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If you enjoy reading Southern fiction, check out Camp Redemption by Raymond L. Atkins. It’s about a brother and sister who own a cash-strapped children’s church camp in north Georgia, and one day receive an unexpected visitor. Like a lot of fine Southern writing, this novel has charmingly eccentric characters, a strong appreciation of history, and asks some rather pointed questions about God’s involvement in everyday life. It’s also beautifully written and funny as heck.

Camp Redemption was published by Mercer University Press after the book won the 2011 Ferrol Sams Award for Fiction. My first novel, titled A Plot for Pridemore, won the 2012 Ferrol Sams Award, and will be published by Mercer in Spring 2014. According to the press, the award is given to the “best book that speaks to the human condition in a Southern context.” Even though my book takes place in Missouri (which may or may not be part of the South, depending on whom you talk to), it has a distinctly Southern point of view, and draws heavily from my time growing up in Georgia.

Upon receiving Atkins’ novel in the mail, examining the beautiful cover art, and reading the author’s wonderful, flowing prose about the hills and valleys of lower Appalachia, I am even more excited and humbled (and perhaps a little intimidated) to be joining Mercer’s roster of fiction writers. At this point, I am still in the early stages of editing my manuscript with the press, but I’ll have updates in the approaching months about how the book is coming along. Becoming a published author has long been a dream of mine, and I hope to share parts of my adventure with all of you.

Image pulled from http://www.mupress.org.

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