AL: In your own words, what is Beaufort Falls about?

Mari Sloan: It's a small town in the South in the late seventies, and family values
rule. Secrets are still kept and strange things are never explained.  Evil happens, but
no one talks about it.  Like most small towns, nothing is what it seems to be.

AL: So what is the story?  What do you mean by evil?  What do you mean by family
values rule?

Mari Sloan: In small towns then, all morality was judged by the Ten Commandments.  
Your preacher was the judge of what was right or wrong, and he was expected to be
above reproach. In this story two different preachers twist morality to their own
standards.  One is cruel, the other just an opportunist who means well, but manages
to stray.  Premeditated evil is punished from beyond the grave and a mother's love
for her children manages to transcend death; not that big a feat in the
ghost-saturated South during that era.

AL: It sounds like there are a lot of religious overtones in this book.  Is this a
religious story?

Mari Sloan: No.  It's a human story where several people twist religion to cover their
own weaknesses.  It's a satire, written with very human characters.  It's a story of
strength and love with some very funny moments.

AL: Tell me a little bit about the story.

Mari Sloan: Basically Eliza Parsons returns from the dead to try to kill her husband,
the man who murdered her. He is abusing two of her children and has done something
with a third baby, and she is driven to find out what happened to this child.  She
cannot rest until her children are safe and these goals are accomplished.  She uses
everything in both the physical, and metaphysical, worlds to make these things
happen. Her former lover, a man who never did anything right in his entire lifetime,
wakes up from a drunken stupor and discovers a head next to him.  He is inspired to
continue along the path of increasing insanity and contributes, in his own way, to
Eliza's goals.  The brunt of trying to maintain sanity falls on a little eight year old
child, Molly, who ends up placed in a children's psychiatric hospital. The story
eventually has a happy ending.

AL: This story was placed in the horror genre? Is this story really horror?

Mari Sloan: I call it "Spoofy Southern Horror" because even though it is a serious
story, I am very tongue in cheek in the way that I tell it.  I have characters in it that
are dumb as a box of rocks, hospital administrators that just want money and power
and people pushed to the very edge of what they are capable of doing, all in an
attempt to appear normal, when nothing is normal.  Everyone in it is horribly absurd
and wonderfully human.  I don't see it as horror in the traditional sense, even though
it has a "head-lopping serial killer" in it.

AL: So would you say it is more of a satire?  

Mari Sloan: Yes, but a gentle satire.  It's not a biting satire, it's more like the way
you poke fun at your favorite Aunt or Uncle, even though you know they're not quite
all here, mostly you like them anyway.  Only one character is without any redeeming
qualities, even though there are actually two villains.

AL: This sounds personal.  Are any of these characters based on people you know?

Mari Sloan: All writing comes from people and places you actually know.  Even
science fiction comes from personal experience, removed to other realities. The
characters in Beaufort Falls are pushed by circumstances to extremes, but I know
them all. None of the people from my past were serial killers, but they never were in
Charlie's situation, or J.D.'s.  Who knows what they might have done if they had
been?  I'm willing to bet you've known some of these people, too.

AL: To wrap this up, books are expensive, why should people buy this one?

Mari Sloan: It'll make you laugh and cry, both at the same time.  Now wait a minute,
I've already said that somewhere before.  Seriously, it is a look at a place that
doesn't exist, but could.  You never really know what goes on in anyone's head when
you can't listen.  Beaufort Falls is the underbelly of Southern small town reality,
taken to extremes.  Ghosts exist in the South.  It's a good idea not to stir them up.  
Read Beaufort Falls and be wary.
An interview with the author, Mari Sloan

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The aroma of coffee wafted through the air as Mari Sloan and AL watched the sun
rise over the Santa Monica mountains.

"You know we have to do an interview," he reminded her.

"Don't you think it's silly after all our time together?  Not many interviewers get to
kiss the author."

"Not at all.  I still have questions," he laughed.

AL: Why did you write Beaufort Falls?

Mari Sloan: When I restarted my life, I wanted to try something new, and previously
I'd written
short stories and bad poetry. I wondered if I could sustain the energy to
complete a novel, and I decided to write about things I am familiar with, insanity and
the South.
Music: Kevin MacLeod
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