Today we welcome Jo Huddleston to “Write Pathway.” She’s sponsoring a blog tour this week as she promotes her second book in the Caney Creek series. I read That Summer and enjoyed it so much that I asked Jo to let me know when her next book came out. I wanted to read more about the Callaway family I met in the first Caney Creek book.
Ann: Good morning, Jo. We are very happy to have you join us here at “Write Pathway.” Tell us a little about yourself .
Jo: Hello, Ann. Thank you for inviting me to be a guest on your blog today. I hold a B. A. degree with honors from Lincoln Memorial University (TN) and I’m a member of their Literary Hall of Fame. I also earned a M.Ed. degree from Mississippi State University. My debut novel, That Summer, released in December 2012 as the first in The Caney Creek Series. Beyond the Past is Book 2 in the series. In the beginning I thought it would just be one book, but I couldn’t leave the characters in the situations they were in at the end of That Summer, I continued the saga of the Callaway family with Beyond the Past. Now I am writing the third book, Finding Peace, to be released in September 2013.
Ann: Jo, how did you come to write this series? Is there a story behind the stories?
Jo: Oh yes, there is a story behind the Caney Creek series, some of it is quite painful, but the ending is what’s happening now and that’s a blessing. The Caney Creek Series is set in the Southern Appalachians of East Tennessee where my ancestors and I were raised. I’ve listened to older generations tell stories at family reunions about time before telephones and automobiles. Their stories caused me to want to write about a time before I was born. While this idea rumbled around in my mind, in 2001 I received a life-altering health diagnosis with a negative prognosis. My first symptom was the loss of penmanship. Nobody, not even I, could read what I tried to write. Then I began to have involuntary muscle spasms that prevented me from holding my fingers on the home keys of a keyboard. I couldn’t write or type—this was before speak-to-type. My mind was still intact but my body wouldn’t do what it was told. My balance while walking diminished and I stopped going to writing conferences. My doctor advised me not to drive. In 2008, I began to improve. My hands grew steadier and I could get my story started.
I’ve outlived my doctor’s prognosis by two years. A relative marvels that I never questioned, “God, why me?” I did not become bitter because of the health issues. I think God just gave me time to understand many things when I was inactive. I’m a more peaceful, patient, and faithful me now.
Book 1 in this series, That Summer, hibernated for those miserable seven years and then became a story on paper. When I finished That Summer, I thought I had accomplished my goal. However, I found I couldn’t leave my characters in some of their situations. I had to write at least one more book about them. Book 2, Beyond the Past, came to be. I’m now writing Book 3, in the Caney Creek Series, Claiming Peace, scheduled to release in September 2013.
Ann: That’s very interesting, Jo. I’m certainly glad that you overcame that negative prognosis and had a chance to achieve your dream of writing.
Now Jo will introduce you to one of the characters in Beyond the Past as she interviews Art Gray.
BEYOND THE PAST, BOOK 2, CANEY CREEK SERIES
This interview of Art, teenage son of Callie and Arthur Gray, takes place in 1951. He lives in Newton, Tennessee with his family.
JO: Art, can you stop and talk with me for a minute?
ART: I’m supposed to be working, but maybe I can talk to you for a minute.
JO: Thanks. What are you working at?
ART: I’m doing community service and today I’m picking up trash around the school grounds.
JO: Why are you doing community service?
ART: I got into some trouble and the judge ordered me to do this.
JO: You must have been in some big trouble to get ordered to do this.
ART: Yeah, I guess. I don’t like school and only go if I have to. I wrecked my car one day when I skipped school.
JO: Were you hurt when you wrecked your car?
ART: Not much. A broken arm and they took out my spleen. But the worse thing was when I wrecked my car I’d been drinking some beer. That’s what got me in trouble with the judge. I’m supposed to go to an Alcohol Anonymous meeting every week. I went once and found out the people there were just a bunch of losers. I’m not going back.
JO: Art, if you don’t go to those meetings won’t you be in trouble with the judge again? Have you thought about that?
ART: Not much. What else can he do to me? He’s already taken away my driver’s license for two months. The way I see it, the judge can’t make it any worse than it already is.
Visit Jo at these sites:
BEYOND THE PAST, BOOK 2, CANEY CREEK SERIES
Jim Callaway looks forward to 1951 but he’s sidetracked when his sister and his best friend need his help. His baby sister, Emmajean, skids into jail on drug charges in Atlanta. She struggles to recover physically and spiritually with her lawyer’s help as he champions her inside and outside the courtroom. Jim’s nephew, Art, is one step ahead of the truant officer, wrecks his car, and officials suspect alcohol is involved. Art awaits his fate at the hands of the juvenile court judge. Jim’s twin brothers end their military careers and return home. Jim and Caroline continue their bumpy journey as they seek realization of their dreams.
PURCHASE COPIES OF BEYOND THE PAST:
Signed copies of Beyond the Past available in sidebar at my website.
Paperback copies available from my publisher.
Paperback and eBook copies available at Amazon.
WIN A COPY OF BEYOND THE PAST by Jo Huddleston. Leave a comment and tell us the name of the family around which Jo has built her Caney Creek stories. If you are a follower, you will get another entry in the contest.