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A Denney for Your Thoughts: Cold Night in August

By Connie Denney

Before retiring last year, Angie Georgeff worked for 11 years surrounded by books. Now, she is writing one! She has written newsletters, poems, short stories and, during those years as director of the Unicoi County Public Library, a newspaper column. This will be her first novel.

It is not the result, though, of a novel (as in new) idea. She knew for years she would write the book; it was a matter of timing. That time has come. But, first, a little background. Born in Johnson City, Angie spent her childhood in Carter and Sullivan counties. Mississippi was home during high school and college years.

After graduating from the University of Southern Mississippi, she married an Army officer. They lived in Hawaii, where son Andrew was born, and in Georgia, Ohio and Germany. After the death of Lt. Cmdr. Robert Georgeff in 1991, Angie went back to Pascagoula, Mississippi, to care for her mother. That stay involved evacuation before Hurricane Katrina and returning to its aftermath. After her mother’s death in 2005, Angie wanted to come home to Tennessee.

Interest in learning about family roots goes back to her maternal grandmother, Alpha Bradshaw, who loved antiques and talked to Angie about family, life in earlier times and took her to visit cemeteries. Later she learned to go beyond her grandmother’s stories with research and wanted to know everything she could find out. “It was persistent digging that led to the writing of this book.” Having done most of the research 20 years ago, Angie says it has marinated in her brain.

She did not want to write the story until nobody affected by its events was still living. “I also needed to stretch my imagination in order to fill in the blanks, and really to do more living — to have more experience,” she said. She is changing most characters’ names, but says a few family members on her paternal side might recognize the story.

Having started the writing project knowing how the story would begin snd end, she will stick to the facts to the extent she knows them. She writes sequentially but feels sure she will go back and add bits here and there, “embroidering,” she calls it.

As travel becomes easier, our author intends to revisit some of the places mentioned in the book, get

a better feel for some places closer to home, as well as visit the Florida Keys for the first time. “I think a sense of place is important to a good story.”

Some places mentioned are in Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Florida and Ohio, as well as Tennessee. The story starts in 1912 and ends in 1935. It plays out against the background of World War I and the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935.

As for the writing itself, “It has been a lifeline for me during the pandemic.”

She says she may write a paragraph or two some days, several pages on others, and some days, none at all. In no hurry, she requently spends hours doing research, which she calls fun. No publication date is set.

The book has a title: Cold Night in August. Intrigued?

I am. We will follow its progress.

Meanwhile, be safe. Stay safe.