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The Little Horror Story That Grew

Cover of 'The Salt Line' by Holly Goddard Jones
Courtesy of Holly Goodard Jones
In Jones' dystopian novel, humans struggle to stay safe from disease-carrying ticks by living behind lines of scorched earth.

Holly Goddard Jones was in between projects when she sat down to write a little horror story about killer ticks. But literary questions kept sneaking into her thoughts, and as she probed the backstories and motivations of her characters, her short thriller grew into a novel. 

The Salt Line” (G.P. Putnam’s Sons/2017) is set in the not-too-distant future, when humans keep themselves safe from deadly, disease-carrying ticks behind rings of scorched earth. When an exorbitantly-priced trip takes privileged tourists outside the borders to see the natural world, they must confront not only the killer pathogens and a murderous band of survivalists who live there, but also their understanding of the society they have created for themselves.

Host Frank Stasio talks with author Holly Goddard Jones about the inspiration for the story that grew into a dystopian novel. Goddard Jones is an English and creative writing professor at the University of North Carolina Greensboro.

She’ll be reading from her novel at Scuppernong Books in Greensboro at 7 p.m. on August 31, at Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill at 7 p.m. on September 6, and at Malaprop’s Bookstore in Asheville at 6 p.m. on September 13. 

Jennifer Brookland is the American Homefront Project Veterans Reporting Fellow. She covers stories about the military and veterans as well as issues affecting the people and places of North Carolina.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.