After three years, five storyline changes, four reader critiques and sixteen edits, “Grayton Winds” is now on bookstore shelves, book retailer website pages and in reader’s hands.
A departure from my previous two books set in Northern Michigan, “Grayton Winds” moves to Paris in the years following WWI, to Atlanta, Georgia, New York City and a small beach village on the northern Gulf Coast of Florida in the Prohibition years of the 1920’s. Mathew Coulter is an aging writer resting one day in 1985, on the deck of his beach house in Grayton Beach, Florida, waiting for the celebration of his 85th birthday with family and friends gathered. An unexpected visitor sets off a chain of memories, causing Mathew to look back on a life of lost love, family betrayal and bitter compromises.
Mathew is the son of a ruthless family who controlled the liquor business in the South during Prohibition. When he turned 18, he followed his older brother, Jess, into the Army to fight in the War with Germany on the battlefields of France. He barely survives a horrific battle outside Verdun near the end of the War, and during his recovery in the American Hospital in Paris, he is haunted by his own cowardice in the face of the enemy guns. A young French nurse helps him to put the wounds to his body and mind behind him, but their doomed love affair will continue to preoccupy him for the rest of his life.
Returning to his home in Georgia, he finishes school and reluctantly works in the family business. During an evening when he is betrayed by both his father and brother, Jess, with a woman he had hoped to marry, he seeks refuge in a friend’s cottage in the remote village of Grayton Beach, Florida, There he meets a blind and gifted ten year-old girl who will change the course of his life
Melanee Dalton has been blind from birth and abandoned by her mother who is off in New
Orleans in a downward spiral of drinking, drugs and dangerous men. Melanee is living with her grandmother, Lila Dalton, who runs a small hotel at the beach. As Mathew tries to deal with his own demons, he finds himself drawn into the lives of Lila and Melanee, helping them to deal with the wayward mother. He also reluctantly befriends a dangerous gangster, hiding out in Grayton Beach from rivals and the law in the North. Willy Palumbo will bring Mathew to repeatedly face terrible life choices and compromises to protect his family’s interests, and to attempt to salvage the life of Melanee’s mother, Sara.
“Grayton Winds” was a marvelous journey and challenge, as all books are. It’s always so surprising to me to see the stories come together; to see the characters take life and grow before my eyes; to suddenly see a completed book in my hands and people holding it in their own and reading it. There is always the nagging doubt of whether anyone will actually like the story, and then those early reader comments begin to come, and a sense of great satisfaction and relief in knowing that you’ve been able to tell a story that people will enjoy and recommend to others.Surprisingly, it seems far easier to write and publish a story, than in reaching out to build an audience beyond family and friends; to actually break through and reach a broad audience. Just look at the shelves of any bookstore and the thousands of titles for readers to select from. How does a writer stand out and have their book find success among so much competition? It is a pursuit that is exhilarating and maddening and wonderful. It all starts with simply telling a good
I hope you will find “Grayton Winds” to be one of those “good stories”.