A couple of years ago, I had the pleasure of reviewing here on this blog One Night of Madness, a book written by Stokes McMillan, a native of Attala County, Mississippi. It was McMillan's first book, a true account of events that happened in that county, in the racially-charged 1950s. According to the author, a series of photographs taken by his father who worked for the local family-owned newspaper in Kosciusko, Mississippi, the Star-Herald, was the impetus for the book. McMillan's gripping tale of murder and mayhem in rural Mississippi is well-researched and written and is spell-binding as the events in the story unfold. The book was published in 2009 and was very well-received, earning McMillan an EDGAR award the next year. A husband, father of three sons, and a grandfather, McMillan is a graduate of Mississippi State University and retired last year from a long engineering career with NASA in Houston, Texas. His plans to write another book are on hold, at least for the present, since he is currently involved in a second career working for a private company in Colorado.
Fast forward to 2012.....
McMillan and his book seem to have made an impact on the literary world, at least in Mississippi, as evidenced by a recent article in Publishers Weekly. The transcript of that article is included below.
"Stokes McMillan's self-published book, One Night of Madness, was named winner of the 2012 Mississippi Author Award. Inspired by articles written by his journalist father in 1950, McMillan's One Night of Madness is the true story of how local, white citizens in the pre-civil rights South unite to hunt down racist white murderers in a small Mississippi town. A book with an unusual story gains a unique honor with the win. According to vice president Lynn Shurden, 'this is the first time that I'm aware a self-published book has son.' Published in paperback through Amazon's CreateSpace in November 2009, the book has sold modestly with around 4,000 copies to date. 'Due to my very busy day job, I have not been actively pushing it so sales have slowed accordingly. I have, however, signed a contract with a movie producer who is working to make it into a movie,' McMillan said. Past winners of the Mississippi Author Award include Eudora Welty, Charlaine Harris, and Kathryn Stockett. One Night of Madness previously won a gold medal Independent Publishers Book Award in 2010. McMillan is represented by Wendy Schmalz of the Wendy Schmalz Agency."
Stokes McMillan and his book are now part of Mississippi's literary history, and his name is among others on a hallowed list of authors who call that state "home." Although he is staying busy with other projects at the moment, I predict we will see more of McMillan's talented story-telling.