Georgia’s Author of the Year for fiction in 2014, Atkins in his fourth and latest book will take readers on a journey in north Georgia with two best friends who are brothers in almost every sense of the word.
A book launch for “Sweetwater Blues” is planned for Saturday at 1 p.m. at FoxTale Book Shoppe in Woodstock.
“I like coming to FoxTale. They treat an author very well. They take the time to read the material, to do their homework and come up with enough people to make it worthwhile,” Atkins said of having his launch in Woodstock.
The book took about a year to write, Atkins said, and has a universal message for parents and others.
“Any of my readers who have had children will understand my book. Anytime parents have raised children, they know their children are just one step away from the possibility to make a bad mistake,” Atkins said.
“Sweetwater Blues” tells the story of Rodney Earwood and Palmer Cray, who had been best friends for as long as either could remember. They were brothers in all but the genetic sense, each born late in the lives of good women who had given up on the dream of motherhood by the time their respective miracles occurred, a summary of the book said. They wandered the hills of North Georgia, hunted the pine woods, fished the cool, green streams, and camped under the stars. They shared each other’s clothing, each other’s families and each other’s homes. They grew into tall young men, and on a hot May afternoon, right after they turned 18, they both graduated from Sweetwater High School, numbers seven and eight in the crooked, sweaty line that held a class of 30 of Sweetwater’s finest, according to the summary.
Shortly thereafter, Rodney and Palmer drove a Camaro into a tree. Palmer flew into a haystack, Rodney flew into the great beyond and nothing in Sweetwater was ever the same again, the books promotional material reveals.
“Follow Palmer in the aftermath of his one great mistake as he confronts regret at his own fallibility, endures punishment for his actions, finds unexpected redemption in unusual places and is given a second chance to try to make it all right,” the book summary details.
Atkins lives in Rome, where he is an instructor of English at Georgia Northwestern Technical College. He lives in a 110-year-old house with a patient wife and a fat dog, according to his biography.
“The Front Porch Prophet,” Atkins’ first novel, published in 2008, was awarded the Georgia Author of the Year Award for First Novel.
His second novel, “Sorrow Wood,” followed in 2009.
“Camp Redemption,” his third work, was published in 2013. It was awarded the Ferrol Sams Award for Fiction and won the 2014 Georgia Author of the Year Award for fiction.
FoxTale Book Shoppe is located at 105 East Main Street, No. 138, in Woodstock. For more information about the book launch, visit foxtalebookshoppe.com.