Have You Ever Lived Through "That Summer"?

That Summer
Book #1 in the Caney Creek Series
by Jo Huddleston
Released December8
A Southern historical novel


The Great Depression brings devastation to The Southern Appalachians, but love’s triangle survives.

To escape his poppa’s physical abuse and their dirt-poor farm life, Jim flees to an imagined prosperous city life where he can make his own choices, ignoring God patiently knocking on his heart’s door. Settled in town, Jim strays from God and the way of faith his momma taught him.
He meets a girl and loses his heart … and meets another girl and loses his willpower. Jim wrestles with social and moral dilemmas as he makes a choice beside Caney Creek that will alter the lives of five people.

[Christina here now:] I read Jo’s book for endorsement a little while ago. First, I’ll tell you what I thought of the book, then I’ll let you hear from the author how it came about.

As surely as Caney Creek runs through the town, the story of That Summer swept me back to the pre-depression era, a time of hope and opportunity. Following Jim’s ambitions, this book examines the effects of following self versus following God and the sometimes maddening,sometimes inspiring results.
~Christina Berry, award-winning author of The Familiar Stranger

How That Summer Came To Be:
The setting of That Summer is the Southern Appalachians of East Tennessee where my ancestors and I were raised. I’ve listened to the older generations tell their stories at family reunions about time before telephones and automobiles. Their stories fascinated me and caused me to want to write about a time before I was born.
This story percolated in my mind in the late 1990s. I’m what writers call a panster type of writer. I don’t outline my plot on paper. My entire plot and characters simmer in my mind before I write a word. Many times I don’t know the ending but I know how to get there. Of course, sometimes characters surprise me by going this way when I intended them to go another way. I love how my stories many times work themselves out as I write.
While this story still rumbled around in my mind, in 2001 I received a life altering health diagnosis with a negative prognosis. My first symptom was the loss of penmanship that nobody, even I, could read. Then I began to have involuntary muscle spasms that prevented me from holding my fingers on the home keys of a keyboard. I couldn’t write and couldn’t type—this was before speak-to-type.
I thought my writing career had vanished. I cleaned out my files—even trashed all my rejection letters I’d been saving. Now I wish I’d kept them to prove that I really am a writer. I gave away most of my writing craft books.
My mind was still intact but my body wouldn’t do what it was told. My balance while walking started to diminish and I quit going to writing conferences. My doctor advised me not to drive. I was dependent on my family to even get to my doctor’s appointments and still am.
In 2008, I began to improve. My hands were steadier and I could get my story started. The biggest aggravation when I write anything is the time I have to leave my story to research the facts. When the story starts pouring out of my mind I want to write. I write continuously, not indicating chapters but I do indicate scene and POV changes. After I finish that first draft I go back and do those things.
I have outlived my doctor’s prognosis by over a year and a half. I’m writing the second of a 3-book contract and feel fine other than fatigue when I don’t stop to rest now and then. Fatigue does bring on more unsteadiness in my hands and legs.
From 2001 to 2008 I had a lot of time to meditate. A relative marvels that I’ve never questioned God, why me? I have not become bitter because of the health issues. I think God just gave me time to understand a lot of things when I was inactive. I’m a more peaceful, patient, and faithful me.
This is the way That Summer came to be: hibernated for seven years, and then became a story on paper.

(Jo’s publisher will sell her novel, That Summer, at a discounted price through this month of December only. You can buy the book for $9.99 if you click on this link  http://donaldjamesparker.com/sosproducts.aspx?p=473&c=5
No limit to number of books purchased, but only discounted through December, 2012. The Kindle and Nook books should be online this week. Paperback will be on Amazon, B&N, and CBD whenever they put them on their websites.)

7 Responses to Have You Ever Lived Through "That Summer"?

  1. Miriam Cheney December 12, 2012 at 1:52 pm #

    I love this testimony of the Lord’s faithfulness, Jo! He knew what He had for you all along. I’ve struggled with vertigo for two years now. Also much better–and you’re right, fatigue definitely has a negative effect–but the Lord used it to teach me so much about His vision for my writing life. I’d love to read your book! 🙂

  2. Christina (Berry) Tarabochia December 12, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

    And I love, Miriam, that you identified with the health struggles Jo faced as I have seen you continue to write and write. SO proud of both of you!

  3. dianneprice December 12, 2012 at 5:47 pm #

    For me, “That Summer” meant the first time I fell in love. I’ll never forget the dances, walks on the beach, being giddy with laughter, my first kiss. Oh, well, I was only seventeen, and it only lasted that one summer, but it put me one step closer to meeting my forever love and soul-mate–my husband

  4. Jo Huddleston December 12, 2012 at 6:09 pm #

    Miriam, I’m glad that your health is much better. Thanks for leaving a comment.

  5. Jo Huddleston December 12, 2012 at 6:11 pm #

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Jo Huddleston December 12, 2012 at 6:16 pm #

    Dianne, Thank you for your story of your “That Summer.” Glad you stopped by and left your comment.

  7. Christina (Berry) Tarabochia December 15, 2012 at 6:02 pm #

    Dianne, I put you and Miriam into a random drawing and you are the winner! Jo will send you your book soon. Congrats. 😀