Mark Grisham visits in Monette

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Mark Grisham signed copies of his new book "Bedlam South," on Sunday, May 31, at the newly renovated Buffalo Island Museum in Monette.

Mark Grisham was in Monette Sunday promoting his new book, "Bedlam South." (Town Crier photo/Nan Snider)

Grisham makes his home in Nesbit, Miss., where he manages Grisham's Equipment Company. He was accompanied by his wife Kellye and daughters Erica, 17, and Melissa, 13.

Grisham is the youngest brother of the world famous author John Grisham and is an excellent writer in his own right. His parents, John and Wanda Skidmore Grisham, lived in Black Oak when he was born, but they moved away when he was only one year old.

"I don't recall living here, but I have been told countless stories about it," he said. "I have looked forward to coming back here to visit, as I am always curious about my roots."

Many Buffalo Island residents visited the museum during the 1-3 p.m. open house to meet Grisham and tour the facility.

Monette Mayor Chub Qualls is a Black Oak native also and spent time talking to Grisham and passing along some historical information about their town and its people.

Grisham is an American History buff and has a natural interest in the Civil War era. Bedlam South is about ordinary people who fought and suffered and loved and lost during the Civil War. The novel begins and ends in an insane asylum outside Richmond, Vir.

Grisham and his co-author David Donaldson have managed to weave a rich tapestry colored with tales of tragedy, romance and redemption.

"I have a friend who is a psychiatrist, "Grisham said. "He constantly quizzed me about the Civil War. We got into long talks about the treatment of the insane during the war. We discovered the varied and interesting lives that the patients had lived before coming there. I became so interested in it that David and I decided to write a book about it. There are so many stories that come out of the Civil War period, especially the lives of the soldiers.

"I had a hard time getting started, as I found it very difficult to put my thoughts down on paper. I had not written since high school. David and I rotated scenes. He would write one, then I would write one. We tried to set a time line and fit the ages of the individuals with the time period.

"I call my style of writing as 'seat of my pants.' It is a slow process for me, and I have to make plans to find the time to do it. It is one of those things I don't have time for but can't resist doing. I plan to stay at it."

Grisham has two more books written but not published. One is called "Wicked River" and the other "Butcher's War."

"These are not good economic times to launch a writing career, but I am committed," he said.

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