By Kathy Wilson Florence
Is an idyllic childhood ever as simple as it seems?
GET SWEPT UP IN THE SOUTHERN CHARM AND NOSTALGIC
WHIMSY OF THIS PAGE-TURNING NEW NOVEL
Engrossing family dynamics and pitch-perfect details of a Southern 1960s childhood flutter
off the page and into your imagination in Jaybird’s Song by Kathy Wilson Florence. It is the
story of Josie Flint, affectionately called “Jaybird” by her imposing father, and her role as the
eldest of the three Flint sisters, grand-daughters to honored family matriarch Annie Joe. Surrounding this poignant and evocative coming-of-age story, however, is the turbulent South as Jim Crow laws come to an end in Josie’s home of Atlanta. Her school desegregates and the country meanders through new ideas brought about by the Civil Rights movement, while a personal tragedy breaches Josie’s world and shatters the perfect childhood she treasured.
In Jaybird’s Song, Florence skillfully alternates between these defining moments of
Josie’s childhood and 35 years later when her beloved grandmother, Annie Joe, passes away. Revealing a long-kept family secret, a new kind of heartache begins for Josie as she struggles to rise against tragedy with grace with maintaining loyalty to the family she holds so dear. The depth of Florence’s brilliantly crafted, strong female characters continues to surprise and awe the reader throughout, as does her ability to turn the turbulent 1960s South into a character all its own. Modern women will relate to the ladies of Jaybird’s Song of a bygone era as they grapple with sexuality and aggression from the opposite sex in a time before trigger warnings and rape culture awareness.
“Jaybird’s Song began with a paragraph about southern women. I must have been channeling Beverly, Josie’s mother, with the first few lines and thought the story was going to be about her. But Jaybird took over and this is the story that unfolded,” Florence said. “This has been so much fun. Many a night, Josie would wake me up with an idea for a story line or a nudge toward another chapter.”
Kathy Wilson Florence was raised in Atlanta, graduated from Georgia State University,
married a native Atlantan, and birthed her two daughters at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta.
She is a full-time Realtor with her husband Tom in Dunwoody, Georgia. In her “off hours,”
Florence runs her own graphic design, copywriting and marketing business, Right Brain
Communications, and writes novels. She was a weekly columnist for the Dunwoody Crier
newspaper for 16 years where she penned “Over the Picket Fence.” A collection of favorite
columns can be found in her first book, You’ve Got a Wedgie Cha Cha Cha.
Jaybird’s Song can be found on Amazon.