In the course of three books — Waltzing at the Piggly Wiggly, Kissing Babies at the Piggly Wiggly, and A Piggly Wiggly Wedding — author Robert Dalby's protagonist, Hale "Mr. Choppy" Dunbar, has struggled to keep his Piggly Wiggly open, run for political office, and found love. In book number four, A Piggly Wiggly Christmas, Dunbar's involved in plans for a holiday extravaganza, but then a crisis occurs ...
Dalby, who will be in Collierville on Thursday for a booksigning, took the time this week to answer a few questions.
Flyer: Your books are populated with characters named Wittsie and Gaylie Girl and Mr. Choppy. Was it the name Piggly Wiggly that drew you to the business, rather than, say, Safeway?
Dalby: I chose Piggly Wiggly for several reasons. The first was that there is a warm, fuzzy feeling about the name. It has become an icon of small-town life. And the sense of community that I wanted to portray throughout the series is exemplified by small grocery stores where customers know each other, catch up in the aisles, and even post messages on the bulletin board. That's much more difficult to pull off in a big box store.
Why are happy endings important for your books?
Everything doesn't have to turn out perfectly, but I think most readers appreciate a reasonable conclusion. Each novel in my series ends on a high note but also sets up the plot of the next book.
What's next for the series?
The series may take a vacation, because there is a strong possibility that I will be involved with an entirely new series.
Booksigning for "A Piggly Wiggly Christmas" by Robert Dalby at the Lucius E. and Elsie C. Birch Jr. Library in Collierville, Thursday, December 16th, at 11 a.m.