Jefferson County is an eclectic community, made up of both native and transplanted residents, who bring their unique skills and talents to the area. Local artists can find plenty of inspiration from the land and its people here when creating their art, as well as many venues in which to showcase their finished works. Quaint shops, festivals of all kinds and retail stores gladly display everything from hand-crafted children’s clothing to unique jewelry to funky and fun art pieces.
Numerous writers call Jefferson County their home and take advantage of the areas peaceful and artistic vibe when creating their stories of fiction or when relaying factual accounts to a printed page. Many have had their words printed and published, becoming noted local authors.
Two of these published authors were recently honored at a book signing and reception that was held in July at the Wirick-Simmons House in Monticello. The event was well attended and allowed the public to meet and speak to both writers as well as purchasing their latest books from the event, with signatures of the two authors included.
Author Virginia ‘Noanne’ Gwynn, a native Tallahasseean who has made her home in Monticello for the past fifteen years, was one of the guests of honor at the reception and there to present her collection of short stories entitled, “Mother’s Day.” In her book, she introduces 26 daughters, each of whom relate a nostalgic or humorous story involving family. Often poignant, sometimes humorous, the collected short stories in “Mother’s Day” are vignettes of family lives as seen through the eyes of the daughters. While some are contemporary tales, most give a glimpse of America at its best in the years during WWII.
The book, purchased by readers through Amazon, has inspired comments such as: “Not for southerners only”; “Perfect as a nightcap to savor before bedtime”; and “You will laugh, you will cry, and you will thank Ms. Gwynn for putting pen to paper.”
Gwynn and her dog, Malibu (who she affectionately calls “Booboo”,) share an 1828 Creole-style cottage where she (Gwynn, not the dog) is currently working on her next novel, “A Day Out of Season.” She and a friend are also collaborating on another book, “Wedding Reception on a Shoestring,” incorporating their combined professional experience in catering and event planning.
To purchase a copy of “Mother’s Day,” you can go to Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Mothers-Day-Virginia-Gwynn/dp/0991466306/ref=sr_sp-atf_title_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1406300310&sr=1-1&keywords=mother%27s+day+-+gwynn. Local shops who carry the book are Vintage Treasures Antiques in Madison, Sweet Patina in Tallahassee and Loli’s in Thomasville, Ga. You can also learn more about Ms. Gwynn and her writing by visiting her website at onesouthernvoice.com.
Prissy Elrod was the second author at the signing with her inaugural book, “Far Outside The Ordinary.” This talented writer and artist lives with her husband in Tallahassee and describes herself as “an artsy, outgoing southerner who pretty much says what she thinks and likes just about everybody.” When asked if she always wanted to be a writer, Elrod says, “Never. I was an artist. I just woke up and decided I wanted to write this book; it had been living in my head.”
“Far Outside the Ordinary” chronicles a period in Elrod’s life when her fifty-year-old husband was given less than a year to live. During this journey, Elrod finds herself a spectator in her own home and begins to observe events far outside the boundaries of her once ordinary life. Her book is also a story of happily ever after where Elrod learns love has no expiration date and sometimes a second chance at love can come disguised, and when least expected.
Ms. Elrod says she was inspired to write this book for others. “I knew what I had gone through and how it changed me. And I believe for the better. There are so many kinds of love, so many ways to love, and such a diversified population of people to love. As we all know, a heart can stop beating, but, with medical help, it can start beating again. The same is true of a broken heat. Sometimes faith, hope and second chances can heal a broken heart. I wanted to share my story for those starved of hope and give them my story of happily-ever-after.”
Elrod’s first book has received not only successful sales, but is also a current favorite among many book clubs in Florida, Alabama and Georgia. She has attended numerous book signings, with more scheduled through the end of this year, however, her personal indicator of success is the countless letters, phone calls, emails, tweets and Facebook messages she receives from strangers; each telling her they felt as though they were right there when reading the book and how it impacted them. “I think I succeeded in sharing my story, perhaps exceeded. That alone makes it extraordinary to me!”
This debut memoir, originally written for family, was so well received that Elrod is currently working on her second book, the sequel to “Far Outside the Ordinary.” Plans for a third book is also in the works, which Elrod says will be a work of fiction.
Learn more about Prissy Elrod, and purchase her book at her website www.prissyelrod.com, where you can buy the book directly from her or from Amazon using the links provided or find a copy of her book locally at Sweet Patina, My Favorite Things, Bedfellows, Saint John’s bookstore and The Bookshelf in Thomasville. Also Weezie in Havana.