Last month, I was honored to receive First Place in the Novel Category for my latest manuscript, Arkansas Black, in the William Faulkner Literary Competition. Pictured, I am receiving my award (and check) from Lynn Madden of the Union County Heritage Museum in New Albany, Mississippi, birthplace of William Faulkner. It was quite something to receive this top award from several dozen entries worldwide. I shared the stage with many accomplished and budding authors who won other awards for short stories, poetry, and one-act plays.
Arkansas Black (Unpublished Manuscript)
Thirty-year-old Silas Fitch, vain and hardheaded, is rotten to the core. His identical twin, Jesse, is not. Their orchard faces bankruptcy in 1927 when frost and disease destroy the Arkansas apple crop. While Jesse readies to leave their ancestral land with his wife and son, Silas braces for a fight with anyone who tries to displace him, including his brother.
A family secret, blackmail, bootlegging, and death inflame and escalate a conflict between the twins. And like two trees planted in a single spot, reaching for the same sunlight, Jesse and Silas can neither continue to live together nor apart. One must fall to the axe.