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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Take Me to the Willow

Take Me to the Willow
by Shelly Brimley

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GENRE: Historical Fiction

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BLURB:

In defending his life-long friendship with Charlie, Will may have inadvertently had a hand in the growing chaos that leads to the horrifying night when his familiar world is shattered.

When Will Wright, the eighteen year old son of a small-town Arkansas sheep herder in 1905, begins reading his mother’s journal, he is inspired by its startling content to start putting his own experiences to paper for posterity. An unsophisticated but principled young man, Will is becoming increasingly aware of the hatred that exists in the world. When he begins his own journal, Will can’t know what events are to take place in the next five years – from his mother’s battle with a life threatening illness, to his embarrassments of learning how to be in love for the first time, to witnessing Charlie’s fate at the hands of the bigoted townspeople. While part of him wishes the pain in those pages didn’t exist, he knows that the original purpose for keeping the journal has been realized - to show his kin how he became the man he is. He will probably never go back through and read again the pages he’s written, but someday, someone will, and they will see that along with the hurt, Will’s life had been one that knew true joy, absolute love, and undying friendship.

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EXCERPT:

I’ve only been in this cell for three days, but it feels like a might lot longer than that. I know what I did wasn’t considered proper by most folks down here in the South, but I don’t regret doin’ it. And I’d do it again, if I had the chance. Charlie never did anything wrong. He’s just colored. Not much he can do about that, and even if he could, I suppose he wouldn’t want to anyhow. I didn’t feel it right that Charlie be ignored when all he came to do was buy feed and tools like the rest of us. So when Eli Carver said he don’t take no “colored” money, I thought it best to point out that he must be blind as a bat since Charlie’s dollar and my dollar are both the same shade of green. And when I held the two right in front of Mr. Carver’s face and politely asked him to show me the difference, he later told Sheriff Coleman I was threatenin’ and causin’ a disturbance. When I heard that, it just made my blood boil, and I decided Eli Carver needed to be taught a lesson. I went back to that store, although Charlie tried to get me to leave it be, but the next thing I knew, I was holdin’ Eli a foot off the ground against the door to his very own supply store. If Sheriff Coleman hadn’t been right there, I might have been able to argue my side, but there’s no point arguin’ against proof and common sense. Besides that, Sherriff Coleman is known for his feelin’s about colored people, so I knew I was beat before I started. I suppose I just didn’t care. 

A WORD FROM THE AUTHOR:


Creating Ben

My grandfather, Lloyd Hamilton, was a farmer, and he gave everything he had to making that work for his family. But raising seven children on a farmer’s income was difficult, so he would leave his family during the week to sell insurance and then come home to work the farm on the weekends. He did this for years. After my grandfather passed away, I found myself reading his memoirs and just being captivated by some of the stories. It was not a glamourous life, but one that centered on family and working hard and being decent. I read these stories, and as I did, I started thinking about the contrast between his world then and the world I live in today. It made me think about odd things like reality TV and fast-paced, bigger is better, wanting the constant spotlight lifestyles, and it occurred to me just how far we had come from this down to earth, principled and disciplined way of life. It’s a lifestyle that deserves so much applause yet gets little to none. So as I read about my grandfather’s life, I was reminded of the feeling I used to have while driving through Idaho where we would spend a few days every summer for our family reunions. It was the absolute highlight of the year for all of us! We spent two days driving there in the family station wagon with seven kids and two days driving home, and had three days there if we were lucky. As we would drive through Idaho, I always felt this overwhelmingly “homey” feeling. There was something so enticing to me about the freshly plowed crops and the livestock out in the fields. It left me with a feeling of being surrounded by goodness, and it felt wholesome and honest.
                  Benjamin Wright is a Lloyd Hamilton type of man. He’s the sort of man you feel fortunate to be connected to and loved by. He’s not the warm and fuzzy type, but has greater depth than most. He knows who he is and allows principle to direct his course. He lives to take care of and protect those whom he loves, even though most of the people he loves will never hear him say it.  He doesn’t have any interest in spending time on things that don’t matter and spends quite a bit of time on things that do. I feel an affection for Ben. He’s strong for everyone else and there are many times that leave you wondering about his own heartache. Ben shares emotionally of himself with Lily. It is private, and it is a sacred space for him. She sees a side of Ben that no other person has seen nor will ever see. She knows that, and she protects it for both of them.




AUTHOR Bio and Links:


Shelly Brimley was born in Flagstaff, AZ, where she lived most of her life until moving to Mexico to study abroad. After graduation, Shelly did some volunteer work in Africa and completed her graduate degree while working in an adolescent drug treatment center. After acquiring her Master’s degree, she worked as a counselor at a residential shelter for children who had been smuggled and trafficked into the USA from different countries around the world. She also taught English to adult refugees before resigning to raise her children. Shelly wanted to use her experience working with others as a source of inspiration in her writing, offering a voice for those who are not typically heard or considered.

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15 comments:

Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Mai T. said...

How has your environment & upbringing colored your writing?

Shelly Brimley said...

Thank you for hosting me today!

Shelly Brimley said...

Mai T., I think my parents did a wonderful job of helping their children to be grounded in the things that truly matter and have purpose. The helped us to be well-rounded adults. They also allowed us to see hardship and struggle and what it looked to use good coping skills and find resolution. One thing I owe to my parents is the ability to see people based on content of spirit and character. Thanks for asking such an important question!

Anonymous said...

This sounds very touching!

--Trix

Shelly Brimley said...

Thanks, Trix. This book is very personal to me in many ways. I hope you get a chance to read it, and if you do, I'd love to hear how if it resonates with you.

Victoria Alexander said...

Great post - thanks for sharing!

Shelly Brimley said...

You bet, Victoria! Does the book interest you? What genres do you like reading?

James Robert said...

Thank you for taking the time to offer us this giveaway

Shelly Brimley said...

You're very welcome, James. If you're interested in historical fiction, you should give the book a try!

Shelly Brimley said...

I'm so appreciative of you hosting today! Thanks again.

Nikolina said...

I really enjoyed reading the entire post, thank you!

James Robert said...

Thanks for the opportunity to win, you're awesome! Happy Friday!

Dario Z said...

Sounds like a great read, thank you for sharing!

Ree Dee said...

I enjoyed this entire post. Thank you for sharing!