Blackmon’s first novel, Southern Roots won’t be in bookstores until March 31. However, you can get an advanced copy of his debut novel March 20 at the Northwest Georgia Valley Writers Conference at the Harris Arts Center.
“I’m a good listener, always have been. I grew up sitting at the knees of some of the finest storytellers the South has ever known, and I listened… close,” Blackmon says. “Those old men would tell about bear hunting, fishing, running from the law, and fighting, among other things. How animated they were depended on how much whiskey they’d drunk that night. Sometimes they’d buck-dance and sing. Other times they’d sit somber, staring at a fire, discussing religion or politics. I recorded it all in my mind. Heck, I could tell those stories as well as or better than they could by the time I was a teenager. It took a long time before I decided to write it all down.”
The son of mill workers and outdoor enthusiasts, Jimmy Blackmon grew up with a love of horseback riding, fishing, hunting, and trapping. He dreamed of moving west and being a cowboy until an Army recruiter entered his life in 1986. Blackmon decided on an Army career while still in high school. In the summer of 1986, he shipped off to Fort Jackson, South Carolina for basic training, where he spent five years in the U.S. Army Reserves while attending North Georgia College, a military school in Dahlonega, Georgia. He would go on to become Commander of the North Georgia Corps of Cadets from 1990 – 1991, earn a degree in history, and win the Douglas MacArthur award for leadership his senior year at North Georgia.
In 1991, Blackmon was commissioned a second lieutenant of aviation and reported to Fort Rucker, Alabama for flight school, where he would become a helicopter pilot. After completing flight school, Ranger school, and the Officer Basic Course, Blackmon and his wife, Lisa, began a life in the military which would take them all over the U.S. and Europe. Blackmon has served operational deployments in Bosnia, two tours in Iraq and a tour in Afghanistan. He holds a masters degree from Old Dominion University. Blackmon, Lisa, and their four children, currently live in Clarksville, Tennessee, where Blackmon serves in the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault).
Throughout 24 years of military service, Blackmon fondly reflected on his childhood experiences in rural Georgia. In the mid-90s he began writing about his experiences growing up in Gordon County and sharing them with family members who urged him to publish them. The result is Southern Roots.
Meet (or become reacquainted with) Jimmy Blackmon and other authors from around Georgia March 20 at the Northwest Georgia Valley Writers Conference at the Harris Arts Center, 212 South Wall Street in Downtown Calhoun. There are three ways to attend the conference. The entire day’s events begin at 8:00 a.m., cost $30, and include 90-minute workshops with Rosemary Daniell and Terry Kay, choice of 2 of 4 other workshops, two panel discussions, and two author meet ’n’ greet and book signings. Reader’s Choice admission is $5 and includes the final panel discussion (on “the Writer’s Life”) and admission to the author meet ’n’ greets and book signings. There is no charge for admission to only the author meet ’n’ greets and book signings from 8:00 – 8:45 a.m. and 5:45 – 6:45 p.m. (Note Terry Kay will only be signing books at the morning book signing.) Pre-registration for the conference is strongly recommended. Stop by the Harris Arts Center, phone 706-629-2599 or download at www.harrisartscenter.com.