Through the mysterious and wondrous backwater bays of Alabama, the story of Sonny Brewer and his book, “The Widow and the Tree,” is spun and told to awe struck fans.

On Thursday, September 24, The Houston Cole Library held a book with the author himself.

His book was published in 2009, but the event was to recognize Brewer’s award from the Alabama Library Association. Brewer is an author from Fairhope, Ala.

He has been published for numerous fiction, nonfiction, children’s books and poetry.

He has been a writer since his time as a freshman at the University of Alabama. His English teacher commented on a story he had written, and he changed his major to creative writing.

“I honestly didn’t expect many people to come out here tonight. I don’t want to set myself up for high expectations. One signing I did, I walked into the bookstore and there was only one person there. But you know what, I still stayed and talked with them and signed their book. As a writer, you have to be willing to talk to whoever shows up. Even if it’s just one person, or even a hundred people,” said Brewer.

“Every encounter is meaningful and can not be dismissed.”

The event turned out well with community members, teachers and students in attendance.

Brewer talked about his time as a writer and how he started up his own bookstore, Over the Transom. Brewer then started on his book. He said it all started with a train ride to New York when he remembered the widow from the story.

He thought back on everything he knew about her and that tree, and began to write on the train. He read out excerpts of the introduction and about the widow herself. The book explains how she hired a man to kill a tree on her land and dives into the events that followed after.

The story was inspired by real events. Although the names of the people who lived them are not made known.

There was plenty of laughter during his talk, and a great response from JSU students. English professor, and board member of the friends of Houston Cole Library, Dr. Joanne Gates, was there after she suggested Brewer to the board.

“I attended because I had heard Sonny Brewer at the two occasions he came to ‘On The Brink’ conferences. I had read ‘Poet of Tolstoy Park,’ ‘Cormac’ and I am in the middle of ‘Widow and the Tree,’ said Gates.

“I had previously bought signed copies of his books and then purchased additional ones for him to sign for this occasion. Signed-by-author copies make great gifts,” she said.

Gates said that he is a very engaging writer. “Once we heard he was available and interested, discussions of competing writers were taken off the table to be discussed for later events,” Gates said.

Brewer is currently working on his next book, “One Somebody,” about a man named Charlie who is a little strange and a little different from the people in the town he just moved to.

Brewer said he will return to Jacksonville when he has completed it. “If you want to be a writer, you have to write. Don’t just talk about it, you have to do it,” Brewer said.

Brittany Robertson
Staff Reporter

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