By Corrina Sisk-Casson
DUNLAP, Tenn. -- Howard Hatcher often gives the children's sermon at his church, Dunlap United Methodist. His favorite stories are ones about growing up in Williamson County and his adult years in Sequatchie County.
Recently, Hatcher compiled 185 stories about himself and people he knows into a new book, "Parables & People."
"My idea was to write stories that would teach a lesson. I wanted the stories to be true stories," he said. "Every life experience teaches us a lesson if you just think about it."
The stories in the first part of his book include a Bible verse to help teach youngsters how to relate the Bible to daily life. There is one lesson per page, something Hatcher says he wanted to do so it would be easy for people to read.
The last part of the book covers what Hatcher calls "worthy role models." He picked out 10 people and described how they live out their Christian faith. The people range from local residents, such as Overton Johnson and Libby Dishman, to well-known figures, such as former President Jimmy Carter.
His publisher, Karen Stone, says he is a talented storyteller.
"His stories are personal and entertaining. They will be enjoyed by children as well as adults. Since the stories are so short, both [Hatcher's] books can be picked up and read in brief sessions, making it easy to share with children who will enjoy hearing them read aloud," she said.
His first book, "Granddaddy, Tell Me a Story," was published a year ago and sold out in 90 days. According to Stone, his book had to go back to press two times.
"This does not happen if the writing is poor. Friends will be kind to an amateur writer and buy a book, but they will not enthusiastically recommend it to their friends and come back to buy multiple copies if the book is not good. I anticipate the reception for Mr. Hatcher's second book will be equally as warm as that for his first," she said.
Hatcher's first book was a memoir of a life growing up in the country.
"It was about my family and growing up until I finished college and left home. And the last part told about all the members of the family and what happened to everyone, what direction we had taken in life," he said.
Hatcher says he doesn't expect to make much money from his book, but as with the first, he will send most of the profits to Camp Lookout, a United Methodist Church camp on Lookout Mountain. The camp is a special place for him because his family is so involved with volunteering, and his grandchildren attend there in the summer.
"I donate to Camp Lookout because the kids who attend the camp receive outstanding spiritual training," he said.
Corrina Sisk-Casson is based in Dunlap. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHERE TO GET IT
"Parables & People" may be found at Sequatchie County and Dunlap Chamber of Commerce, the Cookie Jar Cafe and Cates Street Pharmacy, all in Dunlap, Tenn.