Last year I told you about the diversity of Kentucky and its attractions. Now I'd like to share what this state means to me. I was born on my grandparents western Kentucky farm (in the Jackson Purchase region) in the post-depression years before World War II. My daddy, a school teacher, was paid only for months taught which left us returning to the farm each summer. To have year around work, Daddy finally took a job asinsurance salesman in Paducah, largest city in the Purchase located at the confluence of the Ohio and Tennessee Rivers. (population 25,000 which temporarily doubled during WWII influx of atomic plant workers.)
Following the war, we moved to Southeast Missouri but when I graduated high school, I returned to Paducah to work with the intention of saving money for college. However, love intervened when I met and married a Paducah boy and soon we left Kentucky to follow his jobs with the Tennessee Valley Authority. Four times, we returned to Kentucky until our retirement (I had graduated Murray State College and become a teacher). Then we ventured out of the Tennessee Valley all over the US and England as my husband worked for private power plants, always returning to Kentucky and Paducah, also known as River City by locals.
Now we winter in Florida but call Paducah home. Many of the downtown stores have moved to the Kentucky Oaks Mall out by I-24. The downtown Irvin Cobb Hotel is an apartment building now and many new motels have replaced it out by the mall. The riverfront looks much the same except for the murals painted on the flood wall built after the disastrous 1937 flood. And the steamboats of two major cruise lines dock here several times each season. I launched a Books for Boats program with three local authors to offer our books at each docking. And the highlight of the season was presenting a program on one steamboat about my Civil War novel.
After becoming a blight on the city, the downtown is thriving again and includes interesting shops, a variety of restaurants, horse-drawn carriage rides, museums, and more. Several city blocks known as Lower Town, have been designated an Arts District which attracts many artisans to locate here. Perhaps the best known feature of our city is the National Quilt Museum that now attracts 40,000 visitors during the annual Quilters' Week. Most gratifying to me was restoration of Whitehaven, the antebellum home built for a former mayor, now operated by DOT as a KY Welcome Center. One of my first books (still available) was set in the mansion.
It seems fitting that the birthplace of both Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis was neutral in the Civil War. Since slaves comprised almost twenty percent of the state's population in 1860, it was the epitome of "brother against brother." This border state's significance was expressed by Lincoln's words: "I hope to have God on my side but I must have Kentucky." Just as I keep returning to Kentucky, I keep writing about the Civil War.
I will be giving a print copy of Seasons of the Heart, a new collection of three Civil War novellas. The winner will be drawn from names of those who leave comments. http://amzn.com/B0189BJCLE
You can also download a free copy of the first story, A Season for Miracles, at this link: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/547797
Please visit me at my website here: http://www.lindaswift.net/
You may see all of my books at this link: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Books+by+Linda+Swift
(all info provided by author)
(all info provided by author)