Author Talks

Wine and Cheese with the Author – Aug. 25, 2022

(article from the Hot Springs Village Voice)

Four authors recently graced the stage of the Coronado Center auditorium to talk about their latest books and meet fans old and new.

Tony Dincau led off and told listeners about growing up in Minnesota, where four generations of his family were fishing enthusiasts. He described his book, “A Trout Fisherman’s Soul,” originally published in 2016 and republished in 2021, as a “relaxing, easy read,” and said the book is all about “connectedness.”

Although the book is a memoir, he added, “I think it will allow any reader to pull themselves into the book” – it’s not just about fishing, although that’s certainly the theme, but about family and shared experiences (and a few trout recipes are thrown in, for good measure).

Even the cover is personal – his mother painted the beautiful scene.

Dincau feels the book appeals to readers of different ages and sexes – including children. “It will hopefully remind you of where you came from,” Dincau said, “but also that you are a centerpiece in others’ lives.”

Prolific author Dr. Nancy Hendricks was next on the podium to discuss one of her recent books, “State Oddities: An Encyclopedia of What Makes Our United States Unique.”

Hendricks began her talk by saying, “We are the United States – and mostly united – but each state has its unique character.”

Her book is a journey through the 50 states, focusing on little-known facts. As always with her books, Hendricks conducted hours and hours of research, combing through historical references and visiting many of the places she writes about.

Hendricks shared some interesting anecdotes about Arkansas history: how veterans of the Civil War were offered land west of the Mississippi, only to find it flooded (the “sunk lands”); how the Smithsonian was almost lost, thanks to corruption in Arkansas’ handling of money for war bonds; Carrie Nation’s sojourn in Eureka Springs; how a resort in Rogers was flooded by a federal dam project (or “damn federal project,” as Hendricks quipped); how Hattie Caraway was the first female senator and impacted important legislation; and, last but not least, how a recent legislative session spelled out (no pun intended) how to pronounce “Arkansas.”

Hendricks then gave an “homage to Minnesota” – which boasts a “staggering array of inventions,” including Spam (regarded as a worthy hostess gift in South Korea), and talked about various regional names for common items (soda, pop, Coke).

At the ripe old age of 23, Jessie Terry, who was recently named National American Miss Arkansas 2022, has written and illustrated nine children’s books, with two more coming out soon.

She started writing at the age of 18 while home-schooling her niece and nephew, in an effort to give them more imaginative and creative opportunities for learning.

Terry was herself home-schooled, after being bullied in public school, and took up martial arts as a way to build self-confidence.

Her newest book features a frog that has stage fright – a condition Terry struggled successfully to overcome.

In addition to her books, Terry has produced a 30-day leadership curriculum for children, focusing on areas not emphasized in schools – respect for authority, etc. “It’s important for kids to learn to do things now – not wait until they’re older,” she said. “There are no limits to what they can do, and they can make positive changes along the way.”

Rounding out the program was well-known author Jeff Meek, editor for many years of the Hot Springs Village Voice.

Meek started his career with the Voice by writing about World War II veterans, but readers today have been treated to his articles about the JFK assassination, which he has been researching since 1975.

His first book, “A Lone Gunman?”, raised questions about nearly all aspects of the 1963 assassination, but stopped short of drawing conclusions. His new book, “The Manipulation of Lee Harvey Oswald and the Cover-up that Followed,” ties everything together and introduces new information, including newly declassified documents, and this time Meek puts his opinion out there.

The book is heavily documented and footnoted, and is “90% factual,” according to Meek.

“Lee Harvey Oswald was all over CIA’s radar since 1959,” said Meek. Oswald was recruited while serving in the Marines as a radar operator for the U-2 spy plane, and Meek’s research leads him to believe that he was sent to Russia as a “provocateur” – probably to ferret out a suspected mole in the CIA (none was ever found).

He was also sent on assignments to New Orleans and Mexico City, as well as Dallas.

Meek discovered that documents relating to the investigation were destroyed. Dallas police were asked by the FBI to “fudge” documents. One example: A small Minox camera – commonly used as a “spy camera” – was found among Oswald’s effects; the FBI tried to get Dallas police officers to change the description to “light meter.”

Meek admits that there is some speculation in the book – for instance, about where Oswald was going after he left the book depository. Meek believes Oswald was looking for a pre-selected safe house and described a possible scenario of his route there.

Meek also discusses a couple of “mysteries”: Where did Oswald get his guns? And what was the connection to the Albert Schweitzer College in Switzerland? Readers will have to purchase the book – available on Amazon – to find the answers.