Get the inside scoop on Jo Watson Hackl's debut novel

This week, we sit down with author Jo Watson Hackl, as she discusses her new book, Smack Dab in the Middle of Maybe. Hackl was born in Biloxi, Mississippi but later moved to a “real life” ghost town, Electric Mills, Mississippi. You could say this is part of the inspiration she had for her debut novel. She loved exploring the neighboring woods and finding artifacts of the people who once lived there. She also got inspiration from her favorite artist, Walter Anderson, who once painted a “secret room.” Hackl’s novel, Smack Dab in the Middle of Maybe, is a coming-of-age story that is part treasure hunt and part adventure.

Hackl takes us back in memories of growing up and realizing when she knew she wanted to write, thanks to her fourth-grade teacher. She used her daughters as the connection between her main character, Cricket, and what a young girl would think and do in those circumstances. She engages us with her extensive research of the ghost town and her stories of camping out in the woods and learning to make a fire using the bare minimum. Surviving in the woods created an entire new adventure for Hackl. Watch this week’s episode of By The River to catch up on the inside story of Jo Watson Hackl’s Smack Dab in the Middle of Maybe.

Educators can find lesson plans for Smack Dab in the Middle of Maybe on