A former dean of academic affairs at Hopkinsville Community College has penned two new literary fiction novels.
Lawrence Weill's fourth book, "The Path of Rainwater," was released Thursday by Adelaide Books.
The book shares the story of Rainwater, an aging drifter.
"He's a flawed character. He has his foibles. He's running from some guilt and some family issues," Weill said.
According to the book description, "his travels since have been like that of nature's rainwater: always seeking the easiest course, always moving downward under the power of fateful gravity. Now he spends his days looking for a place to sleep, a meal to eat and a reason to go on."
"As he's traveling, he's meeting a lot of different people," Weill said. "Each chapter takes place in a different location and as a new set of characters that he deals with -- different people that he interacts with. The road can be a tough place to live. Sometimes it's cruel and sometimes it's very kind. It's a mix of things. It's about his progression and the decisions he has to make, but it's also about the people he meets along the way.
"A man is not the subtotal of his past so he can choose a different ending," Weill said. "That's what the book is about."
"The Path of Rainwater" is a labor of love for Weill, who started the novel more than 40 years ago and finished last year.
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"I picked up a fellow hitchhiking. It was an older man who started telling me stories about his life on the road. Being a writer, I was absolutely intrigued," Weill said. "Even though I really couldn't afford to, I bought him breakfast at some diner on the road and picked his brain for about an hour and 20 minutes. I started writing some of the ideas down then. It didn't really reach fruition until some years later."
"Rainwater" is set in part in Kentucky's Lyon and Christian counties.
"At least a couple of the chapters take place in Lyon County. Another chapter takes place in an unnamed location in Kentucky, but what I based it on was a location in Christian County, an old farmhouse," Weill said. "Any writer will tell you, you write what you know. I love to use setting as an integral part, not just as a backdrop. It becomes almost another character as you are reading it."
Weill's fifth novel, "Silas LaMontaie," also includes regional locations as part of the setting. It will be released in November by Black Rose Writing.
The book follows its main character, Silas, from the time he's age 6 until he's in his 30s, the author said.
According to the plot summary, "the LaMontaies of southern Louisiana are on the run after Silas' father is implicated in the burning of the local sugar mill, first to upstate Louisiana then to the river bottoms of far western Kentucky. Much of the novel is set Between The Rivers near Sardis Church."
"I did a whole lot of Between the Rivers work on that one," Weill said. "I had a lot of fun with that one. Interviewed a lot of people who had lived there, found maps of the old area. It was a lot of fun to put that one together."
Weill said Silas meets his muse Jessie Mae at Between the Rivers.
"He is dumbstruck, so he turns to the gift his father gives him, which is music," Weill said. "There's a lot about music in the book. There's a bit of romance in the book, but it's also a coming-of-age (novel)."
When the LaMontaie family has to leave Between the Rivers, they end up in tiny Tolu, Kentucky, along the Ohio River in Crittenden County.
"I chose it because it was small," he said. "It was a place (where) someone could hide in plain sight."
Weill also wrote the lyrics for four songs that are included in the book. Professional musician Travis Tench put the words to music.
The songs are a mix of Country, Cajun, Blues and Bluegrass music, Weill said.
"Because he's moved around a lot, (Silas) has a lot of different influences on his music," Weill said. "It was fun to hear it come to life with a musician putting them to music."
The songs are available to listen to on his website, lawrenceweill.com.
Weill, who lives in Lyon County, said he enjoys visiting and talking with members of book clubs in the region and hopes local groups will invite him to join them for a discussion of one of his new releases.
"When you go to a book club, people know your characters, they know your plot and they can ask you questions," he said. "What I like to do is get feedback from them first. Then, let them ask me questions about the details."
Both "The Path of Rainwater" and "Silas LaMontaie" will be available for digital download on Amazon and other online book sites, as well as in hardback copies at area bookstores. Weill will be signing copies of his novels from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Oct. 5 at Books on Main, 200 E. Ninth St., Hopkinsville.
"Writing is funny," Weill said. "You create characters, then you follow them around and write down what they say and do. If you like the characters, that's not really laborious ... but the writing is hard work."
Reach Michele Vowell at 887-3242 or email@example.com.