John Pritchard's first book, Junior Ray, was the little novel that could. A small-press title told from the perspective of an ornery, racist sheriff in the Mississippi Delta, the novel lured readers past its rampant "cussin'," proud political incorrectness, and backwater dialect to present a hilarious and thoughtful character study. Most readers had never encountered anything quite like it, and so the author, taking delight in the book's reception as well as the prospect of spending more time with his character, brought Junior Ray Loveblood back for The Yazoo Blues. The semi-retired anti-hero is a now a casino security guard, a vantage from which he can report on the colorful surroundings and reminisce about the people and strange experiences he has known, all with profane glee. The result is a surprisingly profound and unlikely view of the post-civil rights South.
In stark contrast to his rogue character, Mr. Pritchard is convivial and enlightened, an upbeat personality who still embodies the Delta eccentricities of his roots. On the eve of his reading at Turnrow, we had a chance to lure him out from behind his chief character and ask him a few questions about his writing.
Turnrow Book Co.: Congratulations on the acclaim for this new book, The Yazoo Blues, but I'm terribly interested in any bad reviews. Especially people who have been offended by Junior Ray and presume you are using this character to speak your mind. How does a character like Junior Ray get through in this politically correct age?