2007-04-26 / Opinions

Lincoln Co. author Tom Poland to speak at Friends of Library event this Sunday

By JACQUELYN JOHNSON

TOM POLAND TOM POLAND "An Afternoon With the Author" will feature Lincoln County native Tom Poland, who has just published his first work of fiction titled "Forbidden Island…An Island Called Sapelo."

Sponsored by the Lincoln County Friends of the Library (FOL), the event will take place Sunday, April 29, beginning at 2 p.m. at the Lincoln County Library.

During the afternoon, Poland is scheduled to speak on the inspiration for the novel, the writing process, and the road to publication. A book-signing and light refreshments will follow.

"I have never had a signing in Lincolnton, but I have attended many others in towns and cities in South Carolina," said Poland. "It means a lot to me to come home for what will be the first signing for this new book. Since the book begins in Atlanta and moves to the Georgia/ South Carolina Lowcountry, I am really glad that the first signing will be back home among family and friends. That seems quite fitting.

"I began the book on my birthday in 1997, and it took 10 years to finally get it into print. Those who read the book, who really know me, will recognize certain events, names, and situations."

For six years, the author worked as a scriptwriter and cinematographer, primarily in the South Carolina Lowcountry and its barrier islands. While filming on a primitive barrier island one evening, a fog rolled in, trapping him there overnight. That experience led to "Forbidden Island" and the mythical Georgialina.

Love, dark secrets, murder, betrayal, unrivaled beauty, and a door die mission to save what is left of "family" await readers of "Forbidden Island," whose phosphorescent sea, majestic dunes, green marshes, and star-filled heavens will long haunt them. "Forbidden Island" resonates with action, adventure, and the unexpected wisdom a wild island unleashes on those who dare to step upon its shores.

A resident of Columbia, South Carolina, and a "Georgian at heart always," Poland has published five books and more than 400 magazine features in local, state, regional, and national publications. In 1994, he won a GAMMA (Georgia Magazine Association) for "Best Feature Writing" in magazines with budgets of $750,000 or more.

Also during his career, the author taught at Columbia College, served as the managing editor for "South Carolina Wildlife" magazine, wrote speeches for South Carolina governors and former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates, and was the chief editor of a corporate global magazine for seven years. In addition, he has written marketing and advertising copy and has won Gold ADDYs and "Best of Show" for his work and concepts.

His non-fiction works include "A Just and Noble Cause," "Reflections of South Carolina," and "South Carolina: The Natural Heritage," with a foreword written by Atlanta native James Dickey, author of "Deliverance."

Poland said it was Dickey who inspired him to write his first novel. "James Dickey urged me to write something other than the commercial stuff writers do to make a living, and I was eager to try. When he died in early 1997, I realized we all have just so much time, and I began the journey, so to speak.

"I saw this as a chance to write something I would really enjoy," he continued. "I wrote it for one person - me. I wanted to put a lot of what I had seen and learned to use; I wanted to create a story about saving what's left of family; and I wanted to create a place readers would remember long after reading the book."

Along with writing just for fun, Poland works as a full-time freelance writer, with diverse clients. He also serves as an adjunct faculty member at the University of South Carolina where he teaches journalism.

After graduating from LCHS in 1967, the author earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Georgia in 1971, followed by a master's degree in media in 1975.

He is the son of Ruth Poland of Lincolnton and the late John Mitchell Poland.

Copies of "Forbidden Island" are available online at all major bookstores.

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