What better way to celebrate Texas Writers Month than to spotlight author, writer/producer and deep-rooted Texan, Attica Locke?
From making up stories during road trips daydreamin’ in the back seat of the car, to writing and producing Netflix’s When They See Us and the Hulu adaptation of Little Fires Everywhere, Attica Locke proves that with hard work and dedication comes well-deserved success, making her our honorary Texan of the Week.
Before writing and producing for Netflix and Hulu, Locke wrote scripts for media giants Paramount, Warner Bros, Disney and HBO—just to name a few. She also was a writer and producer on the Fox drama Empire. (Which happens to be one of my favorite shows!)
With five well-received novels under her belt, this Houston native has received many accolades throughout her career. Her latest novel, Heaven, My Home, was released in September 2019, the sequel to her fourth novel, Edgar Award-winning Bluebird, Bluebird.
In celebration of Texas Writers Month, we sat down with this Edgar Award-winning author.
You were born in Houston in 1974, but grew up in East Texas. What was it like for you growing up in the Piney Woods region?
I actually grew up in Houston. But I spent a lot of time in the Piney Woods region because my family’s from there, and I still had aunts and uncles and great-aunts and great-uncles and grandparents and great-grandparents living in towns along Highway 59 in East Texas.
I always thought the piney woods were pretty and peaceful, but I don’t think I developed a deep appreciation for that part of the state until I was older, and I’d already left Texas. Now, I think it is one of the most beautiful places in the world, and I understand the values of community, hard work and personal integrity that I got from my ancestors living there.
Why did you become a writer?
I’ve said before that I became a writer on Highway 59—because we used to take a lot of road trips to see all that family I was talking about. We would visit folks all the time, and I was probably going up and down that highway several times a month from the time I was a baby, nearly through high school. And this was before iPads and all that, so all I ever did in the back seat of the car was look out the window—at the piney landscape, the creeks and rivers and trailers and fruit stands—and daydream. I’d make up stories. I started writing down stories when I was in middle school, but I never took it seriously, until I got older.
How do you get your creativity flowing?
Music is my go-to to open up my head and my heart.
“I became a writer on Highway 59…”
~ Attica Locke
Your 2019 novel, “Heaven, My Home,” takes place in Texas. Do you have other work that centers around Texas?
All of my books, except one, take place in Texas. And the exception takes place in western Louisiana, which is East Texas’s fraternal twin.
You’re a producer on the hit Hulu series, Little Fires Everywhere with Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington (which we devoured in Season 1). How do you balance the demands of writing with other responsibilities?
Yes, I was a writer/producer on the show. It was a great experience, one of the most fulfilling creative projects I’ve been a part of. As for balance, I have a good therapist and a good husband.
What book is currently on your bedside table?
“We Wish You Luck” by Caroline Zancan.
Share something people wouldn’t know about you.
I watch the “Bachelor” religiously.
What are you working on right now and excited about for 2020?
Uh… have y’all been watching the news?
Now, join Marika Flatt from PR by the Book in this video celebrating May: Texas Writers Month.
Cover photo: Attica Locke in her writing room. Courtesy photo
Leean Vargas is an Editorial Assistant at Texas Lifestyle Magazine and an honors graduate of Texas State University with a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations.