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Local Author Visits LSUS for Book Reading and Signing

October 26, 2016

The book-launch for Shreveport local Ashley Mace Havird's award-winning novel "Lightningstruck" took place last Wednesday during Common Hour. At the event, which was hosted by the English Club and English department, Havird talked about the themes of the book, read a few passages, and answered questions from students about the meaning of the story, the process of writing it, and information about publishing.

The novel is set in South Carolina in 1964 during the emerging turmoil of the Civil Rights Movement and tells the story of Etta McDaniel and her horse, Troy, who is struck by lightning and seems to gain supernatural powers. Etta is hunting for treasure, but what she finds isn't what she expected. The novel won the 2015 Ferrol Sams Award for Fiction, sponsored from Mercer University Press, for a work that deals with the human condition in a southern context.

She began writing "Lightningstruck" 15 years ago, so Havird finds much joy seeing her book published.

"Winning the Ferrol Sams Award for Fiction is what helped me to finally have the book published and I am so happy about that," Havird said. "It is a close and personal story for me. It is a memoir because I grew up on a tobacco farm and lived through the Civil Rights Movement."

In addition to "Lightningstruck," Havird has also published three books of poems.

"I started writing because I found I was not good at anything else," Havird said. "I love to write and have a strong passion for it. I like to think of it as a craft that I am skilled in, much like the crafts of pottery or painting."

She also serves as a creative writing adjunct faculty member at Centenary. She said that with the books she has now she is not able to support herself financially, but she likes writing as a hobby and takes her time developing material.

She encourages aspiring novelists to continue their work and not be disappointed when, at first, things do not go their way.

"Read as much as you can. Read different genres, but also read books similar to the ones you want to write because it helps develop a taste for what's in the market and what readers want," Havird said. "Also attend writing conferences and read things like The Writer's Digest, which can help you learn more about the path to writing. Lastly, tell people what you're doing, otherwise no one will know and can't help you."

She enjoys going to book readings and signings at various libraries and creative institutions, like Art Space. She also traveled to North Carolina for promotion of her book and got to see the devastation of Hurricane Matthew. Although a couple of sessions were cancelled, she was able to have a book reading that was combined with relief efforts for hurricane victims that she said was very rewarding.

For more information about the author, visit her website.

PHOTO: Ashley Mace Havird with her award-winning book, "Lightningstruck."

Louisiana State University Shreveport is a public university proudly serving the Shreveport-Bossier educational community with more than 20 undergraduate degree programs, a dozen master's degree programs (including the new online MBA), and a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Leadership Studies, as well as over 70 student organizations.  LSUS is a member of the LSU System, and provides a number of centers and institutes that serve as valuable economic development and educational resources to the community, as well as to our students. To find out more about LSUS, call 318-797-5000, or visit www.lsus.edu.