Jason Reed, founder of New Bayou Books and the author of two recent novels set in Acadiana joined Discover Lafayette to share his goal of sparking a Renaissance of new, modern fiction that features South Louisiana.
A native of Eunice LA, Jason graduated from USL, served a stint with the Peace Corps, then joined the Air Force right after 9/11. He currently lives in Belgium where he works for the US Department of Defense as a civilian.
Jason has an interesting and informed perspective on South Louisiana, especially after living away for so long. He says South Louisiana stands out as a “wonderfully weird, welcoming place in a country that is becoming ever more homogeneous.” Many native South Louisianians can take for granted how unique our region is.
He has found that people around the US and internationally are hungry to know more about our part of the world. And to satisfy that hunger, Jason has found his calling to encourage other authors to write about contemporary life in South Louisiana. “In South Louisiana, we have our own food, our own music, we even have our own visual art, but we have work to do when it comes to modern, contemporary literature that speaks to the region. Certainly, there are Giants in the field, such as James Lee Burke. But not many others that feature South Louisiana. To address that shortage, Jason founded New Bayou Books and is looking to partner with other writers to assist in publishing their works. “My calling is to be the guy who creates that spark that inspires the writers who may be the ones the next generation remembers. There are not nearly enough fictional stories about South Louisiana.”
Jason Reed’s first book, Tattoos and Tans, is about Curtis Laroux, a tattoo artist who had lived away for ten years and moved back to Eunice to open the town’s first tattoo parlor, causing much consternation among local business owners. Jason established New Bayou Books to encourage Writers to write about South Louisiana in contemporary times, not just a look back at historical events. Writers are encouraged to send their submissions to Jason Reed at [email protected]
Jason has set a goal for himself to write five books by his 50th birthday and expects to publish his third novel in early 2023.
“I believe in two things: 1) There are amazing, unknown Writers hiding in the shadows of every Parish in South Louisiana. I want to inspire them to get serious about their writing, and 2) There is a market for these books. Think about the advantage of buying locally. The market for South Louisiana literature is based upon the same premise.”
Jason’s main message for aspiring writers is, “You don’t need permission to put your work out into the world. There are all sorts of inexpensive, even free Publishing tools. When I wrote my first book, I was expecting to have to shop it around to publishers because that was the traditional way I learned in college. Today, there are no barriers to entering the market as an independent publisher.”
And this sums up why he founded New Bayou Books: “I believe in the punk rock ethos of ‘Do it yourself.’ If it’s worth doing, do it. Get involved and do something.”
Jason Reed’s second book, All Saints Day of the Dead, tells the story of Constance Miller who fled West Virginia and joined friends in Lafayette, Louisiana as they prepared for the annual Black Pot Festival and All Saints’ Day. “All hell breaks loose on Halloween night and it takes a visiting Deacon from Vietnam, an ex-nun, and the boys from a Cajun band to pull Constance through.” The cover was designed by his friend, Toby Frey. The book is available from New Bayou Books or on Amazon.
In closing, we thank Jason Reed for his passion for contemporary fictional literature and his drive to assist other writers in their journey. It is our pleasure to share his message: “There should be more literature that represents what life is like today in South Louisiana. I’m hoping to hear from other authors.” Please email Jason Reed at [email protected] to start a discussion.