A clear sense of place helps me develop characters that feel real to me—and, I hope, to readers.

What question do you wish someone would ask about your book, but nobody yet has? Did Ellie choose the right man?

What’s something interesting, fun, or funny that most people don’t know about you? The first telephone that I remember was a black rotary dial, mounted inside the hallway of my grandmother’s farmhouse, and it was an 8-party line—that is, 8 rural Alabama families sharing one phone line. You’d better believe some eavesdropping happened.

What is your favorite quote?

I don’t think I have a single favorite, but I love this one from Eudora Welty:

“My continuing passion is to part a curtain, that invisible veil of indifference that falls between us and that blinds us to each other's presence, each other's wonder, each other's human plight.”

What is something you want to accomplish before you die? I want to live in the house my husband and I hope to build on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and write stories from an office overlooking the water.

What do you want your tombstone to say? She’s not here.

 A copy of Under the Bayou Moon, $10 Starbucks gift card,
& Flavors of the Bayou seasonings gift box. 
(US only, ends midnight, CDT, 8/13/2021) 

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Or, visit the blogs directly:


Notable Quotable

All the Ups and Downs





Author Interview

The Book's Delight



Hall Ways Blog



StoreyBook Reviews



Tangled in Text



Stories Under Starlight



Forgotten Winds



The Adventures of a Travelers Wife


Top Five

Chapter Break Book Blog



Jennie Reads



The Plain-Spoken Pen


BONUS Review

Jennifer Silverwood

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  1. What a great line for the tombstone! Thanks for the interview -- can't wait to read this book. She's an amazing writer.

  2. Thank YOU so much for the interview and for making Under the Bayou Moon part of your blog tour. I appreciate you and your readers more than I can say. All the best from Alabama. (And longing for my next trip to Louisiana!)


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