Local author releases book about family, life experiences

Published 12:05 pm Friday, January 8, 2016

James Edward Howell Jr. has seen many joys, sorrows, opportunities and defeats throughout his life. But knowing that his time may soon be coming to a close, the 81-year-old Howell penned a memoir to share these experiences with his children and grandchildren.

While the book focuses on the Franklin native’s family lineage, boyhood adventures, varied career choices and his faith, its inspiration came from the relationship — or lack thereof — he had with his father, whom he lost when he was only age 10.

“I realized how little I knew about him,” Howell said. “I want my children and grandchildren to know who I am, what I stood for and my moral character.”

Howell, who admitted that he’s not computer savvy, began to compile his thoughts for the book in a Word Document in 2013. None of what he wrote made it into the finished product, though, as the two-finger typer looked down at his keyboard and back up at his screen to find that he had opened up a new document and erased his first draft.

“It was a blessing in disguise,” he said. “It allowed me to change or redo some things that I had time to reflect on.”

More than 20,000 words were erased.

Published on Monday, “And the Sun Rose on Another Day: The life an struggles of a boy who lost his father at 10 years of age and how he coped with life,” first delves into the details of Howell’s family tree. He recalls stories he was told about grandfathers and uncles who fought in the Civil War, as well as how his father’s bout with yellow fever ultimately led to a fatal heart attack.

With the family farm and convenience shop struggling without the man of the house, Howell talks about how his cousin and — later his brother-in-law — become mentors in his life.

“They both came into my life at a good time,” he said. “When I was struggling or my family was struggling, they were there to help guide me.”

Whether it was the loss of a family member; his marriage to Martha (Marti); having four children and soon-to-be nine grandchildren; or his studies at Virginia Military Institute and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Howell can’t pick just one thing that shaped him into the man he is today. And that’s why he wanted to write something for his kin to have forever.

“And the Sun Rose on Another Day” is available for purchase on Amazon by searching the book’s title.