Books

Nomadic life leads to writer’s debut; and 3 local authors with new children’s books

The seed for F. Vincent Applewhite’s “White Knights” (Amazon) was planted over a Thanksgiving dinner. But the story began decades before.

“We were reminiscing about all the times we’d moved following my father’s career and the adventures we’d had,” Applewhite says. “At one point, someone asked my father to list all of the jobs and transfers he’d taken. He began to list them all but he spent most of his time describing how difficult it had been to shutter a particular factory and lay off over a thousand employees. … It had been decades but I could still sense the pain in his voice. The only silver lining to the factory’s closing was that it united the city and its two rival high schools, who both wound up playing in separate state championship (football) games that year.”

Applewhite tried to find an account of the pivotal time in the community, but came up empty.

“So I decided to write it. To write down some of the funny anecdotes that happened to me as I hopped from school to school. To honor the coaches and teammates who provided me with an extended family. And to shine a little light on a community that I felt had been overlooked.”

Though he fictionalized the people and places, he says everything actually happened. “Kind of.”

“White Knights” follows the journey of Joe and Anne Pussio from the Sandhills of North Carolina to the shores of Lake Erie to the mountains of Appalachia. It paints a picture of what happened when blue collar ideals intersected with white collar greed.

Applewhite, whose early nomadic life shaped him, hightailed it back to North Carolina to attend college and start his adult life. He now happily lives in Raleigh.

For children

“Criminy Kringle” (Amazon) by Richard M. Williams is the tale of the chief supply elf at Santa’s workshop who has grown a bit farsighted at age 410. He mixes up the last order three days before Christmas, leaving it to Mrs. Claus to come up with a fix. Williams lives in Wake Forest. “Criminy Kringle” is his first children’s book.

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“Little Turtle and Baby Ray” (P’Gale Fine Art Studio), by Durham artist and author Pamela George, follows a hawksbill turtle and a baby sting ray to the bottom of the sea as they get to know the living reef. George brings the sea to life with beautiful illustrations on every page. All proceeds from sales of the book will go toward coral reef conservation.

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“Mommy’s Big, Red Monster Truck” (Friesen Press) is the debut children’s book of Alison Paul Klakowicz. The story was inspired by her son’s vivid imagination and obsession with monster trucks when he was young. “Mommy’s Big, Red Monster Truck” is the tale of a little boy and his really cool mom, who takes the duo on all kinds of fun adventures in her very own monster truck. Klakowicz lives in Fayetteville.

Triangle-area authors: We want to hear about your new book. Send information to bookbeat@newsobserver.com. As space permits, we will mention self-published books by local authors that are for sale on commercial sites.

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