published Sunday, February 17th, 2013

Signing of the seven: Celebration highlights local authors, Chattanooga

IF YOU GO

* What: A Celebration of Local Authors

* When: 2-4 p.m. Saturday

* Where: Barnes & Noble at Hamilton Place mall

* Admission: Free

* Information: 423-893-0186 or http://store-locator.barnesandnoble.com/store/2337

Writing a book, says Chattanoogan Michael Ringering, has been on his bucket list since the third grade.

"I knew I'd do it at some point in my life," he says.

Ringering, whose novel "Six Bits" was a finalist for fiction, general, in the 2012 USA Best Book Awards, sponsored by USA Book News, will be one of seven authors at the upcoming Celebration of Local Authors book signing at the Barnes & Noble in Hamilton Place.

The other authors are Janie Dempsey Watts, David B. Coe, (writing under the pen name D.B. Jackson); T.J. Carson; Gay Morgan Moore; Jim O'Rear; and Sonia Young, also known as The Purple Lady.

"The theme is not only celebrating local authors but celebrating Chattanooga in literature," says Kelly Flemings, community relations manager at the Hamilton Place Barnes & Noble.

Ringering says the concept for his book was developed from an assignment given to him as a college sophomore.

"The assignment," he says, "asked us to develop a plot and a couple of characters with the plot. A story came to my head, and I based it on a girl I met in college."

The girl is somewhat similar to the main character's wife in the novel, he says, "but what ended up being the book is not close to what I thought about at the time, but it was a start.

"Everybody's taking something different from it," Ringering says. However, a general theme is to be careful how you judge people until you know what they've been through, he says.

Watts, who grew up on the side of Missionary Ridge, says she mined the idea for her novel from her personal experience of returning home to handle her late father's estate and from an early and recent interest in Cherokee Indians.

In her novel, "Moon Over Taylor's Ridge," a woman and her son leave their husband and father in order to handle her late mother's estate. But, as problems arise and her son becomes fascinated with a Cherokee silver mine, her life begins to change in unexpected ways.

Now a resident of Ringgold, Ga., Watts set the novel around the actual Taylor's Ridge in North Georgia, which extends 40 miles through Chattooga, Walker, Whitfield and Catoosa counties.

While suggested by an incident in her life, the story is "not my real life," she says. "It's history and mystery."

"Moon Over Taylor's Ridge" has been nominated for Georgia Author of the Year for a first novel, and her book is a finalist for the Augusta (Ga.) Literary Festival. In addition, the book was just chosen as Catoosa County's selection for its 2013 One Book, One Community program.

Both authors say they are looking forward to talking and mingling with readers and their fellow writers.

"Local authors are not celebrated enough anyplace," Ringering says. "We get caught up in the [W.E.B.] Griffins and [James] Pattersons of the world, but people locally work just as hard. I can't wait to meet [the other authors]. It should be a lot of fun."

about Clint Cooper...

Clint Cooper is the faith editor and a staff writer for the Times Free Press Life section. He also has been an assistant sports editor and Metro staff writer for the newspaper. Prior to the merger between the Chattanooga Free Press and Chattanooga Times in 1999, he was sports news editor for the Chattanooga Free Press, where he was in charge of the day-to-day content of the section and the section’s design. Before becoming sports ...

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