Meeting People, Making Friends

It’s part of being a writer. Getting out, going places, meeting the people who read, or will read our books and hopefully, become readers of our future works.

After the release of Annabelle’s Ruth, I contacted the library in the town of Trenton, Tennessee (the setting of the story) and offered them a free book.

The librarian answered me right away: Yes, please!

So I sent her one. She read it, and loved it. When I visited Trenton a few months later, I stopped by the library to meet her.

Connie Bates is the librarian in Trenton, Tennessee. She told me about a group of ladies who meet next door to the library at the Trenton First United Methodist Church to discuss books and asked if I could return and speak at one of their meetings. Of course, I was happy to.

Connie Bates (far left) next to me and two of the ladies who meet once a month.

20151005_130552I had no idea what to expect as I entered the beautiful, historic building that houses the church (see embedded photo below). There were nine ladies in attendance on this day. I was treated to true Southern hospitality, made to feel welcome, and even sold some books. A few of them had already read the library’s copy of Annabelle’s Ruth. Connie told me there’s a waiting list to read it. That made me happy. 🙂

Connie Bates took time away from the library’s annual book sale to attend the meeting. I am so thankful to her for the time and energy involved in getting me to the meeting and publicizing the event.

These ladies made comments that will strengthen the next book in the Kinsman Redeemer series, Sutter’s Landing.

I so enjoyed meeting all of them! They asked lots of questions and I ended with one for them. I asked how they ran their meetings. Do you choose a book to read together? They laughed and one of them admitted, “No, we read lots of books then share which ones we liked, so the others will know what’s good to read.”

That’s a different sort of book club, then. I had to laugh. It reminded me of my good friend Cherry, who attends a monthly bunco meeting. The same group of women have been getting together for years to play bunco. But it’s not about the game, she told me. It’s a time to get together, visit, and talk about our lives.

I suspect this particular book club provides the same service. These ladies have shared a lot of moments over the years, and I am especially grateful they shared these moments with me. I really hope they enjoy reading my book, and invite me back when the next one is published.

Gibson County Courthouse, Trenton, TN
Gibson County Courthouse, Trenton, TN

Once again, I said goodbye to Trenton, with this wonderful sight in the rear-view mirror. I will return to this lovely town. And so will the characters from Annabelle’s Ruth

Gibson County Tennessee

Gibson County, Tennessee is the location I chose for the Kinsman Redeemer series. Annabelle’s Ruth, the first book in that series, takes place almost entirely in Gibson County–specifically–Trenton, Tennessee. Trenton is the county seat and one of the three main towns in Gibson County.

11666289_10205133027745183_2390596382820159736_nI recently returned from a trip to the area. This photo shows the house my family rented in Trenton (a number of years ago–not telling how many years). Guess what? It’s still a rental! There was a “For Rent” sign in the yard. The weeping willow tree I used to climb is gone, and the green color of the house has changed from a pale green to a brighter, darker one, but little else has changed. Of course, there was no ramp or satellite dish in those days either. There were only two bedrooms in the house, so I–the only girl in the family–got to sleep on the built-in back porch. How many girls get to have a washer in their bedroom? The porch wasn’t insulated, so in really cold weather, I slept on the couch in the living room.

TrentonSign31
31 mph speed limit in Trenton

After visiting our little house, we headed for the town’s centerpiece – the elegant Victorian-style courthouse. On the way, we passed this speed limit sign, mentioned in Annabelle’s Ruth.

Trenton has tons of interesting history, including David (Davy) Crockett. He was an early resident statesman who started the process to organize the area into Gibson County. In those early days, the courthouse was a log cabin. The present courthouse was erected in 1899.

Note: In these photos, the flags are at half-staff to honor the fallen soldiers in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

TrentonCollageAfter leaving the courthouse, we took a little tour of the town and it’s lovely old houses, including the one pictured below, which I used as a model for Jensen Wade’s house in Annabelle’s Ruth. It’s a Greek revival style home built in 1831. It was said the residents stood on the balcony and watched the Battle of Trenton during the Civil War.

HighStHouseTrentonOh, by the way–this one’s for sale. You can see inside it and check out the details here.

Present-day Trenton is a pleasant little town of approximately 4,300 residents in a mainly agricultural community. But the town does boast a world-famous collection of Night Light teapots. You can view them on display and read their history here.

After our little tour, I paid a visit to the Gibson County Memorial Library and librarian Connie Bates. She has now read Annabelle’s Ruth and told me she loved it, especially the familiar places referenced in the story. The library has a copy of the book, and I’ll be returning in the future to speak to the local book club.

Annabelle's Ruth FRONT final CoverNow I’m all set to begin the second novel in the Kinsman Redeemer series with scenes of the home town fresh in my mind. The cotton is tall and green in the fields, the temps this past weekend topped 100 degrees. Ah, West Tennessee summers! So fry up some fresh okra and put the cornbread in the oven. Call me when dinner’s ready. I can’t wait to see what happens to Annabelle and her family next.

Annabelle’s Ruth is available on Amazon.