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Superb New Novel

Superb New Novel

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Kenly News and Pine Level News • 201 W. Second St. • P.O. Box 39 • Kenly, N.C. 27542 • Tel: 919-284-2295 • Fax: 919-284-6397 Middlesex man publishes first book
By Cami Jo Narron, News Editor 05.AUG.09Middlesex resident and author, L.M. (Larry) O'Neal, 51, discovered writing about four years ago and this year he got to see his efforts come to fruition with the publishing of his first book, "See You at the Station.”

The first book in a series, "See You at the Station,” tells of a widowed newspaper publisher about to retire and the reporter who bought the publisher's paper and moves his wife and daughter to their new town away from the big city.

O'Neal weaves and intermingles the character's relationships to the others in town, from those most respected in society to those who are scorned and the reader is drawn into the secrets and life choices that they all make.

There are those in the book that are drawn to evil and those that have gifts from God. A little boy named Timmy, born into a bad family and often locked in a dark dirt cellar, desperately longs for a friend. There is only one person, an elderly neighbor that has ever been kind to him, and he is killed the night the reporter's family moves to town. Timmy's left with the darkness for comfort.

O'Neal graphically displays the war between evil and good for men's souls in the thoughts and actions of each character as they come into view of the reader.

O'Neal said his story began as a short fishing story as an outlet after the death of his older brother four years ago.

"I've written for over 25 years but I would never allow anyone to read it,” said O'Neal, a truck driver for CQS in Clayton. "I let another brother read my fishing story and he told me that it was good but it sounded like something he had read in Reader's Digest. I re-wrote it and he read it again and he still said it read like he'd read it somewhere else. That initiated my desire and I told him that the next time he saw it, it would not look like a story in Reader's Digest.”

So, from a short fishing story and close to three years of seeing his story "grow legs and arms” so that "it wouldn't let me go as characters developed and became connected,” the book grew to 84,000 words.

O'Neal said he draws on his life observances of people and their relationships as they deal with issues and he recommends that readers should be at least 15 years old. He also said he doesn't use profanity in his writing due to the wide range of ages that would read this book.

O'Neal, a son of sharecroppers, grew up on Covered Bridge Road in Clayton and later lived in the Cattail Pond area of Highway 96. He graduated Clayton High School in 1976. As a high school football player in his junior year he recalls the Narron boys and their teammates from rival North Johnston.

"I learned a great amount of respect for the boys on their end of the county,” said O'Neal with a smile. "I remember seeing only helmets and cleats because they hit you so hard.”

O'Neal held his first book signing at the Corner Grill in Zebulon in June.
"It was a success,” said O'Neal. "I had many people tell me I'd better get the second book finished soon.”

He is working on getting a book signing in the Kenly area, possibly at one of the truckstops off I-95. He also is a public speaker, giving discussions on being a late-bloomer.

"I've been in the military, was a car salesman, insurance salesman, street sweeper and have driven a truck to pay the bills,” said O'Neal. "I wondered one day if I was just going through life doing what I have to do and I started paying attention to what I liked and didn't like. I liked writing and bowling.
You can tell what you like if you get lost in it and forget to take time to eat. My brother motivated me by telling me over and over my writing could be better and I began to take the time to do what I liked to do.”

O'Neal's book is published by Tate Publishing. A book preview is on his website AT TATE PUBLISHING .COM AND ONLINE RETAILERS.
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