When I visit book clubs the one question I always get is “did you always want to be a writer?” Truth be told, as a child I was not a big reader but I had a big imagination. When I turned 31, I began a commitment to writing and began taking evening courses in creative writing. But while I did not grow up in a household of readers to help to introduce me to books, I was around storytellers and I believe that eventually fueled my desire to write.
During my early years, I lived next door to my maternal grandparents. I spent a lot of my childhood in their home. My grandfather was a ‘talker’ and he was the best story-teller I have known.
One story from my grandfather’s childhood has long fascinated and haunted me. In 1920 when my grandfather was ten, he and his older brother were sent to pick up a delivery that was arriving from Bainbridge, Georgia by steamboat down the Apalachicola River to their home in Florida. Since their father owned a mercantile in a crossroads community, such a request was not unusual. The boys were always being sent to Apalachicola, the county seat, for deliveries.
After the dockworkers in Apalachicola had loaded a crudely constructed box onto their wagon, my grandfather and his brother traveled back home guessing what was inside. My grandfather bet his brother that it was a grandfather clock.
Back at the family store with the box now unloaded from the wagon, my great-grandfather used a crowbar to pop the lid open. As a boy, my grandfather was so scared at the sight he saw that he stumbled and fell backwards, tearing the seat in his britches. A man, soiled with filth and caked with mud, climbed out of the box.
The man who had been nailed shut inside the box was shipped during the night to his cousin, my great-grandfather, for safe keeping. The man was on the run for supposedly killing his wife. Even though the court had exonerated him, the wife’s family sought vengeance. They had made it known that they would hunt him down and kill him.
On the day of my grandfather’s 99th birthday, I began writing Man in the Blue Moon, my novel that is based on my grandfather’s story. He lived to see the novel completed and it is dedicated to him, “a storytellers’ storyteller.”
About the book
“He’s a gambler at best. A con artist at worst,” her aunt had said of the handlebar-mustached man who snatched Ella Wallace away from her dreams of studying art in France. Eighteen years later, that man has disappeared, leaving Ella alone and struggling to support her three sons.
While the world is embroiled in World War I, Ella fights her own personal battle to keep the mystical Florida land that has been in her family for generations from the hands of an unscrupulous banker. When a mysterious man arrives at Ella’s door in an unconventional way, he convinces her he can help her avoid foreclosure, and a tenuous trust begins.
But as the fight for Ella’s land intensifies, it becomes evident that things are not as they appear. Hypocrisy and murder soon shake the coastal town of Apalachicola and jeopardize Ella’s family.
Expected publication: September 2012 by Tyndale House Publishers
Y’all, this is a book you need to check out. I’m into it and really hooked! Thanks to Michael Morris for stopping by today with a little insight on where his inspiration came from.
Check back soon for my review of Man in the Blue Moon!
Get to reading,