Author Spotlight – A.C. Croom
Posted on November 23, 2010 by Tim Marquitz http://tmarquitz.com/
Today I’d like to welcome author A.C. Croom to the Dark Fantastic.
A fellow Texan, A.C. is an artist, a musician, and a writer. coming from a family of storytellers, it’s no surprise that A.C. followed in their footsteps, weaving tales steeped in the grandeur of history.
Here’s A.C. to tell us more:
Tell us a little about yourself.
AC: Now that’s a tough question. How do I condense sixty years into a couple of paragraphs?
I was born and raised in a small town in Louisiana. My Father was a World War II Army veteran, and my Mother was raised on a cotton farm. After his passing, my Mother, brother and I moved to several areas of the country with her seeking work to keep us fed. I attended five different high schools, one of them being a private school. Our travels ended in Midland, Texas; which I thought was very end of the earth, with all the sand and very few trees across the countryside.
It was there that I met my wife of 43 years. Together we raised a son and daughter and I now have five grand children, the oldest of which is now in the Army and due to be married in March.
I have spent the bulk of my life working in the oil industry in one form or another. I have owned my own business, went back to school when I was in my forties and traveled extensively. I have always dabbled in the arts with music, (I am a guitarist) pencil and charcoal sketches and writing; both prose and poetry. And, I read voraciously. The funny part is that I do not write in the genre that I read.
Your newest book, Delta Trails, is set to be released through Eternal Press in January. Give us a little insight into the book and how it came about.
AC: The Mississippi Delta is a vast, rich area of the United States, that at one time became the very heart of the Confederate States of America. While only one major battle was fought along the Mississippi River after the fall of New Orleans early in the war, other, lesser know clashes between the North and South were scattered up and down the states bordering it.
In 1865, the guns fell silent with Lee’s surrender in Virginia and soldiers of both sides returned home to pick up the pieces of their lives. My characters, Nathaniel Parker and Shawn Kelley were only two of the thousands that found things very different than when they left their homes to fight for their beliefs.
Nate Parker found that the woman he was betrothed to had been kidnapped only days before his return. He turned to the gun as a way to seek her abductors and free her if possible. Thus became his Delta Trail. Chasing leads that led to additional information or dead ends, he is transformed into a gunfighter and self made vigilante.
Shawn Kelley returns to New Orleans where he builds a reputation of one of the most gifted poker players in the area. His focus is to be as good, or better, than his father was before him. His success is noticed and he is invited to play against the best of the best. Along the way he finds he has fallen in love. In that day and age, poker could be a deadly pastime and Delta Trails points that out in spades. (Pardon the pun)
During the game, Nate Parker has followed a lead that brings him face to face with one of the men he has sought. When the smoke clears and the bodies are identified, Nate and Shawn once again join forces to ride the Delta Trail in search of outlaws that both now must find.
As a kid spending much time with my grandparents in southern Mississippi, my grandfather, my grandmother’s third husband, told me many tall tales that had been passed from his father to him as truth. Many of the minor characters bearing the names of my own ancestors; were deeply rooted in the stories that I had been told. The area I chose for the fictional town of Templetown, Mississippi actually was a land grant to those ancestors during the late 1700’s.
I added the locale of the Rising Sun Hotel after research showed that it was indeed rebuilt and in use before a second fire burned it to the ground. The twist on the song ‘House of the Rising Sun” also came from my research.
As a fan of Hemingway, Dickens, Zane Gray, and Twain, do you try to bring a sense of their grand adventure to your writing or do you write with a more modern approach?
AC: My influence by those masters of the written word left many options at my disposal.
Grand adventure; define that. All life is one adventure after another, be they grand or mundane. I believe that I take the same approach they did in writing. I write for the people of my time. For example: Hemingway wrote ‘The Old Man and The Sea’. That fishing trip was only different from others in his life because he caught the largest fish in his life and had to fight the sea to keep it. The audience for that book was the readers of Hemingway’s time. Delta Trails uses the same concept, but for a vastly different audience.
As a writer in the twenty-first century, I believe I have to be unique. My fiction must appeal to readers that have at their disposal, Hi-Tech Movies, HD Television and the myriad volumes of content on the internet. I do take a more modern approach simply because modern readers want more than stock footage.
You’ve got a couple of poems posted on your blog, From a Distance and Old Soldiers. Do you regularly write poetry, or do you only do it when there’s a subject that affects you so emotionally you can’t help but be inspired by it?
AC: That’s an easy one. Poetry is always based on emotion, be it Love or Hate, Happiness or Sadness. The Poet writes what he or she feels at the time, condensing those feelings into a shorter form than prose. Inspiration is an “In Your Face” thing to the poet. If the subject doesn’t deeply affect you, it can be expressed as a poem; it becomes prose and ends up non-fiction or fiction.
From what I can gather from Delta Trails and your blog, you seem to be a fan of history. Is there a specific time frame that inspires your writing?
AC: The past is what it is. Using that statement, I can build a story around it and, with time and patience, a book that may appeal to others. I have been called a History nut. I look back and can see what events caused the world to be what it is today. I continue to study History because I think it will give us insight into our world to come. The proof of that statement is that we as a people continue to make history,
I dearly enjoy reading and writing about the old west and the events that created the people of the era. The Civil War gave rise to heroes and villains that are still with us in today’s modern world. Had we never had a civil war, few of the most important men of the West would have existed. Gunfighters began their trade as soldiers with no place to go and no work to do. Lawmen began their trade as soldiers first and enforcers of the Reconstruction later. The displacement of millions during the Civil War gave rise to the migration west. Indian Wars were fought because of that migration.
To me, the turning point in America that made us who we are was the period between 1860 and 1885. The Civil War, modern industrialization, gold rushes and everyday life of the American people of that era inspire me to tell stories of how it really was and not just how I would have liked it to be.
Where can readers go to find out more about you and your work?
AC: I have a blog, http://ac-croom.blogspot.com and I am seeking someone to help me build a site where I can display and sell Delta Trails and other books I have had published and now own sole rights too.