Thunder and White Lightning Back Story

     For me, the hardest part of writing a new book is finding a subject that will interest both men and women and falls within my comfort zone of the 1920s-1940s.

     Initially I considered writing about the Georgia Gold Rush. That was about 100 years out of my usual time frame, but I liked the subject. So my husband Jim and I went to Dahlonega, Georgia. We went through the museum, took a tour of an old mine and panned for gold. It was all interesting, but it didn’t quite click.

On the way out of town we saw a sign for the “Georgia Moonshine Festival.” We looked at each other and said, “Moonshine!” That clicked.

     We went to the Dawsonville Distillery a hand-craft distillery and home to Bill Elliot's Moonshine. It is in the same building as the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame. We took a tour, bought books, talked to Gordon Pirkle owner of Dawsonville Pool Room and a walking history of moonshine and dirt-track racking. “Runnin’ Shine” was my working title.

     As it turned out, the book isn’t just about moonshine, it’s about the characters—real and imaginary—who coaxed a living out of Georgia red clay. They loved, laughed, survived WWII, raced on dirt tracks and eventually saw the birth of NASCAR. As one early reader said, “Thunder and White Lightning is the Downton Abbey of North Georgia.”

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