You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16

Friday, November 16, 2012

Interview of Author - Bert Goolsby

The winner of a copy of The Locusts of Padgett County is           Debby Johnson -- Congratulations!!!

Question 1
Are experiences in your novel based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Writers are told, “Write what you know.” (I recognize, however, it is difficult to write what you don’t know.) Much like any writer, I write what I know or have experienced; and what I don’t know, I try to make it something I do know by researching the matter.) I am blessed with a legal education and experience, a lot of it in the trial and appellate courts. Much of what I write about comes from these areas. As any lawyer will tell you, each case that lands on the lawyer’s desk is a story in itself─having setting, characters, conflict, and a resolution of some kind. I am also blessed with having grown up in the Deep South during interesting periods of American history, namely World War II (that’s “two” and not “eleven” as I understand one TV news reader put it) and the years immediately following it, years marked by their own upheavals─the Korean and Vietnam wars, the civil rights revolution, and a President’s assassination.

Question 2
Did you have to travel much concerning your book(s)? If so, what’s the most interesting place you traveled?
The only traveling I do is back in time; and if I am unfamiliar with a place or entertain an uncertainty about it, I travel there electronically via the internet. For example, for use in a novel I am presently writing, the working title of which is Beyond Millstone, I searched for a 1965 road map of Texas to fashion a route that my protagonist, a lawyer, might follow as he travels westward toward Abilene, Texas, to find a missing heiress.

Question 3
Which of your characters is most/least like you, and in what way(s)?
I suppose to some extent I resemble each of the lawyers I write about in my novels Harpers’ Joy (Grace Abraham 2005), The Trials of Lawyer Pratt(Publishing by Rebecca J. Vickery 2011), and The Locusts of Padgett County(Alondra Press 2012). In Lawyer Pratt, I include a number of “war stories” that grew out of my experiences as a trial lawyer and as an appellate judge. I guess the character Andrew Beauchamp, the criminal prosecutor-protagonist in Locusts, comes closest to being me and Candle Reid, the lawyer-protagonist in Harpers’ Joy, being the least like me. Both, however, make mistakes of judgment while wanting to do the right thing; but Candle can be lazy and is an alcoholic, separated from his wife and children.

Question 4
Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence your writing?
I do read the reviews. I just wish there were more of them. They serve to encourage me to write more, if they are good, and to try to write better, if they are not so good.

Question 5
What book are you reading now?
I just finished reading Empire of the Summer Moon (Simon & Schuster 2010), an account of the rise and fall of the Comanche Indians in Texas, and The Harbinger (Charisma House Group 2011), a story that explains how the judgments of Isaiah 9:10 are relevant today.

Question 6
What are your current projects?
As I mentioned above, I am writing a novel presently entitled Beyond Millstone, having just finished the first draft. The plot, revolving as it does around a lawyer’s search for a missing heiress, takes the reader on a journey to Texas and introduces the reader along the way to interesting, sometimes quirky characters, such as a pair of ventriloquists, whose dummies “Kuddles” and“Sprinkles” hate one another’s operator, and a tent revivalist, Brother Jimmy Holcomb, who convinces Kuddles to become an evangelist, ministering to children. My principal focus today, however, is on promoting my recently published novel, The Locusts of Padgett County (Alondra Press 2012).

Question 7
If you could have dinner with one of your characters, who would it be and why?
Of all my creations, I am most fond of Tweeve Huggins, the wife of Delaware Huggins, the narrator of Her Own Law (Xlibris 1998), my first novel, and the aunt of Skeets McLendon, the twelve-year-old narrator of Familiar Shadows (Publishing by Rebecca J. Vickery 2011). A female author friend once told me that Tweeve is her “role model.” Tweeve, a very determined, resourceful woman reminds me of my mother who, like Tweeve, though deprived of much in the way of formal education, took charge of everything and everyone around her. Tweeve, like my mom, views herself as gifted with having “walking around sense,” a gift that enables one, not only to meet any challenge, no matter what it is, but to prevail against it.

Question 8
Do you have any upcoming events?
I have a scheduled appearance before a senior-citizens group at the Redeemer Lutheran Church in Columbia to talk about my writing and to promote my books, particularly my latest novel, The Locusts of Padgett County. The latter is a historically based novel set in the Deep South when racial prejudice shaped much of its laws and the administration of justice. The inspiration for the story is the 1909 South Carolina Supreme Court appeal from Greenville County, State v. Johnson, 84 S.C. 45, 65 S.E. 1023 (1909). The case, as does my story, involves a black janitor prosecuted for assault with intent to ravish, a death-penalty offense at the time. The janitor touched a white woman on the shoulder as she practiced piano in a school auditorium.
I’ll be speaking on January 9, 2013, at the noon gathering of the Retired Officers Wives at the Officers Club at Fort Jackson, SC.  I’ll be talking about “You Have It Within You,” which will refer to what to write about and the sources of stories.

All of Bert’s books, both novels and short-story collections, are listed on and Most are available in both book and electronic formats such as Kindle and Nook. Smashwords offers three of his novels in electronic formats at
He can be reached at
For a review of his latest work, see:


Bert Goolsby is a former Chief Deputy Attorney General of South Carolina who once headed the Criminal Division of the Office of Attorney General and served as Acting Solicitor or as a special prosecutor in a number of judicial circuits throughout the State. He is also a retired Judge of the South Carolina Court of Appeals. He attended the University of Alabama but later transferred to The Citadel where he received his undergraduate degree. He received his law degree from the University of South Carolina and an advanced law degree from the University of Virginia. Raised in Dothan, Alabama, he now resides with his wife Prue in Columbia, South Carolina. They have one son, Philip Lane Goolsby, M.D., of Green Bay, Wisconsin.
(Bert wanted me to mention that I designed the book cover for his novel, The Trials of Lawyer Pratt.)
Please leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Bert's novel, The Locusts of Padgett County. Drawing will be Friday, November 23.  Please leave an email address, or if you are the announced winner, contact me a


  1. I'm so happy to hear that Bert Goolsby has another book out! He has such rich, colorful characters. My only complaint is his publishers haven't issued audio versions, with him as the reader!

    1. Bert Goolsby says ...
      Carla, thank you again for your kind comments. Coming from such a wonderful writer as you, they mean a lot. You and the other Inkplots have been a key to whatever success I've had as a writer. One other thing: since there are no audio versions of my works out there, how about if I telephoned you and read a few chapters to you? I'll try your land line - wouldn't want to use up the minutes on your cell.

  2. I agree Carla. The only thing better than reading a Bert Goolsby book is hearing him read it. Thanks for this great interview, Bert and Susan.

    1. Bert Goolsby says ...
      Thank you for your kind comments. Coming from a successful lawyer, playwright, and producer such as you, they are especially meaningful. You have helped me in so many ways. I could never repay you for your kindness and support of my work. You are a treasure, not only to me but to your church, your community, and your profession.

  3. No one captures the flavor of Southern dialogue like Bert. His characters jump off the page and keep the reader wanting to know more about them and the story they're telling. What a great interview, Susan!

    1. Bert Goolsby says ...
      You have always, always been one I could turn to for help with my writing. My books are clearly better than they otherwise would be because you took the time to read the manuscripts and offer suggestions on how they might be improved, a painful exercise I'm sure. Thank you (and your husband who also read them) for doing those things.