The Souls of Clayhatchee
A Southern Tale
By Anthony Todd Carlisle
Brief description of your new book: The Souls of Clayhatchee
James Kingsman, a career-driven reporter, must suspend his work, his life in New York, and his relationship with girlfriend, Jackie, to travel 1,130 miles to Clayhatchee, Alabama, to fulfill his mother’s final wish: to be buried in the South, her native home. James finds his mother’s final request peculiar, since she has spent nearly 50 years in Pittsburgh as a housewife to John Kingsman and a mother to James and his siblings: Francis, Mark, and Celia. Although confounded by her request and hesitant to leave New York, James keeps his promise out of a sense of duty and love for his mother. James, who finds family life and his family in particular tedious, launches into a trip that reveals one secret after another.
In one or two sentences, what makes your book different from others in the same genre? I believe this story has a wide appeal and crosses genres — love story, family drama, mystery/crime story. I believe this is a good, heartfelt story of love and hope.
Fan readers of which authors/books do you think would enjoy this title and why? Walter Mosley fans would enjoy this book because it’s a mystery that’s steeped in black tradition and vernacular. Fans of Eric Jerome Dickey books would also enjoy this read because of its humor and accessibility. I think fans of Terry McMillan would enjoy this book because of the strong women characters. They will see their sister, mother, girlfriend in these characters.
Is this book part of a series? Do you have more books planned? Yes, I’m looking at this book as the first in a series of books looking into this particular family as a vehicle to explore the great black migration from the South to the North in the early twentieth century. These stories are generational and broad and representative of America’s struggles with its racial legacy of the Middle Passage, slavery, and Jim Crow.
What are the most important goals you hope to achieve with publishing this book?
My most important goal is twofold: I would love to add to the discussion of racial healing in this country while also entertaining readers. Race is so baked into who we are as a nation and themes around race such as discrimination, slavery, prison pipeline, racial reconciliation are worth continuing exploration.
Please share any backstory on why you choose to write this book at this time in your life/career?
I have always wanted to write fiction, and I expected I would one day after my career as a newspaper reporter. I actually started this story in 2002 when I was on deployment in Kuwait for Operation Iraqi Freedom. When we had downtime, I spent most of my time reading novels–whatever I could get. I remember thoroughly enjoying Eric Jerome Dickey’s book Milk in My Coffee because of its humor and accessibility and I thought I could write something like that. I think the next day I flipped open my laptop and started my book.
What books, already published, would you consider to be similar or “comp” titles to yours? In other words, if your book were on a bookstore shelf, what titles would be next to it? Brothers and Sisters by Bebe Moore Campbell, Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley, Milk in My Coffee by Eric Jerome Dickey, A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines.
Rachel Wickstrom coordinates marketing at Hidden Shelf Publishing house. She’s an avid reader, master party-planner, craft enthusiast, a mom to two young boys with wildly long hair, and is married to a hospital chaplain. As an Oregon native, Rachel’s childhood memories are scented with juniper berries and the crisp mountain air of Central Oregon. She currently lives in Boise, Idaho where her days are scented with lukewarm coffee, and spilled snacks.
Top 5 STEM Books For Kids: A Granddad’s Guide to Great Books for the Curious Grandchild.
“Sure, I give my grandchildren cool toys. But I also send gifts that will last. My grandkids (ages 10, 8, 7) are probably a lot like yours – curious, creative, fun … and obsessed with books that spark their intelligence.” Here’s a short list of great books for bright kids (ages 7-12).
I learned that my fate is indeed tied up with historical moments but that writing helps me understand it and right the wrongs of the past.
I took time to write two novels both involving three-year-old boys. Ironically, the Christy Award winning novel Stars in the Grass, centers around a family and the loss of their three-year-old son.
Like many of you, I’m sweltering through a historic heatwave plaguing the Pacific Northwest and northern Rocky Mountains. By July 4th, my hometown in Montana has already had more 90+ degree days than we used to have all summer. As the heat dries out forests, wildland fires will follow. We know the pattern.