Recently, two locals and I communicated about the books they recently published. One, Jim DuFrense is a veteran writer of travel books; the other Ann Margaret Johns is a newbie to the publishing world. Jim likes to hike and be out on the trails, this love has led him to publish 20 books. Ann’s journey wasn’t so much fun, however it has led her to join the Lowly Scribe’s Club.
It’s good to hear from you again, Jim!
Now, let’s plug your books!
* * *
“Clarkston’s Curse: one child’s quest to make sense of the tragedies in her home town,” is a work of love based on Ann’s recollections of local tragedies — tragic deaths which when they were freshly wrote about in the “local paper” (yup, the ever-lovin’ Clarkston News) would give her nightmares.
“My daughters didn’t believe me when I told them about some of the stories from town when I was growing up. I told them there were so many stories I could write a book. And, I did.”
According the book’s back jacket, “ . . . this sleepy little town has a dark side. Between 1969 and 1982, more than 40 unexplained accidents and incomprehensible murde4s struck residents of this rural community.”
Every weekend for four years, Ann would go to the Clarkston Independence District Library and spend about five hours researching the stories she remembered. She poured over Microfilm versions of The Clarkston News to verify her facts.
(I just did some quick math, 52 weeks times four years equals 208 weeks times five hours equals 1,040 hours of research. Yikes.)
Her style is kinda’ fresh in its first hand accounting of life in the Clarkston area — how her parents, grandparents, her brother Patrick and friends all lived and played. From Walters Lake where her grand-parents lived, to the little farm her folks built on Allen Road, clear on the other side of Independence Township.
Ann is a year older than yours truly, she graduating from Clarkston High School in 1980, and I being bounced out CHS’ doors in 1981. Many of the stories she writes about I, too, remember. (But apparently, since I was just a testosteroned juiced boy, things which happened around me that did not directly involve me, I didn’t dwell on long. I think I was still in the “the World revolves around Don” school of thought.
What was really shocking is the list of headlines in the back of her book — almost five full pages of boy dies, girl drowns, crashes, fires, falls, kidnapping and murder. Wow, we did report on a lot of death.
Ann’s book is for sale at Essence on Main, and she is having a signing party at The Gateway on Dec. 9, from 4-7 p.m. If you cannot wait til then to get your hands on a copy of her book hop on the internet and check out her website, www.AnnMargaretJohns.com/clarkstons-curse. It’s an easy read at just over 200 pages.
* * *
I have written about big Jim DuFrense before and I like his hiking books. The latest release is a 176-page exploration of the Upper Peninsula’s Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.
This is actually the 4th edition of the book, but this newer, updated version is pretty sweet because the pictures and maps are in full color. I was geeked.
Jim packed the book with trial information, and attractions for all seasons, hiking, biking, skiing and snow-showing. If you dig getting out and in the wilds, check out www.MichiganTrailMaps.com. Click on the Books and Guides link for this and other books Jim has written.
* * *
These books will make good stocking stuffers this Christmas! And, before I sign off, thanks for sharing guys . . . and when I write my book, I will be sure to get you complimentary copies!