Former McIntosh teacher writes her debut novel
Jill Smith Entrekin, a former English teacher, obviously has a love for the written word, but it wasn’t until after she retired that she sat down to write her first novel. The process took three years, but she feels it was worth the time and effort and readers of “Star of Flint” are certain to feel it was worth the wait.
“Star of Flint” is about the Sinclair family of Flintville, Ga., specifically Allie and her older sister, Cece. Flintville is a fictional stand-in for Thomaston, where Smith Entrekin grew up. Her father was the editor of the Thomaston Free Press, so unsurprisingly the protagonist is the daughter of a newspaper editor.
“I loved the newspaper and loved to be there, hearing my father type, smelling the ink and seeing the big rolls of paper, all of that,” Smith Entrekin, a Peachtree City resident since 2000, said. She noted that while some aspects of the book were autobiographical, the majority of the novel was fictional.
“Star of Flint” is primarily a coming of age story for Allie and focused on the relationships with her sister, family members and people in the community, but there is a thread of a mystery that pulls the reader along. The novel is filled with humor and heart and Smith Entrekin’s love of her native state of Georgia and her hometown is clear in her passionate and precise prose.
Over the years Smith Entrekin wrote some little things but it wasn’t until she modeled a project dealing with a Truman Capote’s “A Christmas Memory” that the seed for “Star of Flint” was planted.
“I wrote about my childhood and when the media specialist read it later (her daughter was in Smith Entrekin’s class) she said ‘You need to build on this.’ I did.”
Writing “Star of Flint” took three years but Smith Entrekin stresses that it wasn’t three years sitting at the computer.
“I created a lot of it in my mind. I love to walk and while I was walking our boxer, Sundance, I would be thinking about the book. I also did some of my best thinking mowing the lawn,” Smith Entrekin said.
When she finished a chapter, she would sit on the porch with her husband, Dana, and would read aloud. He would offer constructive criticism and suggestions and she would fix it.
“He would be delighted when he came home and saw pages to read that night,” stated Smith Entrekin.
Towards the end, the pace of the writing picked up and Smith Entrekin would find herself writing at 4 a.m.
“I was so into it. I loved the intensity of getting there,” Smith Entrekin said. She is proud of her accomplishment and stated that it was something she never thought she would achieve. She added that so many people were supportive and that it became a family thing. Her daughter, Amy, a copywriter, edited the novel and helped trim the book into its finished form, while her other daughter, Holly, planned the marketing and promotion of the book. Her husband, Dana, has handled the business end of things.
“Star of Flint” has been published by David Anders Publishing, who created a new brand for this work, Room 272 Press. The book is available at Amazon.com, is available on Kindle and willalso be appearing at other local establishments as well.
Smith Entrekin has begun work on her second novel and said that some of the characters from “Star of Flint” will show up in that one as well. She added that she learned some tricks while writing her first novel and is enjoying the process.
“It’s a great brain exercise and I think every English teacher is a wannabe writer,” Smith Entrekin said. “You just have to dive in.”
You can find more information about “Star of Flint” at Facebook and at http://www.room272.weebly.com.
The Friends of the PTC Library will host her event at the Peachtree City Library on Sunday, January 29, from 1:30-3:30 p.m.