Sunday, March 8, 2020


Michael Farris Smith is an award-winning writer whose novels have appeared on Best of the Year lists with Esquire, Southern Living, Book Riot, and numerous others, and have been named Indie Next List, Barnes & Noble Discover, and Amazon Best of the Month selections. He has been a finalist for the Southern Book Prize, the Gold Dagger Award in the UK, and the Grand Prix des Lectrices in France, and his essays have appeared with the New York Times, Bitter Southerner, Writer’s Bone, and more. He lives in Oxford, Mississippi, with his wife and daughters.

Desperation Road and The Fighter have been optioned for film, with Smith serving as screenwriter for both projects. The Fighter, going by the screen name Rumble Through The Dark, is being produced by Cassian Elwes and directed by Parker and Graham Phillips, whose debut film The Bygone released in November 2019.

Smith applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, Blackwood, and reported the following:
I’m usually amazed by the Page 69 Test with my novels and this time is no different. Blackwood is about many things, but one of those things is the descent into madness, brought on by a lifetime of hardship, downward emotional spirals, and not least of all, a kudzu-covered landscape that covers and chokes out a valley and offers a deep green dark to hide in.

Two of the characters hiding below the vines are a derelict man and woman, living in their broken-down vehicle on the edge of the valley. The man has begun to spend his nights crawling and creeping below the vines, moving through across the valley, beginning to hear voices in his head, and during one of these nights he falls into a cave. Here, he discovers a tunnel, and the voices seem to emanate from the tunnel, and he goes deeper inside. When he discovers a bottomless pit, it is as if he has found some morbid answer.

Here, on page 69, we find the man having talked the woman into going into the tunnel, and as they creep deeper and deeper into the throat of the valley, she is begging him to turn around.
Learn more about the book and author at Michael Farris Smith's website and Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue