Jason Reed, Founder of New Bayou Books, Working to Inspire a Renaissance of Modern Fiction Featuring South Louisiana 

Jason Reed, founder of New Bayou Books and author of two recent novels set in Acadiana, joined Discover Lafayette to share his goal of sparking a renaissance of new, modern fiction featuring South Louisiana.

A native of Eunice LA, Jason graduated from USL, served a stint with the Peace Corps and then joined the Air Force shortly after 9/11. He currently lives in Belgium where he works as a civilian for the US Department of Defense.

Jason has an interesting and informed perspective on South Louisiana, especially after living far away for so long. He says South Louisiana stands out as a “wonderfully weird, welcoming place in a country that’s becoming more and more homogenous.” Many South Louisiana natives 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 in encouraging other authors to write about contemporary life in South Louisiana. “In South Louisiana, we have our food, our music, we even have our visual art, but we have work to do when it comes to modern, contemporary literature that speaks to the region. Of course, there are giants in this field, like James Lee Burke. But not many others featuring South Louisiana. To address this shortage, Jason founded New Bayou Books and is looking to partner with other writers to help publish their work. “My calling is to be the person who creates that spark that inspires the writers who can be the ones who will be remembered by the next generation. There aren’t nearly enough fictional stories about South Louisiana.”

Jason Reed’s first book, Tattoos and circuses, is about Curtis Laroux, a tattoo artist who had lived away for ten years and returned to Eunice to open the city’s first tattoo parlor, much to the dismay of local business owners. Jason founded 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]

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Jason has set himself a goal of writing 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 lurking 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 on the same premise.

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Jason’s main message to aspiring writers is, “You don’t need permission to put your work out into the world. There are all kinds of cheap, even free publishing tools. When I wrote my first book, I expected to have to shop it around to publishers because that was the traditional way I learned in college. Today, there are no barriers to entry as an independent publisher.”

And that 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 left 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 out.” The cover was designed by his friend, Toby Frey. The book is available from New Bayou Books or on Amazon.

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In closing, we thank Jason Reed for his passion for contemporary fiction and his effort to help other writers on their journey. We are pleased to share his message: “There needs to be more literature that represents what life is like in South Louisiana today. I hope to hear from other authors.” Please email Jason Reed at [email protected] to start a discussion.

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