Last night DH and I drove over to Pittsburg State University to attend the first of this year’s Visiting Author series. We used to never miss and then life intervened. Last year we managed to miss every single speaker. We have slipped into a type of evening lethargy here and DH was wise to push us out for this reading by Thomas Fox Averill.
Averill is on staff at Washburn U in Topeka, Kansas, and he has authored several books. His last was rode , a novel he constructed around a favorite song of his, “Tennessee Stud”. It was a great read and is fascinating how the author found his inspiration for a great read from a song.
When I got news Fox was to read from his new book, a carol dickens christmas (Fox must have an aversion to capitals!) I was disappointed in his subject. It seems every established author hammers out a Christmas book to garner up holiday profits for a publishing house. Also, how many times can writers play with the work of Charles Dickens?
The first thing the author told the audience was he worked on the book for ten years. He explained how he researched by going even to England to experience Dickens home and writing life. The book includes Victorian recipes that he personally tested at home. He set the modern day story of Carol Dickens and her life in Topeka, Kansas, a town he knew well.
Averill then began to read pages and introduce characters. I found some I liked. I still felt the Christmas theme might be overworked, but I am interested in Kansas settings so I listened hard. I stumped Averill after his reading when I asked how the story of Carol Dickens might have been different in another geographical area…what made part of the story was totally regional? He said good question and then segued into a lot of Kansas writers are capturing the region and suggested I visited his web site listing them. (http://www.washburn.edu/reference/cks/mapping/index.html)
Okay, I suckered right up and bought the book. I think it will be a pleasant read if nothing else, but I am not going to read it until closer to the holidays…an early present to myself. I’ll let you know how the book reads then, but I bet I'm not disappointed since it is by Thomas Fox Averill.