Holly Goddard Jones was in between projects when she sat down to write a little horror story about killer ticks. But literary questions kept sneaking into her thoughts, and as she probed the backstories and motivations of her characters, her short thriller grew into a novel.
“The Salt Line” (G.P. Putnam’s Sons/2017) is set in the not-too-distant future, when humans keep themselves safe from deadly, disease-carrying ticks behind rings of scorched earth. When an exorbitantly-priced trip takes privileged tourists outside the borders to see the natural world, they must confront not only the killer pathogens and a murderous band of survivalists who live there, but also their understanding of the society they have created for themselves.
Host Frank Stasio talks with author Holly Goddard Jones about the inspiration for the story that grew into a dystopian novel. Goddard Jones is an English and creative writing professor at the University of North Carolina Greensboro.
She’ll be reading from her novel at Scuppernong Books in Greensboro at 7 p.m. on August 31, at Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill at 7 p.m. on September 6, and at Malaprop’s Bookstore in Asheville at 6 p.m. on September 13.