Bret Lott speaks at University of South Carolina Beaufort's Lunch With Author series Dec. 5 at the Sea Pines Country Club, Hilton Head Island. All luncheons begin at noon, followed by the author's talk, questions and a book signing. Cost is $42. Reservations are required. Details: 843-521-4147, email@example.com
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As author Bret Lott describes it, not a whole lot of "stuff" happens in his novels. That's not to say his novels are staid or boring. But it's not what you'd find in thrillers or mysteries. He jokes sometimes that the typical synopsis of his books involves "a husband and wife standing in a kitchen thinking about things."
More than a decade ago he wrote a book that went counter to that notion. "The Hunt Club" follows the life of teenager Hunger Dillard in the swamps of the Lowcountry as his life is turned upside down when a body is found on his family's land. It had action, suspense, muder-mystery intrigue.
It had stuff.
"I had a great deal of fun with 'Hunt Club,'" Lott said. "Not just because of the stuff happening. But because of the characters."
The sequel, "Dead Low Tide," was released earlier this year. He will discuss it at the University of South Carolina Beaufort Lunch With Author Series on Wednesday.
The book revisits Hunger, now 29, and his father, whom he calls Unc, as they stumble across yet another a body. In the decade since inventing the characters, they kept popping up in Lott's memory, like old friends he needed to pay a visit.
"They kept telling me, 'Hey, my story isn't done,'" he said.
The characters are born in the Lowcountry, full of the mystery that attracted Lott to the area in the first place.
Lott is a native of southern California. But his parents were from the South. He grew up with stories of their home. After a stint in the North for college, he got a job teaching at the College of Charleston.
He rose to national prominence with best-sellers like "Jewel," about a mother and her child with Down Syndrome, which was picked as an Oprah's Book Club selection in 1999.
He's only left Charleston briefly -- to edit the esteemed literary journal "The Southern Review" at Lousiana State University for three years. But he returned to the College of Charleston, in part because he couldn't stay away from the Lowcountry.
"When I was younger I actually wanted to be a park ranger. I've always loved the outdoors," he said. "The landscape here is so incredible and mysterious. It's fascinating."
Hunger and the swamps still call to him, too. He's already writing a third book in the series. From there, he doubts Hunger will leave him.
"I really like this character," he said. "I'd like to see him continue to grow up."