First-time author Allison Snyder credits a good friendship with bringing “Laddie: A Cat’s Tale” (Living Parables of Central Florida) to life. The friends spent a lot of time together, with Snyder’s tabby/Maine coon mix always nearby. “Little by little, this cat started to take on a persona and history all his own – completely fabricated, of course, by me and my friend,” she says. “But that’s one of the fun things about fiction writing. You get to make things up and no one’s going to judge you. Plus, the cat can’t sue.”
What evolved is part cat memoir, part faith parable about an uppity lost-and-found British cat. The book is meant to appeal to children and adults alike.
As she was writing, Snyder found herself seeing parallels between the story of pet adoption and her belief in the gospel. “Wow, I thought. This is like our relationship with God. What if I could write something fresh, non-preachy, non-syrupy that even secular-minded readers could be drawn to that would point to a healthy relationship with God. ...
“I’m happy to say that, so far, ‘Laddie’ seems to be bringing fun and encouragement to folks of various beliefs.”
Snyder lives in Hillsborough.
Matthew Griffin, a graduate of Wake Forest University, is the winner of the fourth annual Crook’s Corner Book Prize for the best debut novel set in the American South.
Griffin’s novel, “Hide” (Bloomsbury USA) is the story of two men who fall in love shortly after World War II, at a time when being gay could mean a prison sentence. They live on the outskirts of a textile town in North Carolina, isolated from society, until one of the men has a stroke at age 83.
Griffin, a visiting professor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, won $5,000 cash and a complimentary glass of wine at Crook’s Corner each day of his prize year. The prize, a collaboration between the Chapel Hill restaurant and the Crook’s Corner Book Prize Foundation, was inspired by the awards given by literary cafés in Paris.
For details on submitting works go to crookscornerbookprize.com.
In “Boyhood Daze and Other Stories” (CreateSpace), author Carole Coates blends her father’s tales of his childhood with some history to weave a story of life in Depression-era Johnston County. Braxton Coates grew up in a family of seven boys during the 1920s and ’30s, some of that time living at the Johnston County Farm and Home, also known as the poorhouse. “It’s a little bit biography, a little bit history, a little bit memoir,” Coates says. “It’s both humorous and philosophical, and it even has a few of Daddy’s poems thrown in for good measure.” Coates lives in a home she and her husband built by hand on the side of a mountain in western North Carolina.
The Rev. Polk Culpepper examines a downturn in the church in “Decline and Dysfunction in the American Church” (Sable Books). Culpepper, who lives in the Beaufort County town of Washington contends that the church has, for most Americans, become irrelevant due to the toxic influences of co-dependent patterns of behavior that corrupt relationships and block attempts at authentic ministry.
Triangle-area authors: We want to hear about your new book. Send information to firstname.lastname@example.org. As space permits, we will mention self-published books by local authors that are for sale on commercial sites.