Joe Samuel Starnes to discuss new book

Joe Samuel Starnes. Photo contributed.

Joe Samuel Starnes will be at GHC promoting his book “Fall Line” Thursday, Nov. 14, at 12:30 p.m.

Joe Samuel Starnes was born in Alabama and raised in Cedartown, where his parents, Eddie and Joanne Starnes, still live. He attended Cedartown High School and later went to the University of Georgia, where he graduated with an English major in 1989.

While at UGA, Starnes attended summer classes at GHC when it was formerly Floyd College.

His mother was part of the original group of faculty when the college opened in 1970. It was called Floyd Junior College at the time and later became Floyd College. She retired in 1998 after 28 years of teaching.

After graduating from UGA Starnes then worked at the Milledgeville newspaper, The Union-Reporter, where his interest in man-made lakes began.

In an unpublished essay about “Fall Line,” Starnes said that he was writing an article on earthquakes in Georgia for The Union-Reporter. He did some investigating and discovered the recent shaking wasn’t caused by earthquakes, but people cat-fishing with dynamite. He kept digging and learned that Georgia does experience earthquakes.

This set the foundation for “Fall Line,” named after the geologic border that runs right through the middle of Georgia where the ocean came to millions of years ago.

In the novel “Fall Line,” Starnes discusses the effects damming a river would have on the politics, people and culture.

The book jacket describes “Fall Line” as follows:

“Fall Line unfolds in one day’s action, as viewed through the eyes of Elmer Blizzard, a troubled ex-deputy; Mrs. McNulty, a lonely widow who refuses to leave her doomed shack by the river; her loyal, aging dog, Percy; and a rapacious politician, State Senator Aubrey Terrell, for whom the new lake is named. A story of land grabs, wounded families, bitterness, hypocrisy, violence, and revenge in the changing South, ‘Fall Line’ is populated by complex characters who want to do the right thing but don’t know how.”

“But I didn’t intend to write a political novel decrying the destruction of the environment, and I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t admit to having enjoyed many days on man-made lakes. In fact, a lake I fish regularly in the Poconos is man-made, built in the 1960s when a creek was dammed. The man-made lakes are beautiful, and should be enjoyed,” Starnes said in his essay.

In an interview with Starnes stated, “I was really interested in how a lot of rivers were dammed and the effect it had on the people and culture.”

“The novel is an exploration, a search for answers. I don’t have all the answers. Above all, I wanted to tell a good story.”

As a child, his parents always read books to him. “They got me started. And I’ve always loved reading books.”

Starnes said that he always wanted to a write a novel, but never truly started until he was 30. He was 38 when his first book “Calling” was published in 2005.

Starnes said that he is very excited to come back to GHC. “I remember running around the lake and playing tennis on the courts. It’s a meaningful visit because my mother taught there.”

Starnes will discuss his new book in the Three Rivers Classroom located in the library. Light refreshments will be provided and attendees are welcome to bring their own lunch.

Extra credit is being offered by some teachers.

The event is sponsored by Student Life, GHC Library and the humanities division. It is open to the students, GHC employees and the general public.

Starnes now lives in New Jersey. He commutes to Widener College in Chester, Pa., just south of Philadelphia to edit the alumni magazine. He also occasionaly teaches at other colleges

He said that he has currently been working on a crime novel about a sheriff from Georgia who ends up in New Jersey.

His newest book “Fall Line” was published in 2011. It has received a rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com and 4 out of 5 stars on BarnesandNoble.com.