As I get ready to appear at the Decatur Book Festival over Labor Day weekend (3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 5, at Decatur Presbyterian Church), I was thinking back to perhaps the best moment in the roll-out of "The Class of '65." Here's the video of me introducing my main character, Greg Wittkamper, at last month's Lewisburg Literary Festival in West Virginia, near where he lives. See him dabbing his eyes near the end? Those are tears. There were many reasons I wrote this book; telling this man's story of moral and physical courage was right at the top. If we don't sell another book, this made it all worthwhile. Thanks to Greg's brother-in-law, Gary Godwin, for capturing this moment. (P.S. -- We do want to sell more books! That's why I have a dozen more talks lined up in the coming weeks.)
It’s good to see that Greg Wittkamper is finally getting some attention close to home. Greg, the main character in “The Class of ’65,” has spoken at two recent book gatherings near his nest in Sinks Grove, West Virginia. One was a party thrown on his behalf at Salt Sulphur Springs, a historic resort near the Virginia border, and the other was a book club in Lewisburg, a charming town near the famous Greenbrier Resort. (That’s Greg with some of the book club members.) There was a lively discussion about Greg’s plight as a persecuted teenager in Georgia, with one woman suggesting that he would have been better off if he had fought back against the classmates who were bullying him at Americus High for his religious and racial beliefs. Greg respectfully disagreed. As the author of the book, I’m with Greg on this one; it would have been a very different story if he had taken a swing at his tormentors -- less Gandhi than Rocky. The local attention will continue next weekend when Greg and I speak at the Lewisburg Literary Festival in an arts center called Carnegie Hall.