*** This story was published July 20, 2008 in the Bristol Herald Courier.**
ABINGDON, Va. - Jim Counts didn't have plans for a second book.
He figured "Rusty Cars and Fallen Stars" was it. That's all he would write. No more.
Then, people started asking him about Coy Newhouser and all the other characters he created - like Lacy and Hazel.
Before long, Counts figured he had to get back to his keyboard.
"People's questions and comments prompted me to write a follow-up," he said. "The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to continue their stories. The characters were already in place, so I basically began 'Not As Man Sees' where the first book ended."
A retired schoolteacher, Counts has, in recent years, served as a high school tutor and a GED instructor. He and his wife, Rozanne, live in Abingdon.
"I have recently re-retired, and I hope to devote more time to writing," Counts said. "I have several manuscripts which are works-in-progress."
His new "Not As Man Sees" (Infinity Publishing, $14.95) reveals more about his first novel's main character ? the wise-cracking, salvage-yard owner Newhouser, Counts said.
"We look deeper inside him and at what makes him who he is," Counts said.
But wait - there's more.
"This book carries a spiritual message," Counts said. "Although it might seem like just the thing to say, I really did feel inspired to write these novels. The second book's title comes from the 1 Samuel 16."
Besides the Biblical overtones, Counts uses what he calls "local color and dialect" to make his work into Appalachian literature.
"[My books'] themes of love, acceptance and new beginnings are universal," Counts said. "I want to evoke both tears and laughter, and I hope to leave my readers feeling uplifted."
YOU SHOULD KNOW
What: Book signing by Jim Counts, author of "Not As Man Sees" and "Rusty Cars and Fallen Stars"
Where: Zazzy'z Bookstore, 380 E. Main St., Abingdon
When: July 26, 1-5 p.m.
Info: (276) 628-6423