The Autumn Affair of 2018 will feature author Jim Earl of Boerne as he discusses his new book.
A writer, musician, and builder of things, he was born James Albert Earl IV to Bettye Chilcote of Amarillo and fighter pilot James A. Earl III of San Antonio. Jim was raised in the usual Air Force brat fashion as a nomad living on the east coast, in the western desert, Florida, Germany, with his father periodically off on extended tours to such places as Korea and Thailand. He was actually born in Japan, though passes it off as east Texas (far east Texas). After high school in San Antonio, college at Texas A&M, and an active duty stint in the Army as an Infantry Lieutenant at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, Jim made his way to the little spot on the hill (some acreage his father picked out in 1965). Cobbling together a little cabin, he set out to experience Boerne, working at the old grocery on the north end of town (no longer there) digging graves in the cemetery (still there), driving a school bus, reading meters and serving as the City Building Official before starting up the band The Arbuckle Boys in the early 1990’s.
With the goal of portraying the historic music of the Trail Drive Era 1870-80’s, the group proved quite successful, performing regularly throughout Texas as well as Oklahoma and California: doing guest spots on radio, the theatre stage, at festivals, rodeos, fund raisers, parties, and state fairs. During their twelve-year run they recorded four albums and performed for such notables as President George W. Bush, Governor Rick Perry and First Lady “Lady Bird” Johnson among others.
In addition to performing, Jim has written over fifty songs, a march for band, a string quartet, numerous poems, several short stories, two novellas, two theatre plays, and five screenplays.
True Gray is his first novel which began life as his screenplay entitled Heart of Gray.
Set initially in 1850, True Gray tells the story of a young Columbia, South Carolina, plantation owner’s son Daniel, who at the age of ten, is assigned a body servant of the same age. Wash is tasked essentially with administering only to the needs of Daniel . Spending practically all their waking hours together: playing, fishing, swimming, trapping and so on, they become quite inseparable. By 1860, with war between North and South imminent, Daniel takes up arms as an officer in the newborn Confederacy and, accompanied by his steadfast body servant Wash, marches to the defense of home and family. What follows is best described as a tale of friendship, loyalty and mutual devotion.
There are numerous memoirs, contemporary news articles, diaries and pension records that show a significant number of African Americans supported the South in the war between the states. True Gray, through the medium of historical fiction, is Jim Earl’s attempt to bring a previously unexamined complex relationship of cultures and loyalty to life.