Let's see—I spent five years with the military building and installing electronic devices in aircraft that made the art of killing more effective. I then worked in the healthcare field for the next thirty years, working on devices that helped people heal—hoping to pay my karmic debt.
I have always been a writer, but one that had a fear of others reading what I had written. Then my first child was born when I turned fifty years old. Realizing that she would not always have dad around to tell her of his childhood, I began writing "Stories from my Childhood" for her.
Sharing some of these 'stories' with my longtime internet friends, they convinced me that what I was writing was fun reading, and asked for more.
My first novel, KEECHIE, actually was an accident. I began homeschooling my daughter halfway through her 6th grade school year. I was working on a short story, so that became our nightly Language Arts lesson. I would write, then read a chapter a night to her, letting her edit, spellcheck, and offer suggestions about the story line. Soon I had a 47,000 word manuscript!
I wrote KEECHIE to be enjoyed by all age groups—from Young Adult to the Young at Heart. It began as an experiment in capturing the sound of the southern black dialect of the 1950’s. By writing the speech phonetically—then reading it aloud—the reader should “hear” the colorful, enchanting speech patterns that remind one of Joel Chandler Harris’s ‘Uncle Remus’ as he told his stories of Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox.
As the first few paragraphs turned into a short story, the character, Keechie, seemed to take over. It was as if she wanted her story told.
The story was inspired by my childhood fascination with the culture and lifestyle of the Native Americans who lived around the Pine Mountain Valley, Georgia area, long before the Spanish and Europeans discovered them. I had only scant evidence of their existence in the form of a few arrowheads and broken potsherds, but that was enough to fire my imagination.
The customs and culture of the indigenous Creek/Muskogee Indians were researched and presented as historically accurate as possible.
If reading KEECHIE inspires the young reader to become interested in history and ancient cultures, and the older reader to understand the importance of preserving the memories of an age past, then my attempt will not have been in vain.