Book 1: Virgil Creech Takes a Swipe at Redemption
What happens when four boys accidently knock out an eccentric stranger and get the mistaken impression that they’ve blinded him? They rescue a mangy mutt from the dump and train it to be his seeing-eye dog, in the hope of absolving their guilt. Further complicating the effort is the fact that one of the boys lays claim to the dog as his own, which sets off a hilarious chain of events as the miscreant plots and schemes to steal the hound back from the old man.
The miscreant is none other than Virgil Creech, youngest of nine bickering brothers in Portsong’s most notorious family. Virgil enlists the help of his only friend, Henry Lee to retrieve the dog, now happily answering to the name Oscar. But the wary Henry begins his own quest for the truth about Oscar’s history. Guided by the dog’s new owner, the kindly Colonel Clarence Birdwhistle, Henry learns about more about life and friendship than he ever does about Oscar.
“My grandchildren just loved it and hope there will be more like it. The charm of rural America in a time they can’t relate to – Virgil came alive for them.”
“My daughter laughed out loud and quoted this book the whole time she read it.”
“This was a thoroughly delightful read. The characters are real and believable and I found myself absolutely drawn in. The author’s style was engaging and seemed from a time past. That is meant as a compliment. I wish more books were written this way!”
Even the idyllic little town of Portsong isn’t immune to the coming depression. What will our favorite family of eleven do when their chief bread-winner is left without a job? Enter the youngest son, Virgil Creech, who discovers an unlikely talent that may just keep the family afloat.
Meanwhile, half the world away, town grocer Harland Gentry discovers the truth of the ancient proverb, Pride goes before a fall. On the vacation of a lifetime, Harland decides to reinvent himself as a man of means, hoping to leave the small town behind. But he is not prepared for what he discovers on his unpredictable African adventure.
“Interesting characters – I think I knew some of them growing up.”
CIR: Tell us about Virgil Creech, the boy.
MYERS: Being the youngest of nine boys, Virgil started off at a disadvantage in relation to manners and gentility. Whatever he got came with a struggle. While some toddlers his age were learning to speak, Virgil learned the art of the sucker punch. He’s never been averse to rolling up his sleeves and balling a fist to get his way. Even at his tender age, his body is marked with several scars left by run-ins with his brothers. Because his hard-knock life inside the house carries over to his relationships outside, he has become a bit of a lonely youngster often described as bitter, selfish, and altogether unwanted. Poor Virgil has a lot of things working against him, but he has some prospects too. While he is stubborn, the flipside of that is that he is a tenacious lad. When he gets an idea in his head, he drives full-bore until he acquires his fancy or quite literally hits a wall. He’s hit his share of walls and has the black eyes to prove it. He rather likes having black eyes; in fact and considers them a badge of honor. He also has proven to be a good friend, although it doesn’t come naturally to him. But as Henry Lee can faithfully attest, Virgil has proven to be a friend who sticks close – sometimes when he’s not wanted.
CIR: Is he like anyone you know?
MYERS: I will forever deny that Virgil is anything like the author (my family is unavailable for comment on that point)
CIR: How did you go about writing Virgil Creech?
MYERS: The writing process was quite a meandering road for me. I started out with a concept of the Colonel being the main character with secrets. But as I went along, I liked him too much to make him anything other than a kindly, old gentleman. I also enjoyed Virgil’s mischievous antics and began to focus more on him, his struggles, and his relationship with Henry.
CIR: What themes do you address in this book?
MYERS: There are a few themes that I address. First, as the title relays, no one is beyond redemption – we are all one decision away from the right course. Second, friendship is vital to our happiness and well-being. Along that line, mentoring, both peer to peer and generation is very important. The final theme is pointed to youngsters – if you can’t figure a way out of a situation you find yourself in, asking a parent’s advice is the best thing to do.
CIR: Will Virgil be back for more?
MYERS: Yes, Virgil Creech Sings for his Supper should be in print in 2014.
Learn more about Mark Myers at his website.