Hosted ByRichard Eller, Robert Canipe, & Patty Thompson

Redhawk Publications is an artistic initiative of the Catawba Valley Community College, publishing written works of interest for the local community, the state of North Carolina as well the entire United States. Established in 2017, CVCC is the only North Carolina community college with a publishing division and has over 75 unique titles. The podcast, “RedPubPod” acts as a companion to the works of our authors.  Be sure to check out the podcast and subscribe so that you can hear author interviews that highlight their writing processes, literary inspirations, and newest releases. 

RedPubPod #029 “Willis, You’ve Come a Long Way”

Hey folks, it’s that time again – new month, new author, and you guessed it, another episode of RedPubPod! We’re hanging out at Redhawk Publications in the Foothills of Western North Carolina. On a clear day, you can catch a glimpse of the Appalachian Mountains right in our backyard. Many of our authors are all about those mountain vibes, putting pen to paper to spill the beans on their hometown love.

Today, we have a writer who turned his upbringing into a down-to-earth memoir. Author Cecil Willis boasts an illustrious academic background, but his book puts a spotlight on his deep Appalachian roots. In his book published by Redhawk Publications, titled “Hillbilly Odyssey,” Cecil shares what it was like to grow up in a less complex time in a Small Mountain Mill Town – which just happens to be the subtitle of his book. Initially written to provide an alternative view of Appalachian life following the fanfare J.D. Vance received for his book, “Hillbilly Elegy,” Dr. Willis goes on to share how you can go home again; it’s just different.

Listen to the author as he discusses what it’s like to have a mountain upbringing and how the values and ethics instilled in him have served him well on his journey through life. For those with sociology backgrounds, Dr. Willis offers a perspective on living, working, and raising a family in a true old-time company town, and he explores how these towns are faring in the 21st century

His writing process, particularly with Redhawk Publications, is explored. Dr. Willis received a ‘kind reject,’ which means, ‘We like what you have written, but you need a little more work to connect with readers.’ Redhawk Publications issues this kind of rejection for manuscripts they are on the fence about. Undeterred and unphased, Dr. Willis delved deeper and enlisted the services of an exceptional editor, Tom Rash. He resubmitted his manuscript, and it was accepted for publication the second time. Ever resilient, these mountain folks!

Cecil lives in Madison County in the town of Alexander in Madison County, North Carolina. The book might say Alexander County. Our bad! Just strike that out, would you? (Where is our PROOFREADER!?!)

Dr. Willis proved to be a delightful guest that we hope gets to tell his engaging, as well as educational, life story to many!

RedPubPod #029 hosts are:

Robert Canipe, Publisher — Redhawk Publications

Richard Eller, Executive Director — Redhawk Publications

Patricia Thompson, Acquisition Editor — Redhawk Publications

Get your copy of “Hillbilly Odyssey” here!

Buy all your Redhawk Publications books here!

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