Fiction, Romance, Historical, Fictional Biography
Mae Miller, suffering an aneurysm-induced coma, lies in a hospital bed. Clarence, her husband of fifty-four years, is at her side. For Mae, this is only one of many times she has had to battle death, beginning with the loss of her mother and infant brother to a tornado that tore their small tenant farmhouse apart. The tornado ripped seven-year-old Mae’s infant brother from her arms and ripped a hole in her heart. Years later, drought devastates the family farm and drives a wedge between a teenage Mae and her dad. Mae moves west to live with her grown sister.
Clarence, a sharecropper’s son, is driven to not be a hard, cruel man like his dad. Again and again, life throws obstacles his way that test his resolve. Clarence, faced with the choice of moving back to the hated family farm and his cruel father or finding work elsewhere, migrates west to work under the desert sun.
Mae and Clarence meet in the cotton fields of Arizona in 1938 and marry soon after. Together they raise a family while tackling life’s obstacles head-on.
“Kingfisher, Oklahoma, May 1944
Mae paced the living room floor. She had had a feeling of dread all morning and she could not shake it. She walked out onto the front porch and looked up at the sky. Far off to the west near the horizon, thunder heads were beginning to build.
Must be a storm coming up, she thought, that’s why I am so jumpy.
She had feared storms all her life. Having narrowly escaped the storm that led to the death of her little brother and indirectly her mother, Mae just knew that someday a bad storm would once again try to do what it had failed to do so many years ago. And she lived through each storm season day by day, fearing that day had come.
Mae took one last look at the far off clouds, decided that the storm would not be a real threat anytime soon, and went back into the house. She tried to sit on the couch and relax, but the feeling of impending doom would not ease up. After a few stressful minutes, she got up and decided to feed her goldfish. As she was bending over to get the fish food from the shelf below the fish bowl, a knock at the door scared Mae and she shrieked.
“I’m sorry Mrs. Miller,” the mailman said, looking through the screen door. “I didn’t mean to startle you. I have a letter here you need to sign for please.”
Mae set the fish food down next to the fish bowl and signed the mailman’s clipboard before taking the letter from him. She walked back into the living room and looked at the registered letter. There was no return address only an official looking government seal in the upper left hand corner of the envelope. She shook the contents down to one end then tore off the other end of the envelope. She pulled out the single page that was inside and began to read. Mae’s face froze, her jaw started to tremble, the letter dropped to the floor. Tears formed as she walked over to her goldfish. They both swam to the front of the fishbowl when they saw her approach. Her hand shook involuntarily as she sprinkled food on top of the water in the fishbowl, causing the eager fish to receive much more than she normally fed them….”
Connect with the Author:
Interview with Ronnie L. Richards:
When did you start to have a love for books?
When I was young (about 8 or 9), I started going with dad to work every Saturday morning. I’d help him with his electrical and plumbing work until noon. While he and his coworkers hung out for a while after work, I would walk down the alley to the library on the same block. I would check out as many books as they would allow then read them during the week, repeating the process every Saturday for several years.
What was that turning point that changed you from a reader to a writer?
My Senior year in college, I took a Creative Writing class and fell in love with writing.
Inspiration can often be found in the oddest people, places, and even situations. In the past, what has inspired you?
My grandmother’s death in 1993, the same time I was taking the Creative Writing class in college, got me to thinking about all of the stories I grew up with, as told my her and my grandpa. The memories fostered the idea of a book based on events in their lives. Other inspirations have come from everywhere – a newspaper article about a “John Doe” who was tragically ran over by a train when he laid down on the tracks in front of the oncoming train inspired a short story, my current book project was inspired by witnessing a childhood friend trying to survive an alcoholic, physically abusive dad. Life is full of writing triggers.
What about your favorite character or characters? Which characters from your books do you think readers will really feel a connection to?
The Miller brothers in my book Full Circle: A Life Story are two of my favorite characters and the most fun to write about. My readers seem to love them as well. I am planning another novel featuring them.
So far, what has been your greatest moment in your writing career?
Getting to tell my grandpa, two weeks before he passed away, I had completed the novel about him and granny. His pleasure in knowing it was done was so important to me.
What can readers expect from you next?
A very emotional book about a young man trying to survive his alcoholic and physically abusive dad during possibly the toughest summer of his young life. Readers will laugh, cry, and cringe.
I am also working on a murder mystery set in the late seventies in my small hometown. And, a follow novel about the Miller brothers from my first novel Full Circle: A Life Story.
Nobody knows your books better than you! In your opinion, readers of what genres will enjoy your books the most?
Fiction, Historical, Literary, Biographical, Romance
How would you describe your life in ten words or under?
Blessed to have had such a diverse past.
What is your favorite place to visit?
The mountains of Colorado. A place where peace, solitude, and rejuvenation can be found.
What words do you live by?
If it is worth doing; it is worth doing right.