A Discussion With Bestselling Author Tom Franklin discussion

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter -- The Title

Comments Showing 1-9 of 9 (9 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Tom (new)

Tom Franklin | 10 comments Mod
Dear Readers, After setting my previous short stories and novels in Alabama, I decided to move this new novel to Mississippi because I loved the title “Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter”—a mnemonic device used in schools in the south to teach kids how to spell MISSISSIPPI. I thought it sounded like a great Elmore Leonard novel, what do you think? Thanks, T.

message 2: by robert (new)

robert | 1 comments I certainly look forward to reading the new novel. As a native Mississippian, Ole Miss English major grad, and lover of your novel Hell at the Breech, I am happy to see you here for discussion. Best wishes and cheers.

message 3: by Garry (new)

Garry | 1 comments I am a newbie to your work. I heard your interview on NPR and was intrigue. I liked the slow and incremental way you built your story and your characters and how your story was, at once, ALL about race and NOT about race.

message 4: by James (new)

James | 1 comments I love the title because it sets a strong tone with its repetition and ominous tone. When the reader learns where it comes from (if he/she doesn't already know), it just further sets the tone in terms of the dealing with childhood and learning and Mississippi.

message 5: by Tom (new)

Tom Franklin | 10 comments Mod
Thanks for all the comments. The title sounded to me like an Elmore Leonard title, and I was shocked nobody has used it before. Once it occurred to me, I just slid the towns I'd been writing about several miles west, into southeast Mississippi. It was easy. My friend Jack Pendarvis points out that Silas begins and ends in S's, as in crooked letter, crooked letter. Laura Lippman pointed out that S's are snake-shaped, and that the book's full of snakes, in mailboxes, grass, barns, etc. It's also kind of a crooked novel, not entirely straightforward in its use of time and with a few (I hope) surprises along the way. Plus what a fun word, "crooked." I love that it assumes a second syllable, as opposed to "looked" or "booked." Crooked. We debated about the title, should it be one "Crooked Letter" or two. Should that be its title at all. We exchanged ideas about titles but found nothing better. I'm glad it's called that. Thanks again for the comments.

message 6: by Luke (new)

Luke | 1 comments Tom,

I love your comment above about the 'crookedness' in your new novel. That's one of the things I absolutely love about most of your work that I have read - from Poachers, on to Hell at the Breach and Smonk. Deliciously crooked!

Although I haven't read 'Crooked Letter' yet, I am very much looking forward to reading it over the holidays.

Keep up the great work,


message 7: by Lee (new)

Lee Goldberg (goodreadscomleegoldberg) | 3 comments Congratulations on your Edgar Award Nomination!!


message 8: by Tom (new)

Tom Franklin | 10 comments Mod
Thanks, Lee and Luke. My pal Ace Atkins just got nominated for an Edgar for his new novel.

And Luke, I'm glad you like Smonk. It's my favorite of my books. The bad child, book my mother is ashamed of, that my mother-in-law called "smutty," that my agent (perhaps rightfully) suggested I wait to publish, that has all of my worst indulgences indulgently indulged, and then some.

Cheers, gents.

message 9: by smetchie (new)

smetchie | 1 comments I just finished this amazing book and I love the title! I didn't notice the snakes, or the two Ss in SilaS, but I did think it related nicely to Larry and Silas. So different and yet perfect for each other. Both crooked in their own way, they seem to fit together like two letter Ss...their lives entwined. Thanks for writing this brilliant book. I had a major reading block for a while and I'm pretty sure your book just saved me.

back to top


A Discussion With Bestselling Author Tom Franklin

unread topics | mark unread