“The Boy Who Danced with Rabbits” Wins International Book Award
Local author J.R. (Joe) Collins had no idea what kind of world he was entering when he submitted his first novel of the “Home from Choestoe” series, “The Boy Who Danced with Rabbits”, to one of the largest Indie book contests on the West Coast. Chanticleer Book Review and Media of Bellingham, Washington, hosted the 2017 International Book Awards at the 2018 Chanticleer Authors Conference in Bellingham late April.
Along with Collins, thousands of authors from 36 different countries submitted books to be judged in sixteen separate genre hoping to win one of the coveted blue ribbons for Genre First in Category, Grand Prize Genre and Overall Grand Prize Book for 2017. Collins’ book was awarded a First in Category for the genre, GOETHE (ger-duh); Post-1750’s Historical Fiction.
Asked how he felt when his book was called out from the stage for First in Category Collins said, “I was overwhelmed, it felt surreal. It’s a great honor to be recognized by such a bunch as Chanticleer, and to actually win against so many great authors is mighty humbling. At least it seems my writing efforts have now been validated. That’s a good feeling. I’m pleased that the judges are interested in a book that reflects our local heritage, and a story that was based in the Choestoe Valley, my ancestral home”.
Collins, a 1980 graduate of Union County High School, began writing his first book to capture a life lived by his ancestors and carried on by storytellers. He also wanted his children and readers to know how life was in the Choestoe Valley in the early 1800’s – a time when folks relied on their faith, each other, and the land, to survive and prosper. Born and raised in the Choestoe Valley, Collins grew up hunting its ridges with his father, Robert Neal Collins, Sr., similar to the book’s main character, Jebediah.
“The Boy who Danced with Rabbits” is a story of Jeb Collins of the Choestoe Valley, and Wolf, a native Cherokee Indian of purebred descent who also called the valley home. The book details their adventures on the ridges, hollers and streams of a land and life that time was running out on.
In June, 2018, Collins submitted his second book of the series titled, “Living Where the Rabbits Dance”, to Chanticleer for the 2018 International Book Awards. He recently learned this book made the first cut and is now on the “Long List” for the GOETHE Historical Fiction category. Collins is currently working on the third book of the series.
Collins’ books are available locally, through: The Union County Historical Society; Beautiful Things; Booger Holler Store; Byron Herbert Reece Farm and Heritage Center; The Market at Sawmill Place; Olive Tree Art Centre; Sunrise Grocery; The Union County and Young Harris Mountain Regional Library locations; on Amazon.com, and via Argus Publishing. His website, jrcollinsauthor.com, includes information regarding the status of upcoming book releases, speaking engagements, and book signings. Congratulations Mr. Collins!