- Coming Home to Mississippi (2013) with Judy Tucker
- Christmas Memories from Mississippi (2010) with Judy Tucker
- Growing Up in Mississippi (editor) (2008)
- A Dixie Christmas: Holiday Stories from the South’s Best Writers by Charline R. McCord, Judy H. Tucker, Fred Chappell, and Wyatt Waters ( 2005)
- Christmas in the South: Holiday Stories from the South’s Best Writers by Charlene R. McCord, Judy H. Tucker, Wyatt Waters, and Kaye Gibbons ( 2004)
- A Very Southern Christmas (editor) (Algonquin Books; November 2003)
- Christmas Stories from Mississippi (editor and author of short story in book) (October 2001)
- December 2002, Book review for The Clarion-Ledger on Lee Smith’s novel The Last Girls.
- Sept. 23, 2001, Book review for The Clarion-Ledger on Jill McCorkle’s short story collection, Creatures of Habit.
- Aug./Sept. ’01, “Mr. Spiegelman, We Are Not Amused!” An editorial column in DREAM’s nationally-distributed newsletter, Dateline.
- July 2001, “Interview with Lee Smith,” collected in Conversations with Lee Smith, Linda Tate, editor, University Press of Mississippi, publisher.
- December 2000, “Interview with Ellen Douglas,” collected in Conversations with Ellen Douglas, Panthea Reid, editor, University Press of Mississippi, publisher.
- Winter 2000, An interview with writer Valerie Sayers, The Southern Quarterly, Volume XXXVIII, Number 2.
- Winter 1998-99, An interview with writer Lee Smith, Mississippi Quarterly, Volume LII, Number 1.
- Spring 1998, An interview with writer Ellen Douglas, Mississippi Quarterly, Volume LI, Number 2.
- Spring 1998, An interview with writer Jill McCorkle, The Southern Quarterly, Volume XXXVI, Number 3.
- Summer 1998, An interview with writer Carolyn Haines, The Southern Quarterly, Volume XXXVI, Number 4.
- Summer 1997, “Magnolia Postcards,” a poem published in the Summer issue of Back Porch magazine.
- Winter 1996, “Proof of Jealousy,” a short story published in the Winter issue of Back Porch magazine.
- Nov. 3, 1996, Book Review for The Clarion-Ledger on Lee Smith’s novella, The Christmas Letters.
- Sept. 22, 1996, Book Review for The Clarion-Ledger on Jill McCorkle’s novel, Carolina Moon.
- Aug. 11, 1996, Book Review for The Clarion-Ledger on Carolyn Haines’ novel, Touched.
- August 1996, Editor, The 1996 Publication of the Winning Entries in the Eudora Welty Film & Fiction Festival Writing Contest, a publication of the Mississippi Writers’ Association.
- August 1996, “Prize Fishing,” a short story published in The 1996 Publication of the Winning Entries in the Eudora Welty Film & Fiction Festival Writing Contest.
- May 1992, “Doctor’s Orders,” a short story published in The Researcher, a publication of Jackson State University.
- March 1992, “Death Benefits,” a short story published in Proceedings, a publication of the Philological Association of Louisiana.
- January 1992, “Proof of Jealousy,” a short story published in POMPA 91, a publication of the Mississippi Philological Association.
- May 1988, Second place short story in theArrowhead, a publication of Mississippi College.
- Fall 1987, “Dixie,” a poem published in American Collegiate Poets.
- May 1987, First place short story in the Arrowhead, a publication of Mississippi College.
- May 1986, First place short story in the Arrowhead, a publication of Mississippi College.
- May 1985, Second place short story in the Arrowhead, a publication of Mississippi College.
- Nov. 9, 1978, Feature story on inventor George Ratliff, The Clinton New, Vol. 31.45.
by Jessica Curry (SHS)
Writer and editor, Charline R. McCord has had a very interesting and successful career. She experienced the same yearning to go out into the world and follow her heart as many before her. She found her escape, as well as calling, in writing. Today McCord has written and published over twenty-nine writings. Currently, she is living in Clinton, Mississippi, and enjoys her well earned awards that her talent and insight have brought her.
Charline was born on December 9, 1948, in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, to Charles and Catherine Riggs. As a little girl, she grew up in the town of Laurel, Mississippi. At the age of twelve, she moved to Tennessee. Although in high school she had fun as a cheerleader, she took school seriously and graduated from Beech Bluff High School on the honor roll. Later she married Bob McCord, and they have two lovely girls, Lisa and Tracy.
After carefully considering a major in college, McCord chose English. She received a minor in sociology and a Bachelor of Arts in English in 1986. Two years later she received a Master of Arts in English from Mississippi College. McCord is currently working on a PH.D. in English at the University of Southern Mississippi.
Throughout her career, she has published numerous poems and short stories and has also received many awards. She has been writing since she was a teenager. One writer who has influenced her writing style is Eudora Welty, who introduced her to “voice.” In addition to Welty, McCord’s other favorite authors include Mary Ward Brown, Ellen Douglas, and Flannery O’Connor. McCord has written for The Clarion Ledger, Arrowhead, American Collegiate Poets, The Southern Quarterly, and Mississippi Quarterly just to name a few. Her work began to be published in 1978 and since then everything else is history. Charline McCord also has received multiple awards, including the Life Press award, “DeWitt Clinton Celebration,” the Henry Bellamann award, and First and Second place in the Eudora Welty Film and Fiction Festival.
Charline R. McCord is the author of numerous stories and has had the privilege of interviewing authors like Ellen Douglas and Carolyn Haines. In addition, she is the vice- president of publishing at DREAM, Inc. Her most recent publication is A Very Southern Christmas, which she again edits with Judy H. Tucker and published by Algonquin Books in November 2003. Barry Hannah has written the preface to the book and Wyatt Waters is the illustrator.
McCord’s book, Growing Up in Mississippi, was released in May 2008 and was published by University Press of Mississippi. The book contains stories by more than twenty-five prominent Mississippians. Since then two other books, Christmas Memories from Mississippi (2010), and, Coming Home to Mississippi (2013), (both with Judy Tucker) have been released.
A Review of Home for Christmas
by Jessica Curry (SHS)
“Home for Christmas” by Charline R. McCord is a spellbinding and delightful short story. McCord writes about things that the reader can relate to. The story is packed with action that keeps the reader wanting more. “Home for Christmas” is about a family and the precious memories that bring them closer together. Mama provokes the action. Her daughters Bam, Janice, and her family encounter hardships on the way to Aunt Hortense’s house. The series of events that follow make Mama, Janice, and Bam treasure the time spent together. It also allows them the to appreciate each other’s differences.
McCord’s style is unique, captivating the heart of the reader using meticulous details that aid in the description of the characters. The characters remind the reader of his or her own family. Along with the hilarious events in the story, McCord’s adjectives enhance her writing style. The spontaneous events such as the snow storm and the firecrackers grab the attention of the reader.
The book is heartwarming and hits close to home, reassuring each of us that our families are not so unusual after all. Most of all I enjoyed the descriptive details which caught my attention . “Home for Christmas” is packed with unpredictable events emphasizing the importance of family. The story is fast paced and leaves no questions unanswered.
The setting, winter in Mississippi, sets the mood. Charline McCord does an excellent job of describing the scenery and the atmosphere surrounding the characters. Mama and Janice show compassion as any other mother and daughter should; but then other events take the forefront. McCord paints a magnificent portrait, so nothing is left to the imagination. The reader can see his or her own family in the story. In the end, Janice realizes that her mom was correct the entire time when she said, “Friends can’t replace family.”
People from every background, culture and country will enjoy “Home for Christmas.” With love, clear details, and a wonderful message, these components all come together to produce this marvelous masterpiece. Although the events in the story affect each character differently, their relationship is strengthened.
I think this is a great story that all should read. It is suitable for people of all ages, especially high school students and adults who can appreciate the situation of each of the characters. Since every family has its loud mouths, trouble makers, and comedians, this story is excellent; it makes one value every member of his or her family. With the plot jam packed with action, I rate the story with a five. “Home for Christmas” should be treasured for many years to come.
by Jessica Curry (SHS)
What are your parents’ names?
Charles and Catherine Riggs, both now deceased.
Where were you born?
I was born on December 9, 1948. My parents were living in Wiggins, Mississippi, at the time, and I was born at the hospital in Hattiesburg. Shortly afterward we moved to Laurel, where I spent the first several years of my life. Laurel was, at that time, a superb little town to grow up in. I thought I owned it.
What high school did you attend?
I moved to Tennessee when I was 12 years old, and I graduated from Beech Bluff High School.
What college did you attend?
I started taking college courses on a part- time basis after I married, had two children, and a full- time job in a law firm. Initially, I went to Jackson State Community College in Jackson, Tennessee. In 1977, I moved to Clinton, Mississippi, so I transferred my college work to Mississippi College.
What was your major in college?
I spent a lot of time trying to think up a good major. First, I chose psychology, but one day I saw my transcript and realized I’d run up some ridiculous total of hours in English courses. I analyzed the situation and figured out that I was actually an English major in denial. Every chance I got I enrolled in another English course, but I had been considering that FUN. I definitely did not go for an MRS. since I already was one.
What degrees did you earn? How many years did it take for you to finish college?
I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a minor in sociology, and a Master of Arts degree in English, both from Mississippi College. I am currently completing a dissertation for a Ph.D. in English at the University of Southern Mississippi. I started taking college courses in 1974, not focused on a degree, just taking classes I enjoyed when I could work them in. I’d take an eight o’clock class and then work through lunch. The next semester I might take a class on my lunch hour. I took night classes. I was always working full time, raising a family, doing community and church work. I completed the B.A. degree in 1986, then went straight into the Master’s and completed it in 1988. I’ve been working on the doctorate since I completed the Master’s…stopping along the way to do other things like books…and even to get myself admitted to Law School once.
Are you married, if so, what is your husband’s name? How many children do you have? (Please give their names)
I’ve been married to Bob McCord since December 27, 1968, and we have two daughters, Tracy, a registered nurse, and Lisa, an attorney. I also have two wonderful grandchildren, Ethan and Emme, the real JOY in my life these days.
Do you have any pets?
At the moment I am petless. I lost a miniature schnauzer that was like my third daughter. I took her death very hard; she grew up with my girls and stayed home when the girls moved out. While I was grieving over losing Princess, an angel dog–a yellow lab–came and camped on my front porch for over a month. She worked it just like a job…she’d show up about 8 a.m. and stay until about 5 p.m. She pretty much nursed me through the loss of my schnauzer, and ever since I’ve had this yearning for a yellow lab, but, unfortunately, I don’t have the yard or space for a big dog.
What author do you believe influenced you the most?
Eudora Welty introduced me to the “voice” that best expresses so much of the sheer zaniness that goes on inside the Southern family.
What was your motivation for writing “Home for Christmas”?
Pure fun…and to get a Christmas story on paper.
When did you become interested in writing?
I’ve always expressed myself best through writing. When I was quite young I was writing 15 or 20 letters a week. There is nothing I’d rather do than get a cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate and sit down at a desk and write a long letter to a friend.
Who is the most influential person in your life?
I don’t revere people too much, but God is very important in my life.
When you first started writing, did people doubt your abilities?
I don’t recall anyone doubting my abilities. If they did, they neglected to tell me about it. It was more the other way around. I had been writing more or less as a hobby, and others kept telling me I needed to send some of this stuff out and get it published.
If so, how did they affect you?
Had there been doubters, I think I would’ve responded by trying to prove them wrong. That’s generally my response to nay-sayers.
What kind of student were you in high school?
I’ve always taken school as a serious responsibility, but I was also a high school cheerleader, so the books didn’t get 100% of my attention. I was an above average student, but I didn’t give it my best effort back then. There was the whole social thing one has to live through. I got real serious in college, where anything less than an “A” was an insult.
In what ways did this affect you, if any?
Some time after I graduated, I dated my high school English teacher for a while. He claimed I could write, and one day he took me to his house, opened a file drawer, and showed me that he still had every paper I had ever written in his classes. I was amazed. He’d written some nice comments on my papers, but I don’t think I’d ever paid much attention to them until I realized he really thought I had genuine writing ability.
Are you working on a new book /articles /short stories? Do you have a title for it yet? What will it be about?
A new book, CHRISTMAS STORIES FROM THE SOUTH, is in the works. It should be out about October of 2003, and it’ll be published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Judy Tucker and I have compiled and edited the book, but we don’t have stories in this one. I’m always writing a short story in my head. Anything can be turned into a story, one just has to decide if it’s a good enough story to put on paper.
Have you received any awards?
I won the Henry Bellamann Award for Creative Writing at Mississippi College, and I’ve had short stories to win or place here and there. It’s all on the resume I’ll send you.
What advice would you give to future writers?
Read good books, pay attention to the details that make them good, and practice writing like them. Take yourself seriously. Send your work out and try to get it published–publication and feedback are big boosts to a writer.
What advice would you give to students today?
To take their role seriously. The word student does not mean “one enrolled,” or “one who is enrolled because his/her parents have paid the tuition,” or “one who receives a scholarship.” A student is “one who studies.” When I taught college classes I found out there was a great deal of confusion about that word student.
How has living in Mississippi influenced your writing?
It’s always being said that everyone has a book in them if they’ll just write it. If you grow up in Mississippi, you never doubt that you have a book in you because Mississippians are known for their ability to tell a story. When you truly lay claim to that inheritance, and you think something like writing is innate, it removes a lot of the intimidation and you just sit down and do it without much agonizing.
When you write stories/books, do you base characters on people you know or knew?
No, I really don’t, that would get me in a whole lot of trouble. I think what really happens is I develop a “type” of individual, but I don’t replicate an individual. For example, in “Home for Christmas,” Bam is very flashy and a rule breaker; Janice is very dutiful. I know people of both types; I’m the dutiful type. But none of us were the inspiration for Bam or Janice. Those types are out there everywhere.
Would you be willing to send me a photo or two of yourself so that it could go on the MS Writers web site?
Yes, I’m scheduled to have photos made for a book jacket on December 19, so I’ll send you something after that if I don’t break the camera.
Is the short story “Home for Christmas” based on a personal experience or your imagination?
Both. Much of it is pure fabrication, but we really did have firecrackers to go off in the kitchen one year. I’m sure other households have experienced some similar craziness. It seemed useful to let others know that Christmas can not be orchestrated into this picture perfect Norman Rockwell experience every year. Some years it’s just totally out of control. Most years, actually.
Who is your favorite author/authors?
This is an impossible question to answer…there are too many good writers for one to have only a few favorites. Right now I’m fairly devoted to women writers–Mary Ward Brown, Lee Smith, Jill McCorkle, Carolyn Haines, Valerie Sayers, Nanci Kincaid, Ellen Douglas, Gail Godwin, Ellen Gilchrist, Doris Betts, Kaye Gibbons, Mary Hood, Anne Tyler–are all high on my list. Among the deceased favorites are Eudora Welty, Katherine Anne Porter, and Flannery O’Connor.
If you could change or redo anything over again, what would it be?
I would probably get an earlier start on a number of things. Life passes quickly, so the sooner you get off the bench and in the game, the better.
What is the most embarrassing thing that happened to you in high school?
I was once at the swimming pool watching a young lady teach a class how to dive off the side of the pool. She gave what I thought was an entirely adequate demonstration, then called for a volunteer to dive into 9 feet of water as she had shown them. No one volunteered, so I stepped up and said I would do it. I wasn’t part of the class, but she was thrilled to have a volunteer. She perched me on the edge and got my stance right and I did a perfect dive into the water. When my head popped out of the water, she yelled, “Now swim out around those two instructors in the water and then back to the side!” I yelled back, “I CAN’T SWIM!!!” Three instructors rushed to my rescue, and the day’s lesson became much broader than merely how to dive. I have a pool in my backyard, but I still can’t swim.
What is you favorite childhood story, book, or nursery rhyme?
I think many girls grow up fascinated with the story of Cinderella, and, unfortunately, the idea that the perfect prince is going to come along. There’s a wonderful antidote to that book now, a book called THE CINDERELLA COMPLEX.
- Christmas Stories from Mississippi at Amazon.com.contains readers’ and critics’ reviews on the book.
- Christmas Stories a collection of Christmas books by Mississippi writers
- Book Review of Christmas Stories from Mississippi by Joyce Dixin
- McCord, Charline R. Email interview. 10 Dec. 2002.
- “Home for Christmas.” Christmas Stories for Mississippi. Tucker, Judy H., and Charline R. McCord, eds. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2001. 97-116.