Category Archives: Personal Information

A Goodbye to Two Friends

Just this week the world suffered a loss when Jordan Sanders, a 19 year old young man, lost his essentially life long fight with cancer. Jordan was a good friend of the twins and often visited and stayed at our house. It seems like almost every time we talked he was in another battle with a new bout but despite this and all the hardships the disease and the treatments caused he always had a smile and a joke.

When we did our book signing at this year's Folk Festival in Natchitoches ,Jordan even rode down there with my sons to see the town and to support me. It is so hard to see such a remarkable young man go through what he did and it really emphasizes how life is not fair or just.

He was an incredible person and has had, and will continue to have, a tremendous effect on anyone who knew him.

I also learned recently that a childhood friend of mine passed away a couple of years ago.

Johnny Robinson was the first black person that I knew and I considered him a friend. My interaction with him likely set the boundaries for my racial views throughout my life, allowing me to realize that color isn't the issue, the person inside is.

Many of my readers will recognize Johnny's name as one of the characters in The Bottle Tree, and he definitely provided the inspiration. I hadn't spoken to Johnny since high school, but occasionally thought about him and wondered what his life was like. I decided to contact him not long ago and put the word out through the social media world that I was trying to find him only to learn that he had died of cancer about two years ago, another example of why we shouldn't lose touch with old friends or why we shouldn't "put off until tomorrow" when we decide to reconnect with them.

Goodbye to both of you.

My Favorite Book I Have Written

One of the questions i get asked a lot is "Which one of your books is your favorite?"

That is an extremely hard question to answer because the simple fact is that I have written a couple of books that I will likely never publish because I don't like them that much so, inherently, when I publish a book I like it.

I absolutely love both Junebug and The Body and  No' Chance. Each of them have such unique characters, settings that I love, and they have so much potential for the future. I still laugh every time I read portions of  Junebug  and still get anxious at certain scenes in  No' Chance.

But, I guess I would have to say my favorite is also the book that I wrote the fastest, The Bottle Tree.

If I had to pick a reason I guess it would be because while it was the last book I wrote, it is also one of the oldest ideas I had. The turpentine and logging camp was real, and I can still remember when my Uncle Mike and I found the big resin pile that juts into the creek. Not long after that I found out from my Great Aunt that she had actually lived there as a child, and the story was greatly influenced by what she told me of her life in the camp.

There is also a lot of emotion in The Bottle Tree, probably because the characters in there are so real to me.  Junebug  and  Noah  and his friends are real too, but the characters in The Bottle Tree are all modeled on people that I know rather than being characters created with bits and pieces of different people.