Local Authors, Intriguing Books

By Angela Bristow

Three local authors have recently published books on subjects as varied as Bucks County, Washington’s slave William Lee, and the healing power of friendship.

The book: Bucks County Pennsylvania, ISBN 978-0-7643-4025-3, Schiffer Publishing Ltd.

The author: Kathryn Finegan Clark

The sellers: Independent and online booksellers or schifferbooks.com

The story: Having lived in both the lower and upper sections of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Clark worked for three different newspapers. Over the years, she would “bump into interesting things that people didn’t know about when working on an article. There are a lot of misconceptions at both ends about the people. I thought if I wrote this book it would draw people together and they would see what a wonderful place it is. I try to link the past and the present in a way that I don’t think has been done before,” said Clark.

The 128-page book is comprised of story essays mixing history and storytelling along with some of the author’s personal notes on certain subjects. “I took all except two of the photos,” Clark said. Clark will be doing a book signing at the Moravian Book Shop in Bethlehem on November 17, 2012,
from 1-3 p.m.

About the author: As a freelance writer, Clark wrote the Because You Live Here series for Lehigh Valley Marketplace for several years and continues to write for the publication periodically. In addition, she writes for some websites and is a regular contributor to the Bucks County Herald.

Clark’s love of writing began at the age of 12 when she submitted a little article to a teenage column in the Evening Bulletin, Philadelphia. Clark said, “I always wanted to be a writer. I really got into writing as a freshman in college.”

Clark lives with her husband, Jack, in the woods of Durham Township along with their dog, Willie, and their two black cats, Samson and Delilah. They have a son, daughter, and one grandson.

The book: Colonel Washington and Me, ISBN 978-0-9852819-0-8, Self-published

The author: Jeff E. Finegan Sr.

The sellers: www.colonelwashingtonandme.com, Mt. Vernon, Colonial Williamsburg, and some independent booksellers

The story: The 32-page book is geared toward ages 10 to 12. “I’ve had people into their 80s enjoy the story. I’ve been referring to it as age 10 to adult,” said Finegan. The manuscripts and letters that he and his wife have collected over the past 20 years provided the inspiration for this book of historic fiction. The story is about the friendship between George Washington and his slave William Lee. Although William Lee could read and write, he didn’t leave any self-penned works behind.

The book contains images of the documents as well as about 13 or 14 illustrations done by Preston Keith Hindmarch. Much of the art highlights historic architecture.

“I thought it would be interesting for a young reader to see how a relationship in less than perfect circumstances could develop. It’s also about the Revolutionary War, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the formation of the new government, of which the slave that tells the story is exposed through his close association with George Washington,” said Finegan.

“I had to be very careful with the topic of slavery and be sure it kept a balance. I used a children’s book editor for the text and then I used the research historian, Mary Thompson, at Mt. Vernon to edit the book for historic accuracy,” he added.

Finegan said he wanted to take William out of the footnotes, and that this is really the only book that exclusively tells his story. The book ends with the factual account of how Washington’s will set William free.

About the author: Finegan is a Funeral Director in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. He lives in Finesville, New Jersey, with his wife, Kimberly, and their two sons.

The book: Stranger Here Below, ISBN 978-1-60953-074-7, Unbridled Books

The author: Joyce Hinnefeld, PhD

The sellers: Local and online booksellers

The story: Inspired by a trip she made with her husband to Kentucky in 1995 to see Berea College and the Shaker site Pleasant Hill, the story is about three women from different generations – Amazing Grace Jansen, Mary Elizabeth Cox, and Georginea Ward. Each is shaped and, in some instances, scarred by their different backgrounds, but are drawn together in a friendship that becomes something like a family.

About the author: Joyce Hinnefeld is the Associate Professor of English and the Cohen Chair in English and Literature at Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. She is the author of a short story collection, Tell Me Everything and Other Stories (University Press of New England, 1998), which was awarded the 1997 Breadloaf Writer’s Conference Bakeless Prize in Fiction in 1997. Her first novel, In Hovering Flight, was a #1 Indie Next Pick.

“I wrote as a kid, but I wasn’t one of those kids that knew at age five or six that I wanted to be a writer. I took a writing course in college, and I think that’s when I started thinking seriously about writing. It took me several years until I really owned that and started calling myself a writer,” said Hinnefeld.

She lives in Bethlehem with her husband, Jim, her daughter, and their two cats and a dog.

Hinnefeld is in the process of writing her next novel about a woman who is living a double life as a scholar of religion and a romance writer.

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