It’s rare to get snow along the Gulf Coast, especially in December. Yesterday’s 2 inch snowfall was the earliest ever recorded. Just a note: we had snow last year in mid-December, some during Easter 2007 (See the Easter Cold Snap in The Wayfaring Stranger) and previous to that it had last snowed on February 7, 1988. Click here to see a YouTube video of the snow (with soundtrack by the Bluerunners.)
One of the best part of book signings is making new friends and visiting with old ones. Mr. Sid Cole, age 85, is a friend I always enjoy seeing at Pitkin, Louisiana events. He is a wealth of information about the history of our area, especially the area where he grew up: Harmony/Green Oak Community near where the Calcasieu and Ouiska Chitto (aka Whiskey Chitto) Rivers meet in Allen Parish.
Mr. Sid is a veteran of both WWII and Korea. He’s an example of the rock solid folks who live in Piney Woods Louisiana and make this world a better place.
This is a recent review of A Good Place from the Lake Charles American Press.
Dry Creek inspiration for author’s latest novel
BY ELONA WESTON
DRY CREEK — To Curt Iles, there’s no better place to be than Dry Creek.
Iles has traveled the world, but no matter the miles, his heart never leaves the piney woods.
That’s where the 53-year-old author grew up and where eight generations of his family have lived.
It’s also where Iles draws most of his inspiration for his books.
“It’s a wonderful place to live,” he said.
Iles’ latest book, “A Good Place,” is fiction set in “No Man’s Land,” an area that included much of Southwest Louisiana during the 1800s.
“No Man’s Land” is a place of myths and legends. It was a rugged place that attracted people looking to escape and evade their rough pasts.
Iles’ 299-page book centers on a family who faces obstacles but manages to keep their ties strong.
The tale begins in 1862 with the family bracing for a hurricane. The story is told through the eyes by Mayo Moore, who is 12 when the story begins.
The book follows the family through both happy and sad times, through calm and storms, including the turmoil of the Civil War.
Throughout the book are scattered references to the area — from the family names of the characters to the names of roads and places — all will sound familiar to the Southwest Louisiana reader.
The names of the characters in the book are taken from Iles’ own family.
Iles researched area history for the book, and he has combined that history with his own imaginative tales.
“I love the freedom that comes with fiction,” he said.
Writing is Iles’ passion.
He began journaling at age 17 after his uncle, Bill Iles, who lives in Lake Charles, gave him an empty journal and encouraged him to pen his thoughts.
Iles, a former teacher, coach and administrator at East Beauregard High School and camp director at Dry Creek Baptist Camp, said his journals now number 49.
But Iles said it wasn’t until about 15 years ago that he started taking writing seriously.
Iles said he has always been a curious person and decided to put his curiosities on paper.
“My writing started just for the enjoyment of it,” he said.
Iles said he also writes to “glorify God.”
Over the years, Iles has written “The Wayfaring Stranger,” “The Mockingbird’s Song,” “Hearts Across the Water,” “Wind in the Pines,” “The Old House” and “Stories from the Creekbank.”
He has sold 20,000 copies of his previously published books.
Iles said with each book he has written, he has grown more comfortable and confident in his writing.
He said with each, he has learned a little more about himself and a lot about others.
Iles said he has noticed that he listens to people more. He said he watches people’s expressions and listens to their vernacular. He said it is those little observations make a story more believable.
“People are the most fascinating things in the world,” he said.
Iles dedicated his new book to his great-grandparents, Frank and Theodosia Iles.
“During the short decade that we shared life, ‘Pa’ and ‘Doten’ connected me to the beauty and wonder of Louisiana’s 19th century ‘No Man’s Land,’ ” Iles writes. “Pa was the grandson of Joe and Eliza Moore, the fictionalized heroes of this story. Doten’s family homesteaded the land I grew up on. They both gave me a precious legacy — one that I attempted to pass on in my writing.”
Iles said the book was written in several of his area “offices,” which include a nice, quiet spot in the Dry Creek woods, the Beauregard Parish Library, Books-AMillion in Lake Charles and in the lobby at the Best Western Richmond Suites in Lake Charles, just to name a few.
Iles said his next book, “A Spent Bullet,” will be on the Louisiana Maneuvers.
To read excerpts from “A Good Place” or to purchase the book, visit http://www.creekbank.net.