Welcome to the Featured Authors Section

The process of inviting our 2020 Featured Authors is currently under way. The Dahlonega Literary Festival has two levels of authors: Featured Authors and Regional Writers.  Featured Authors are well known, published authors who are invited to attend our Festival. The DLF programs are designed around them. 

Regional Writers are authors who are published with traditional publishers or self-published. They have perhaps written several books or perhaps just one. They are usually from the Southeastern United States, but we accept applications from authors who live anywhere. Regional Writers contact us, apply for selection, and submit a book for review. They must be selected by one of our Reviewers.  Regional Writers may participate in Festival programming if selected by the Programming Committee to do so.

Please check back to this page from time to time to see the Featured Authors who are coming. As we assemble our collection of Featured Authors we will post their brief biographies and provide a book cover and plot summary of one of their books below.

Also, check out our Regional Writer lineup under our Regional Writer heading to view pictures and brief biographies of our Regional Writers and their book covers and plot summaries.

Featured Author Biographies and Books

Jacob M. Appel is the author of three literary novels, nine short story collections, an essay collection, a cozy mystery, a thriller, and a volume of poetry. His writings in various genres have received numerous awards including the first prize in the William Faulkner-William Wisdom competition in four distinct categories – essay, short story, novella and novel – making him the only author ever to achieve such honors. 

Appel is currently an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Medical Education at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and an attending physician at Mount Sinai Hospital, Beth Israel

Hospital, and St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital in New York City. He holds numerous degrees including doctorates in medicine and law. His essays on the nexus of law and medicine have appeared in The New York Times, New York Post, New York Daily News, The Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, Detroit Free Press, Orlando Sentinel, The Providence Journal and many regional newspapers. The prolific author will have two books released this year: Who Says You’re Dead? will soon be released by Algonquin and Amazing Things Are Happening Here was released early in 2019.

“An original, compelling, and provocative exploration of ethical issues in our society, with thoughtful and balanced commentary. I have not seen anything like it.” — Alan Lightman, author of Einstein’s Dreams 

Drawing upon the author’s two decades of teaching medical ethics, as well as his work as a practicing psychiatrist, this profound and addictive little book offers up challenging ethical dilemmas and asks readers "What would you do?"

  • A daughter gets tested to see if she’s a match to donate a kidney to her father. The test reveals that she is not the man’s biological daughter. Should the doctor tell the father? Or the daughter?

  • A deaf couple prefers a deaf baby. Should they be allowed to use medical technology to ensure they have a child who can’t hear? 

  • Who should get custody of an embryo created through IVF when a couple divorces? 

  • Or, when you or a loved one is on life support, who says you’re dead?


In short, engaging scenarios, Dr. Appel takes on hot-button issues that many of us will confront: genetic screening, sexuality, privacy, and doctor-patient confidentiality. He unpacks each hypothetical with a brief reflection drawing from science, philosophy, and history, explaining how others have approached these controversies in real-world cases. Who Says You’re Dead? is designed to defy easy answers and to stimulate thought and even debate among professionals and armchair ethicists alike.

Jeffrey Bennett is a well-known astronomer, teacher and writer. He writes for audiences ranging from elementary school children to college faculties. Among his numerous awards for writing and teaching, is the American Institute of Physics Science Communications Award. 

He has written six critically acclaimed books for the general public: On the Cosmic Horizon, Beyond UFOs, Math for Life, What is Relativity, On Teaching Science, and A Global Warming Primer. 

For children, Dr. Bennett is the creator and author of the award-winning series “Science Adventures with Max the Dog.” This five-book series was selected as the first set of books to be launched to the International

Space Station. They’ve been read by astronauts for children around the world. His latest book children’s book, I, Humanity was launched into space as well as his textbook The Cosmic Perspective for a total of seven books launched into space. He has developed educational scale models of the solar system. 

He is the lead author of best-selling college textbooks in four areas – astronomy, mathematics, statistics and astrobiology. His textbooks have sold over 1.5 million copies.


Dr. Bennett has donated over 25,000 copies of his books to teachers and school libraries in more than sixty countries, through his “Max Goes to Schools.” He is actively engaged in outreach through public speaking. He is a leading supporter of Story Time from Space and the Voyage National Program. He recently began a “free visit program” in which he plans to visit one community per month through 2021.

The Max Science Adventure series books break down the boundary that has traditionally separated large format picture books from books that focus on science education. The beautifully illustrated stories appeal to all ages as Max (the dog) and his friends use their space adventures to bring a message of inspiration and hope to the human race. At the same time, “Big Kid Box” sidebars provide older children and parents with clear explanations of the sophisticated science that lies behind the scenes. The books always conclude with an activity suitable for family or classroom use.

“…a perfect springboard for many discussions, experiments, and lessons.” — National Science Teachers Association

Henry Carrigan writes about gospel, soul, blues, Americana, and country music for publications such as No Depression, The Quarterly Journal of Roots Music and Living Blues. Fifteen Spirituals That Will Change Your Life is his first book, released in May of 2019. 

Amy Ray, Grammy Award-winning artist, member of the Indigo Girls and Dahlonega resident praised Fifteen Spirituals. “I value this book for what it brings to me about the songs I have grown up with and loved all my life, and for its emphasis on how Gospel music shows us our own humanity and helps us in our search for unity and justice, in the face of fear and intolerance.” 

A native of Georgia (graduate of Dunwoody High School), Carrigan now lives near Chicago. In addition to being a writer and editor, he is an accomplished guitarist and has taught religion and music in various colleges and workshops. 

A biography of Emmy Lou Harris by Henry Carrigan will soon be released.

This inspiring book is part memoir (Carrigan is both musician and music journalist), part tour of gospel music hits and artists, and part a quick history of forgotten parts of America. Music touches people’s hearts in deep and enduring ways that words often fail to do. We all remember the time and place where we first heard certain life-changing songs. Carrigan explores fifteen Gospel songs with enduring power: each chapter includes a brief history of the song, its setting, composer and lyrics, and illustrates its themes of comfort, healing, community, hope, and love. 

Includes spirituals from Amazing Grace and Precious Lord, Take My Hand to Steal Away to Jesus and I’ll Fly Away. Each chapter explores brief history of the song, its setting and composer, examining key lyrics, illustrating ways it expresses themes of comfort, healing, community, hope, and love. Fifteen Spirituals encourages readers to listen to favorite, or unfamiliar, Gospel songs to discover their transforming power.


Music lovers, musicians, readers of Christian inspirational literature, music historians, and fans of Gospel singers will want to read this book.

Table of Contents includes: Amazing Grace—God’s grace and salvation, Precious Lord, Take My Hand—Comfort & healing, Wade in the Water—Baptism, redemption, social justice, Leaning on the Everlasting Arms—Hope, community, Swing Low, Sweet Chariot—Death and hope, Will the Circle Be Unbroken?—Community, hope, Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning—Expectation and new life, How Great Thou Art—God’s greatness, I’m Gonna Live So God Can Use Me—Work, love, prayer, Standing on the Promises—Faith, If Heaven Never Were Promised to Me—Faithful living, I’ll Fly Away, God’s Got a Crown—Heaven, Brethren We Have Met to Worship—Worship, Steal Away to Jesus—New life

Joe Crespino has published three books. His most recent is Atticus Finch: The Biography – Harper Lee, Her Father, and the Making of an American Icon. Also, he has co-edited a collection of essays, and has written for academic journals as well as for popular forums such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, Politico, and the Wall Street Journal. 

In a front-page review in the New York Times, Howell Raines, former executive editor of the Times and a native of Alabama, described Atticus Finch as a “crisp, illuminating” book that “opens a window into “Mockingbird’s’ scrubbed-up Alabama of memory” and “the literary politics of the modern South.” 

Crespino is the Jimmy Carter Professor of History at Emory University (Atlanta). He is an expert in the political and cultural history of the twentieth century United States, and of the history of the American South since Reconstruction. His work has been supported by fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Academy of Education. In 2014, he served as the Fulbright Distinguished Chair in American Studies at the University of Tubingen (Germany), and he has been named a Distinguished Lecturer by the Organization of American Historians.

Who was the real Atticus Finch? A prize-winning historian reveals the man behind the legend


The publication of Go Set a Watchman in 2015 forever changed how we think about Atticus Finch. Once seen as a paragon of decency, he was reduced to a small-town racist. How are we to understand this transformation?


In Atticus Finch, historian Joseph Crespino draws on exclusive sources to reveal how Harper Lee's father provided the central inspiration for each of her books. A lawyer and newspaperman, A. C. Lee was a principled opponent of mob rule, yet he was also a racial paternalist. Harper Lee created the Atticus of Watchman out of the ambivalence she felt toward white southerners like him. But when a militant segregationist movement arose that mocked his values, she revised the character in To Kill a Mockingbird to defend her father and to remind the South of its best traditions. A story of family and literature amid the upheavals of the twentieth century, Atticus Finch is essential to understanding Harper Lee, her novels, and her times.

In six decades, Bill Curry has experienced virtually every scenario football provides, and relishes the opportunity to share its vivid personalities, painful life lessons, and Leadership secrets. He labored in the pits as an offensive center for twenty years, coached at every level for twenty-seven years, and was an ESPN game analyst eleven more. He is attempting to retire, but continues to be drawn back into a demanding schedule by speaking engagements, wife Carolyn's foundation, charitable activities, and most important, seven grandchildren, each of whom is brilliant!

No sport rivals football for building character. In the scorching heat of two-a-days and the fierce combat of the gridiron, true leaders are born. Just ask Bill Curry, whose credentials for exploring the relationship between football and leadership include two Super Bowl rings and the distinction of having snapped footballs to Bart Starr and Johnny Unitas.

In Ten Men You Meet In The Huddle, Curry shares the wit, wisdom, and tough love of teammates and coaches who turned him from a next-to-last NFL draft pick into a two-time Pro Bowler. Learning from such giants as Vince Lombardi and Don Shula, Ray Nitschke and Bubba Smith, Bobby Dodd and even the indomitable George Plimpton, Curry led a football life of nonstop exploration packed with adventure and surprise.

As our country has grown more and more divided in the last decade, the sport of football has taken on added significance as a builder of constructive relationships between people from varied environments. From the locker rooms to the stands, communities bond in a unique and powerful way in and around our sport. The fact remains that football is America's game.

Blessed with irresistible characters, rich personal history, and a strong, simple, down-to-earth voice, Ten Men You Meet In The Huddle proves that football is much more than a game. It is indeed a metaphor for life.

This enhanced and updated version examines and amplifies the pressing issues facing football today.

Carolyn Curry is the author of Suffer and Grow Strong: The Life of Ella Gertrude Clanton Thomas 1834-1907, a Georgia woman who kept diaries for over forty years -- from age fourteen to age fifty-five. They tell of her extraordinary life before, during and after the Civil War. Born into one of the wealthiest families in Georgia, after the Civil War, her life was one of devastation and family strife. Yet she prevailed becoming active in many women’s organizations such as the Women’s Christian Temperance Unions and the Suffrage Movement. She was the first elected president of the Georgia Suffrage Association in 1899. (Sadly, she did not live to see women get the right to vote (1920) Her story is one of survival and transformation that speaks to women today.


Curry received a B. A. degree in English from Agnes Scott College and M.A. and Ph. D. degrees in history from Georgia State University. She has taught at the University of Kentucky and the Westminster Schools in Atlanta. 


Curry has also written papers on significant women’s issues and often speaks to various groups around the country. Compelled by women’s stories shared with her during years of research and teaching, Curry founded Women Alone Together in Atlanta in 2002. Partnering with Agnes Scott College Alumnae Association, the foundation works to build confidence and community among the growing number of women who are alone in our culture. She has led the organization to become the dynamic, viable entity it is today.


She has served on many non-profit and college board in Kentucky and Georgia. She was also appointed by the Governor to the Kentucky Heritage Council and has received many awards for her public service. 

For more than 50 years, she has been married to football legend Bill Curry (college and pro, player and coach and TV sports analyst). They have a daughter, Kristin Hunter, a son Bill Curry, Jr., and seven grandchildren and reside in Atlanta.

Ella Gertrude Clanton Thomas was an intelligent, spirited woman born in 1834 to one of the wealthiest families in Georgia. At the age of fourteen she began and kept a diary for forty-one years. These diaries of her life before, during, and after the Civil War filled thirteen hand-written volumes with 450,000 words. In the early years she described her life of leisure and recorded the books she read. Her father recognized her love of learning and sent her to the first college for women in America, Wesleyan Female College in Macon, Georgia. After college graduation in 1851, she was a gay young girl of fashion who met and married her Princeton-educated husband in 1852. However, with the coming of the Civil War and its aftermath, her life changed forever. Thomas experienced loss of wealth, bankruptcy, the death of loved ones, serious illness, and devastating family strife. She gave birth to ten children and saw four of them die. But, through it all, she kept pouring thoughts into her diary. Thomas examined what was happening, asked questions, and strived to find ways to improve her family's dire economic straits. She started a school in

her home and later ran a boarding house out of the old family mansion. In 1893, Thomas left Augusta and moved to Atlanta where she became active in many women's organizations. She found comfort in her work with the Women's Christian Temperance Union and the Suffrage Movement. She began producing articles for newspapers, keeping them in scrapbooks that tell the story of her life after she quit keeping a diary. In 1899 she was elected president of the Georgia Woman Suffrage Association. Because of her own losses, Thomas was sensitive to the well-being of other women. As she said, she had suffered and grown strong. Her life is an amazing story of survival and transformation that speaks to women in our own time.

Terry Kay is one of Georgia’s literary treasures. He is the author of eighteen published books; three have been made into movies –To Dance with the White Dog, The Runaway and The Valley of Light. His books have been published in more than twenty languages and To Dance with the White Dog sold twenty million copies in Japan. He has also been a sportswriter and film/theater critic (for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution), a public relations executive, and a corporation officer. An essayist and regional Emmy-winning screenwriter as well as a novelist, Kay's work has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies. 

Kay is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards and honors. A 2006 inductee into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame, and a 2009 recipient of the Governor’s Award in the Humanities, Kay was further honored in 2015 by the Atlanta Writers Club’s designation of its annual fiction award as the Terry Kay Prize for Fiction. In 2011, he was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Georgia Writers Association. He has received the Georgia Author of the Year award four times and in 2004 was presented with the Townsend Prize, considered the state's top literary award. In 2006, he received the prestigious Appalachian Heritage Writer's Award. Kay was presented the Stanley W. Lindberg Award in 2007, named for the late editor of The Georgia Review. It is considered one of the state's most prestigious literary honors and is awarded for an individual's significant contribution to the preservation and celebration of Georgia’s literary heritage.

When Arthur Benjamin steps from a Greyhound bus in Savannah, Georgia, he is immediately robbed by an affable street magician named Hamby Cahill. It is Hamby's first act of thievery and the remorse of it so overwhelms him that he finds lodging for Arthur in The Castle, a warehouse supposedly owned by Melinda McFadden, an eccentric and fragile grande dame of imagined aristocracy who is known as Lady to the strange assembly of street people she has arbitrarily selected to be her Guests. There, Arthur finds his family-an ex-con shoplifter, a disgruntled seamstress, a young artist suspected of being a hooker, and a former boxer known as Lightning. For Arthur, it is the company that will change his life, as he, in turn, will change the lives of everyone he encounters. Yet, he does not know he will become entangled with political arrogance over a minor traffic mishap, or be targeted for brutality. He does not know he will encounter Wally Whitmire, proponent of the Destiny of the Dominoes, or that he will become an unqualified mayoral candidate put forth to serve as an irritant to the incumbent Harry Geiger. And he does not know he will be looked

upon by the people of Savannah-fortunate and unfortunate, alike-as an icon, a beloved figure who wears a cape of invented royalty and distributes paper flowers made of cocktail napkins as gifts of comfort.


Arthur knows only that he has found his place and his purpose.

Cassandra King (Conroy) is an award-winning author of five novels, a nonfiction book, and a memoir, Tell Me a Story: My Life with Pat Conroy, is her most recent release.


She has also written numerous short stories, magazine articles, and essays. She has taught creative writing in colleges and conducted corporate writing seminars. 

King’s novels have won the hearts of readers everywhere, but especially in the South. Often told in first person, her novels portray strong and memorable characters struggling with the same timely issues and dilemmas readers face. The Sunday Wife and The Same Sweet Girls were nominated for Southern Independent Booksellers Association’s (SIBA) book of the year award. 

Her first novel, Making Waves was released in 1995. Then came The Sunday Wife (2002), a New York Times bestseller and it was a Literary Guild and Book-of-the-Month Club selection, and winner of several other awards. As one of Booksense’s top discussion selections, the Nestle Corporation selected it for a national campaign to promote reading groups.

The Same Sweet Girls was the national number one Booksense Selection on its release in 2005, as well a Book-of-the-Month Club and Literary Guild selection. It spent several weeks on both the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists. Two years later, Queen of Broken Hearts was released. Set in King’s home state of Alabama, it , became a Literary Guild and Book-of-the-Month Club Selection as well as a SIBA bestseller. Her fifth novel Moonrise (2013), was a SIBA Okra Pick and a Southern Booksellers bestseller. 

King’s non-fiction book The Same Sweet Girls Guide to Life, released in 2013, was also an Okra Pick. 


The widow of acclaimed author Pat Conroy, Cassandra resides in Beaufort, South Carolina, where she is honorary chair of the Pat Conroy Literary Center.

Bestselling author Cassandra King Conroy considers her life and the man she shared it with, paying tribute to her husband, Pat Conroy, the legendary figure of modern Southern literature.

Cassandra King was leading a quiet life as a professor, divorced “Sunday wife” of a preacher, and debut novelist when she met Pat Conroy.


Their friendship bloomed into a tentative, long-distance relationship. Pat and Cassandra ultimately married, ending Pat's long commutes from coastal South Carolina to her native Alabama. It was a union that would last eighteen years, until the beloved literary icon’s death from pancreatic cancer in 2016.

In this poignant, intimate memoir, the woman he called King Ray looks back at her love affair with a natural-born storyteller whose lust for life was fueled by a passion for literature, food, and the Carolina Lowcountry that was his home. As she reflects on their relationship and the eighteen years they spent together, cut short by Pat’s passing at seventy, Cassandra reveals how the marshlands of the South Carolina Lowcountry ultimately cast their spell on her, too, and how she came to understand the convivial, generous, funny, and wounded flesh-and-blood man beneath the legend—her husband, the original Prince of Tides.

Tracey Laird is the author or editor of four books about music and is a professor of music. Her most recent book project was co-authoring the 4th edition of Bill C. Malone’s groundbreaking, Country Music, U.S.A. which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2018.


She has written two books about the seminal PBS show Austin City Limits (ACL), now in its 46th season. ACL: A History (published in 2014) and ACL: A Monument to Music (published in 2015), explore the significance of the long-running program, that presents all genres of popular music. The second book includes beautiful photo by longtime ACL photographer Scott Newton. ACL’s story intertwines with that of its home city, now known as the “Live Music Capital of the World.” Austin City Limits has also helped changed the ways audiences engage with music and media. 

Her book, Louisiana Hayride: Radio and Roots Music Along the Red River (first published in 2004, and re-released in 2016), is about the famous radio show out of Shreveport (her home city), that launched

Elvis Presley, Hank Williams into the national spotlight. 

Dr. Tracey Laird teaches at Agnes Scott College in Decatur Georgia. She holds degrees from Loyola University (B.A.), and an M.A. and Ph.D., from the University of Michigan. She and husband Brandon Laird, co-author on ACL: A Monument to Music, reside in Decatur.

Austin City Limits is the longest running musical showcase in the history of television, and it still captivates audiences forty years after its debut on the air. From Willie Nelson's legendary pilot show and his fourteen magical episodes running through the years to Season 35, to mythical performances of BB King and Stevie Ray Vaughn, to repeat appearances from Chet Atkins, Bonnie Raitt and Ray Charles, and recent shows with Mumford & Sons, Arcade Fire and The Decemberists, the show has defined popular roots music and indie rock. This is why country rocker Miranda Lambert -- relatively unknown when she taped a show almost a decade ago -- gushed to the studio audience, "Now I know I have arrived!" Austin City Limits: A History tells this remarkable story.

With unprecedented access behind the scenes at the tapings of shows with Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, Mos Def, Wilco, and many more, author Tracey Laird tells the story of this landmark musical showcase whose history spans dramatic changes in the world of television, the expansion of digital media, and the ways in which we experience music. Beginning as a simple

weekly broadcast, it is today a multifaceted "brand" in contemporary popular music, existing simultaneously as a program available for streaming, a presence on Twitter and other social media, a major music festival, and a state-of-the-art performance venue. Laird explores the ways in which the show's evolution has driven, and been driven by, both that of Austin as the "Live Music Capital of the World," and of U.S. public media as a major player in the dissemination and sponsorship of music and culture.Engagingly written and packed with anecdotes and insights from everyone from the show's producers and production staff to the musicians themselves, Austin City Limits: A History gives us the best seat in the house for this illuminating look at a singular presence in American popular music. Timed to publish with the airing of Austin City Limits 2014 -- the 40th anniversary celebratory broadcast featuring an all-star lineup of musicians including the Foo Fighters, Willie Nelson, Sheryl Crow, and others -- here is a book for all fans of this beloved music institution.

Dana Middleton writes books for kids. Her debut, The Infinity Year of Avalon James, was nominated for the Young Hoosier Book Award and selected for Oregon’s Battle of the Books. She is also the author of Open If You Dare and The Young American’s Unofficial Guide to the Very British World of Harry Potter. Her next middle grade novel, Truth or Consequences, will be published by Chronicle Books in 2021. She lives in Los Angeles, but grew up in Dahlonega where much of the inspiration for her books came from her experiences on the family farm.

Are you an American who loves the Harry Potter books? But did you know you might be missing things?The Harry Potter series is about Harry’s magical world but it’s about his British one, too. This book will help you understand all the British history, geography, culture and slang that J.K. Rowling so expertly weaves into the Harry Potter stories. It offers a window into Harry’s British world, which is practically as rich and fascinating as his wizarding one.

Brian Panowich burst onto the crime fiction scene in 2015, winning awards and accolades from readers and critics alike for his smoldering debut, Bull Mountain. Now with Like Lions, he cements his place as one of the outstanding new voices in crime fiction.

Clayton Burroughs is a small-town Georgia sheriff, a new father, and, improbably, the heir apparent of Bull Mountain’s most notorious criminal family.  As he tries to juggle fatherhood, his job and his recovery from being shot in the confrontation that killed his two criminally-inclined brothers last year, he’s doing all he can just to survive. Yet after years of carefully toeing the line between his life in law enforcement and his family, he finally has to make a choice. When a rival organization makes a first foray into Burroughs territory, leaving a trail of bodies and a whiff of fear in its wake, Clayton is pulled back into the life he so desperately wants to leave behind. Revenge is a powerful force, and the vacuum left by his brothers’ deaths has left them all vulnerable. With his wife and child in danger, and the way of life in Bull Mountain under siege for everyone, Clayton will need to find a way to bury the bloody legacy of his past once and for all.

Anna Schachner was a nominee for Georgia Author of the Year for her first novel, You and Me and Someone Else. It was also an INDIES Book of the Year finalist. She has published short fiction and creative nonfiction in many journals and magazines, including Puerto del Sol, Ontario Review, and The Sun, and she writes about books and literary culture for publications such as The Guardian and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She is a frequent guest lecturer in Emory University’s creative writing program, speaks at writing conferences and book festivals all over the South, runs a series of writing workshops for veterans, and volunteers with Reforming Arts to teach writing in the Georgia prison system. Originally from Charlotte, North Carolina, she grew up in Augusta, Georgia, and now lives in Atlanta, where she is the editor of The Chattahoochee Review.

Frannie Lewis has a lot of bad history with men, starting with the first one she ever met. She’s watched her aloof father disappear in the summers to work with a traveling carnival, seen her mother grow ever more suspicious and resentful. All her life, Frannie has kept their secrets and told their stories. Now thirty-six, she remains a pawn in their longstanding marital chess game—and at this point, it has devolved into a grudge match. Even so, she longs to be a mother. Motherhood seems like a chance to reinvent what it means to be a family—to rectify her childhood, to start fresh. Still single, she isn’t sure if this will ever happen. When her father is diagnosed with cancer, she decides to have a baby on her own to encourage him to live and to please her mother, who still grieves over the baby she lost twenty-five years ago. But Frannie, who grew up with such a feckless father, wants her child to have a good one. She’s just met Jude, who’s lonely, earnest, and kind, but he comes with baggage of his own. He lost his son in a tragic accident, and his ex-wife Rita can’t let go of him. Waiting in the wings is Hugh, her oldest friend and long-time confidante. He’s the easy choice, but Frannie suspects that he and her family’s past are too precariously intertwined. As both her father’s secrets and Jude’s are dragged into the light, Frannie and Rita make a startling agreement. In the wake of it, Frannie must choose between two separate narratives. She can relive her parents’ story, which is sad but safe and known, or forge ahead and tell her own-even though she has no way to see the ending.

Rona Simmons’s latest book, Other Veterans of World War II, will be launched at the 2020 Dahlonega Literary Festival – the first time a book launch has been held at the event. 


Simmons’s first published works were novels, and primarily works of historical fiction set in the first half of the last century. “The sweep of events, from the First World War, to the Great Depression, to World War II, had a momentous impact on our lives,” she says, “and is a period we can still almost reach with our fingertips.” 


While she is not giving up fiction, Simmons said the call of history and the real lives of the men and women of the era were something she could not ignore. With so much already written about the war, however, she wanted to approach the topic from a new angle. In 2017 she co-authored and published Images from World War II, telling the story of the






War in the Pacific while celebrating the art of a local WWII veteran and artist Jack Smith. During that endeavor, she met other veterans whose stories had not been told and who were willing to talk. 


The result is her new book, The Other Veterans of World War II to be released by Kent State University Press in spring 2020. It’s a timely release as 2020 will mark the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II with observances scheduled around the world. 

For decades those who served in noncombat roles in World War II refrained from speaking of their experiences. If anyone had asked, they might have said they were just doing their job. Combat soldiers who told their own stories often mentioned those in the rear echelon derisively, referring to them as pencil pushers, grease monkeys, or cowards and believing they had shirked their duty. 


Convinced these views were far from the truth, the author searched for the real story from the noncombat veterans themselves. In The Other Veterans of World War II, she tells their stories as they report for service, complete their training. and ship out to stations thousands of miles and worlds away from home. She shares their dreams of combat, their disappointment on receiving a noncombat position, as well as their selflessness and yearning for home. 


Simmons’s interviews and extensive research reveal that the noncombat veterans had more in common with the front line soldiers than differences. Further, the book gives us a more complete picture of the war effort, bringing long overdue appreciation for the men and women whose everyday tasks, unexpected acts of sacrifice, and faith and humor contributed mightily to the outcome of the war.

With almost two million books in print in fifteen different languages, Karen White is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of 24 novels, including the popular Charleston-set Tradd Street mystery series. 


Karen’s newest novel, The Christmas Spirits on Tradd Street, is the highly anticipated sixth book in the Tradd Street series and. It will be published in October, 2019 by Berkley Publishing, a division of Penguin Random House Publishing Group. 


Her books—referred to as “grit lit” (Southern Women’s Fiction)—have been nominated for numerous national contests including the SIBA (Southeastern Booksellers Alliance) Fiction Book of the Year. 


Karen’s roots run deep in the South where many of her novels are set. Her intricate plot lines and compelling characters charm and captivate readers with just the right mix of family drama, mystery, intrigue and romance. 

She has also co-written three books with Beatriz Williams and Lauren Willig. The latest, Is All the Way We Say Goodbye. They also wrote The Glass Ocean: A Novel and The Forgotten Room. 

Raised in a house full of brothers, Karen’s love of books and strong female characters first began in the third grade when the local librarian issued her a library card and placed The Secret of the Old Clock, a Nancy Drew Mystery, in her hands. Not entirely convinced she wanted to be a writer, Karen first pursued a career in business and graduated cum laude with a BS in Management from Tulane University. Ten years later, in a weak moment, she wrote her first book. In the Shadow of the Moon was published in August, 2000. 


When not writing, Karen spends her time reading, singing, and avoiding cooking. Karen and her husband have two grown children and currently live near Atlanta, Georgia with two spoiled Havanese dogs.

The Christmas spirit is overtaking Tradd Street with a vengeance in this festive new novel in the New York Times bestselling series by Karen White.

Melanie Trenholm should be anticipating Christmas with nothing but joy—after all, it’s only the second Christmas she and her husband, Jack, will celebrate with their twin toddlers. But the ongoing excavation of the centuries-old cistern in the garden of her historic Tradd Street home has been a huge millstone, both financially and aesthetically. Local students are thrilled by the possibility of unearthing more Colonial-era artifacts at the cistern, but Melanie is concerned by the ghosts connected to it that have suddenly invaded her life and her house—and at least one of them is definitely not filled with holiday cheer....

And these relics aren’t the only precious artifacts for which people are searching. A past adversary is convinced there is a long-lost Revolutionary War treasure buried somewhere on the property Melanie inherited—untold riches rumored to have been brought over from France by the Marquis de Lafayette himself and intended to help the Colonial war effort. It’s a treasure literally fit for a king, and there have been whispers throughout history that many have already killed—and died—for it. And now someone will stop at nothing to possess it—even if it means destroying everything Melanie and Jack hold dear.

Beverly Willett is the author of Disassembly Required: A Memoir of Midlife Resurrection. She has written personal essays, op-eds, and service pieces for dozens of the nation’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The New York Post, Newsweek, The Guardian, Family Circle, The Huffington Post, Prevention, Woman’s Day, Salon, The Daily Beast, and many more. Appealing to a diverse audience, she’s written on a wide variety of topics—everything from friendship, divorce, and parenting, to homelessness, midlife and meditation, even her wild ride on a Harley on the back roads of Kentucky.


An accomplished speaker, in 2016, she gave a popular TEDx Talk entitled “How to Begin Again.” In 2017, she co-produced a documentary about homelessness. “Without A Roof.” 

Beverly Willett is a Southern Maryland native and a former New York City entertainment lawyer. She now lives in Savannah, Georgia where she serves on the boards of the Chatham-Savannah Authority for the Homeless, the Coalition for Divorce Reform (co-founder), the American Traditions Vocal Competition, and is president of the Flannery O’Connor Childhood Home. She is the former Chairman of the Board of NYC’s MCC Theater. She received her B.A. from Penn

State University and her J.D. from Catholic University, Columbus School of Law.


For more information, visit her website, www.beverlywillett.com.

After a small-town southern girl turned New Yorker watches her American Dream implode, she musters the courage to begin again—resurrecting the powerful woman her daughters had glimpsed during their family’s darkest times.

I scrolled to voicemail on my husband’s cell phone. Instantly I heard a woman’s voice I’d never heard before. 

“I love you. Call me at home,” the voice said. 

My hand trembled. I inhaled my tears and stuffed my wails inside so the children, one floor above, wouldn’t hear.  

“Want to come over here tomorrow and have a little time to be private instead of meeting at the office?” the voice continued. 

Fear exploded in my chest. I couldn’t swallow. I wanted to bolt the doors and keep my family in suspended animation, safe and rolled up in their covers until I could figure out what to do next…


A raw and riveting memoir, Disassembly Required invites readers along, moment by gut-wrenching moment, on one woman’s journey from betrayal and devastation to resilience and recovery. From learning of her husband’s affair, to family court, to life as a single mother, Beverly Willett perseveres in resisting injustice, the loss of her family unit, and the sale of the beautiful Brooklyn Brownstone her family had called home.

Willett knows selling her house will require taking inventory of her possessions; she does not realize it will require taking inventory of herself. But as she surrenders her hopes for a life that hasn’t turned out the way she imagined, the world opens back up. And Willett leaps toward it, embracing uncertainty.

Disassembly Required is a story of quiet struggle and persistence. Unflinchingly honest in its examination of the discomforts of change, it celebrates the opportunities for transformation.

Novelist Mark Warren has written a historical fiction trilogy entitled Wyatt Earp, An American Odyssey. The first two books, Adobe Moon and Born to the Badge, have received critical acclaim from top western historians. Born to the Badge was honored as a 2019 Spur Award Finalist. Promised Land, the final book in the Earp trilogy, is now available and was named Editor’s Choice by the Historical Novel Society. His newest novel, Indigo Heaven, will be released in 2020. He has also written a memoir and a four-volume series on nature/survival. He is a member of the Wild West History Association and Western Writers of America. Warren has written extensively for national and regional magazines.

Warren also teaches nature classes and survival skills of the Cherokees at his school, Medicine Bow. The National Wildlife Federation named him Georgia’s Conservation Educator of the Year. He was a U.S. National Champion in whitewater canoeing, and in

1999 he won the World Championship Longbow title.  A man of many talents, he is an accomplished music composer and arranger. His original work has been performed by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and he scored plays for the Academy Theater in Atlanta. 


Mark Warren is a graduate of the University of Georgia and a resident of Dahlonega.

Promised Land – Drawn to the silver boom in Tombstone, Arizona Territory, Wyatt and his brothers start anew with aspirations to strike it big in business. Fate seems to have other plans for Wyatt, as he reverts to the foot-soldier status of a hard-nosed enforcer of the law. Enemy lines are drawn between the Earps and the cow-boy rustlers, finally culminating in the famed gunfight near the O.K. Corral. When the Earps prevail in this face to face battle, the cow-boys resort to midnight back-shooting, killing one Earp and maiming another. When the courts cannot adjudicate over perjuring outlaws, Wyatt Earp takes the law into his own hands and dispenses a personal justice that will elevate his name into American legend.

© 2019 Dahlonega Literary Festival