My debut novel has a title, at least, a working label—If You Walk Long Enough. Author Lewis Carroll helped with this during a conversation in his book, Alice in Wonderland, between Alice and the Cat:
‘Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’
‘That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,’ said the Cat.
‘I don’t’ much care where’ said Alice.
‘Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,’ said the Cat
‘—so long as I get somewhere,” Alice added as an explanation.
‘Oh, you’re sure to do that,’ said the Cat, ‘if you only walk long enough.’
Protagonist Reid Holcombe, from South Carolina, grew up on a tobacco farm, went to college, enlisted, and shipped to Vietnam during the 1960s. The tale is about Reid’s return home, dragging with him the baggage from a war that opened a growing chasm of political and social divisiveness, covert government, personal loss, and recovery.
Two other characters, Ellie, Reid’s wife, and Angela, his sister, are likewise caught up in their own tsunamic changes. The tale revolves around this trio and their coming to grips with changed circumstances.
I grew up in north Florida along the Florida-Georgia line on a tobacco-hog farm. Tobacco, at one time a solid cash crop in the South, entailed hard work from the seedbeds to final harvest and auction. Seemed like at least seven months of the year, slick with sweat, slid by cultivating that nicotine-rich plant. Summer vacation for me and my family, was an overnight with cousins near Jacksonville, Florida, and a day at the beach. My dad, as a farmer, did not have time off hence could not go on these once-a-year weekend trips.
I never understood what people meant when they said they took a vacation and drove to the west coast or up to the Smokey Mountains or any place and stayed overnight(s) in a motel. I was thankful when the school year opened, and I no longer went to the fields at daybreak.
Talented beta readers have combed through the novel and given me some hard-hitting suggestions. I’ve made edits, more edits, and am currently searching for an agent/publisher. With perseverance and luck, the novel should be on the shelves sometime… well, soon.
I’ll introduce you to the characters over the next months, offer chapter comments, and ask for suggestions with the cover design. Blog posts will be coming more or less regular on incidents depicted in the book, military jargon used, thoughts on the land, the decades between 1960-70s, animal characters, cigarette smoking, low-country cooking, and other topics. Stay tuned. Send me your thoughts as blog posts unravel.