Thursday, October 27, 2011

News from the Rivers

The last four months have been some of the best of the year as far as writing is concerned. I was honored to be interviewed about Rivers Ebb by Jack Drucker of The Book Club program. The interview was aired by stations in Tampa Bay, Florida and Little Rock, Arkansas. Jack said that my third novel does for the Texas Panhandle what How Green Was My Valley did for the valleys of South Wales.  Listen to the interview by clicking the podcast on my website.
My fifth novel, Go Down Looking is deep into the editing phase at Tate Publishing, moving steadily forward toward a spring 2012 release. And I am approximately 90% done with the first draft of my sixth novel (still unnamed).
During Bois d’arc Bash festivities in Commerce, I led a “literary tour” of the places mentioned in my Follow the Rivers Trilogy.  I had done this on a less formal basis once before and the second time was even more fun because Emmett Day and his daughter came along. A. L. Day Elementary School in Commerce was named for his father. Emmett recently celebrated his ninety-sixth birthday and has maintained his lively wit and intelligence. He lives in Washington but flies back to Texas on a regular basis to visit his wife’s grave and other acquaintances. He also has Delta County connections. Wife Roxey lived just inside the county. We visited the sites where characters in my novels lived and died (including graves) and where significant scenes took place (like Dad Flannigan’s store). I explained the small differences between what really happened and how I fictionalized the people and events and why I chose to write it the way I did. They were surprised, as most people are, to learn that two people (not just one) died on the day of a terrible tragedy described in Rivers Crossing.
I also made a presentation to the Friends of the Mineola Memorial Library. What a terrific group. They were attentive and responsive. The primary key to such events is having at least one member of the audience who has read some or all of my books and I was so pleased when one of the members stood and gave me a ringing endorsement. Another key is to get questions, and this fine group obliged. This was my first time to read from the prologue (I call it the front bookend) to Go Down Looking.  I am usually hesitant to do readings, because heads start to nod as soon as you open the book, but not this time. I hope it was a combination of good audience, good reading and good writing.
I also had a once-in-a-lifetime (hopefully there will be more) experience when the Friends of the Sulphur Springs Library arranged “An Evening with Jim Ainsworth”. Trice and Pat Lawrence, Terry Mathews, and others really went beyond the call in making this a successful event. Terry, Arts and Entertainment Editor for the Sulphur Springs News Telegram, asked me questions about all my books and asked me to read excerpts she had selected. Doesn’t get much better for an author than to have someone else choose reading selections they like. At the end, I read from Go Down Looking again. In publicity leading up to the event, the group arranged interviews with many media outlets including Enola Gay with KSST radio, County Line Magazine, Front Porch News and many others. My head got a little swelled and I almost ran off I-30 when I saw my name on the huge billboard outside of town. Headlines and articles described me as “An Authentic Texas Cowboy” and “World Champion Team Roper”. If it were only so, my lifelong dreams would have been realized.
At another event in Pittsburg, I realized that I was going to have to open a Twitter account and start actually doing something on Facebook, and return to my old blog (abandoned since 2008). So here we go.  In future postings, I plan to do some short book reviews on what I am reading, a few movie reviews, and a few short stories. I am looking forward to telling readers of this blog about my trip to the Tennessee Hills to meet one of my favorite authors. Stay with me and tell your friends.