By: Staff Reports | Gwinnett Citizen
Carole Townsend

(Not So) Common Sense
Yes, it takes a village to raise a book
By Carole Townsend

This past week was a big one for me. I don’t like to offer even the appearance of promoting myself or my “other” work in this column, but today, I’m making an exception. I hope you’ll bear with me.

Last Thursday marked the date of the official book launch party for my new book, Blood in the Soil. You may all know what it’s about by now but for those of you who don’t, the book takes a look at the back story, from the lead detective’s and the shooter’s perspective, of the 1978 Larry Flynt and Gene Reeves shooting. The story is fascinating, but really, that’s not my focus today. My focus is on this community in which we all live. The focus is on Gwinnett County and what makes her great – her people.

I’ll start by getting down on my knees (though I’m probably going to need help getting back up) and thanking the two women who are responsible for my even having the party (some accounts have already dubbed it “the social event of the year!”). Michelle Couch and Natalie Power, both dear friends of mine, came to me a couple of months ago to offer their considerable planning and organizational skills to a friend on whom they had great pity – me. I can write, and I can cook and garden and make a lovely home. I’m even a pretty good mom, but I couldn’t organize a grocery list, much less an event of this scale.  These two women, along with my husband, put together an event worthy of royalty, right here in Gwinnett. They made me look very good, much better than I would have on my own, believe me. Ladies, thank you.

Then my editor and publisher at the Gwinnett Citizen selflessly offered their own place of business for the venue. After many sleepless nights and visions of computers and workspaces being destroyed, I said that no, I couldn’t possibly take her up on that offer. Still, the generosity of the family that owns this newspaper is simply astounding, and they had a big part in making this event a success.

Then came the business owners, small business owners who wanted to take part in helping by sponsoring and even providing beautiful desserts. Art galleries and studios, restaurants, a private investigation firm, a funeral home, even a transmission shop and insurance agency…I am still awed by the generosity of the people in our community. Thank you.

Then came Gwinnett Commission Chairwoman Charlotte Nash, and mayors from many cities that surround Lawrenceville. A judge, several law enforcement officers, city council members and diehard fans of my books who have been with me from Day One of this exhilarating journey. I am honored.

The lead detective on the case, the gifted surgeon who is credited with saving Larry Flynt’s life, the late and honorable Gene Reeves, District Attorney Danny Porter and many of his staff, longtime friends who turned out to be relatives of one of the main characters - too many people to mention, really, helped me write this book. They talked with me, shared stories long forgotten, opened files and records, shared old photos yellowed with time (but what a story they told me). My workshop students turned out in numbers, volunteering to help make Thursday’s event run smoothly. I was moved by their cheerful willingness to help. I could go on and on, but I won’t. Not here, anyway.

What I want to communicate today is that we do indeed live in an extraordinary community. Gwinnett is made up of people who care about our neighbors. We care about our history. We give and we give. We celebrate success, even while making it happen. We reach out to the less fortunate, lifting up those families just as we do someone like me, who is celebrating the publication of a book that celebrates our unique hometown. 

Gwinnett cares about the arts, and for that I am truly grateful. Gwinnett and her cities celebrate art, whether it’s visual, musical, dramatic or written, and when a city or county or region celebrates art, she celebrates and honors her people with it. Yes, we are blessed to live in places where art is joyfully lifted to a level that all can enjoy. 

Warmer weather is here, and beautiful days beckon us outdoors to enjoy our towns. Next time you’re in your hometown square, take a look around. You’ll hear music, see plays and musicals, enjoy statues and sculptures. And every now and then, you’ll hear about the release of a new book, written by an author that lives right here among us. Make it a point to go and support those authors, too. There is an astounding well of talent here. Authors are plenty, and we too are blessed.

Yes, it takes a village to raise an artist, then to encourage that artist to reach inside and develop the skill and talent to produce art. It takes an artist to raise a sculpture, a play, a concert and yes, even a book.

Thank you, Gwinnett.

Carole Townsend is a Gwinnett author and freelance writer. Her fourth and newest book, BLOOD IN THE SOIL, was published April 12, 2016. It is the true tale of a crime that took place in Gwinnett County nearly 40 years ago. Her other three books are MAGNOLIAS, SWEET TEA & EXHAUST, RED LIPSTICK & CLEAN UNDERWEAR, and SOUTHERN FRIED WHITE TRASH. Carole often appears on net work television talk and news shows, as well as on many national radio shows about true crime. Her books can be found in book stores, on Amazon.com, and at www.caroletownsend.com. When she’s not writing, Carole travels throughout the southeast, talking to groups about women, children and the family.