Jim Counts of Abingdon, Va. has recently published a book about spiritual renewal and hope for those who see themselves as hopeless.
Rusty Cars and Fallen Stars (Infinity Publishing, $13.95), an Appalachian novel about new beginnings, is about a troubled teenage girl, her alcoholic father, a wise-cracking salvage yard owner who talks all the time, a mechanic who hardly talks at all, a social worker who tries to walk a fine line between her professional life and her emotions, a GED instructor, a widow who matches wits with the salvage man, and a teacher who tries to get everyone on the same page.
"My book, I feel, could have wide appeal, particularly in this region," Counts said. "Teenagers and young adults can identify with the temptations and difficulties which teenager Lacy Richman faces, while parents and other adults can relate to the struggles which her father, Gary, and other characters encounter."
A parallel story line involves Gary and his friend returning to school in a GED program. "I wanted to strike a balance between serious thought and humor -- the warp and the woof, I think -- of enjoyable writing," he said.
Counts is a retired teacher who has also worked as an encyclopedia salesman, a railroad signalman's helper, a story clerk, a census enumerator and a construction laborer. Since retiring in 2003, I have worked as a substitute teacher, a high school tutor with People Incorporated, and a GED instructor with the Mount Rogers Regional Adult Education Program.
He received a B.A. degree in history from Virginia Tech and an M.S. in Guidance from Radford University. A member of the Appalachian Authors Guild, he has written several stories, poems, songs and other novel manuscripts. His other interests include music, baseball and history.