With a tip of the road blue Cardinals cap to my favorite historical fiction author Robert Hicks, I present my own personal list of passions and pursuits.
The pursuit of knowledge about whatever subject I’ve decided to work on is often the best part of my book projects. I can spend all day at the Tennessee State Library and Archives in Nashville, Tennessee, scrolling through reels of microfilm or searching through books. Research for all of my books has taken place there as well as at local libraries and archives. For the historian, this is the most important step in creating a book.
When the words come together just right, it’s wonderful. But most every writer will tell you it’s an arduous process to get to that point! There are times when the words flow freely from my mind to my pen (or the keyboard), but oftentimes it’s a slow, grueling process. Still, it’s gratifying when someone reads your work and shares with you how much they enjoyed it. That makes it all worthwhile.
I am a third-generation fan of the St. Louis Cardinals and make the pilgrimage to Busch Stadium every other year or so. My office walls are adorned with photographs of past and present Cardinals players. I’m also a fan of minor league teams like the Jackson Generals, the Memphis Redbirds, and the Nashville Sounds. When I first moved to Middle Tennessee in 1993, I went to my first minor league game at Herschel Greer Stadium when the Triple-A Sounds shared it with the Double-A Nashville Xpress of the Southern League. I became a big fan of the Xpress and can still name most of the starting players and their positions in the field.
In 1997, I became interested in the history of the Jackson Generals and other professional teams that played in my hometown of Jackson, Tennessee. I’ve written two books on the subject: Jackson Diamonds and The Jackson Generals. As a result of the initial research for those works, I became fascinated with other communities that hosted teams in the same league that Jackson played. I have a file cabinet and several boxes filled with information on the Kentucky-Illinois- Tennessee League (and sometimes Indiana), better known as the Kitty League. It’s always been my intention to write a narrative history of the league from its shaky inception in 1903 to its ultimate demise in 1955, and hopefully one day I’ll get started on this enormous project. In the meantime, I’ve co-written a photo history with filmmaker Joshua R. Maxwell entitled simply The Kitty League, part of Arcadia Publishing’s Images of Baseball series.
My current book project is a biography of St. Louis Cardinals great Ken Boyer (1931-1982). Publication is estimated to be in August 2014.
Southern Unionists in the American Civil War
Prominent and Obscure Figures in Tennessee History