Award-winning author Raymond L. Atkins recently released the new novel “Set List” and author and historian Lisa M. Russell recently released her new book “Underwater Ghost Towns of North Georgia.”
Atkins and Russell are instructors of English at Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC). Both books are available in the Rome area.
Atkins’ novel is the story of a bar band that always wanted to hit it big, never quite did, and are now finding themselves older and winding down.
“This novel is kind of a tribute to all the folks that either wanted to be in a band or wish they had gotten farther with their musical careers,” said Atkins. “I think the desire to get out in front of a crowd is kind of in all of us a little bit. We all want to be a star in our own way.”
Atkins resides in Rome and is the author of several other novels. His first novel, “Front Porch Prophet,” won the 2008 Georgia Author of the Year Award for First Novel. Atkins’ third novel, “Camp Redemption,” was awarded the Ferrol Sams Award for Fiction and the 2014 Georgia Author of the Year Award for Fiction. In 2017 he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Georgia Writers Association.
Atkins also spearheads GNTC’s student-run literary journal “Georgia Mountain Review.” The literary journal is published yearly and a team of GNTC student editors select submissions which include prose, poetry, artwork, essays, non-fiction, and photos.
Russell’s book examines some of the towns and communities that were lost when some of north Georgia’s lakes were created by damming the rivers in the region.
“When I wrote my first book ‘Lost Towns North Georgia’ there was a chapter in there called ‘Drown Towns,’” said Russell. “I approached the publisher with the idea of expanding that chapter into another book and it turned out to be something totally different than what I thought once I did the research.”
Russell says that she likes using this sort of microhistory as a learning tool when she teaches her students to do research.
“I tell my students to find something in history, in the past, or somebody who’s not really famous and let’s talk about them,” said Russell. “We look at something small and see how it made a big difference in the world”
Russell is a member of the Society for Georgia Archaeology, Bartow History Museum, and Etowah Valley Historical Society. She earned her master’s degree in professional writing from Kennesaw State University.
Atkins also teaches Creative Writing at Reinhardt University and Russell also teaches Communication and English at Kennesaw State University.
Georgia Northwestern Technical College provides quality workforce education to the citizens of Northwest Georgia. Students have the opportunity to earn an associate degree, diploma, or a certificate in business, health, industrial, or public service career paths. This past year, 16,402 people benefited from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs. With an annual credit enrollment of 7,750 students, GNTC is the largest college in Northwest Georgia. GNTC has an additional enrollment of 8,652 people through adult education, continuing education, business and industry training, and Georgia Quick Start. For more information about GNTC, visit us at www.GNTC.edu. GNTC is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia and an Equal Opportunity Institution.