Author Jim Ainsworth writes what he knows. Maybe that’s why the Delta County native has enjoyed such a good run with his Rivers family series. “Go Down Looking,” (Tate Publishing) the fifth story chronicling the childhood of Jake Rivers, is set for release in May of 2012.
Ainsworth has long acknowledged the series is based on his childhood during the 1950s drought that ravaged Northeast Texas. He grew up in a dogtrot house with no indoor plumbing, riding horses, milking cows, picking cotton and sharing a bedroom with his brothers – Tuck, a toddler who communicates with animals, and Gray Boy, a true rebel without a cause.
On Thursday night, Oct. 13, Friends of the Sulphur Springs Public Library will host “An Evening with Jim Ainsworth.” The event will feature an informal interview with the popular writer.
Prior to entering the world of fiction, Ainsworth had a successful career as a financial manager, authoring several textbooks on the subject. He also wrote a memoir called, “Biscuits Across the Brazos,” about his family’s 1998 wagon train trip tracing the original trip taken in 1918.
He and his wife, Jan, live on a ranch in Campbell.
Previous books in the Rivers series, “Rivers Flow,” “Rivers Crossing,” “Rivers Ebb,” and “Home Light Burning,” are available at jimainsworth.com
Ainsworth recently sat down to talk about the new book.
“I skipped Jake in the fourth book,” he said. “I had a lot of readers ask me to finish Jake’s story, so I did.”
Although “Go Down Looking” is a baseball expression, Ainsworth says the title means so much more.
“There’s a scene where the term comes about and when I wrote it, I said, ‘Ah. There’s the title,’” the author explained. “I think it’s some of my best writing, but it’s pretty introspective. It’s the first time I’ve written about mortality and the fragility of life.”
In the new book, Jake is back in East Texas with his parents, Rance and Mattie. The family had been forced to West Texas after the family dairy farm failed, but have saved enough to be able to come back to their home near Cooper. The young man returns to his old stomping grounds, expecting things to be the same. But he discovers time has marched on, especially for his hero, his grandfather Griffin.
To learn more about the life of Jake Rivers, make plans to see Ainsworth at 6:30 p.m. at the Sulphur Springs Public Library on Oct. 13. The event is open to the public and is free of charge.
Local musician Hannah Kirby will provide entertainment. She plans to play Bob Wills’ beautiful ballad, “Faded Love” at Ainsworth’s request.
“Faded Love’ plays a big role in ‘Go Down Looking,’” he said. “The fiddle is a symbol that carries through the book. It’s a symbol of Jake’s past, of simpler times and of his grandfather, Griffin. I’ve always loved [the song], but I never loved it like I do after writing the new book. It’s personal. I learned the song from my grandfather. I realize my grandfather was lamenting the loss of his wife when he sang it. He was singing it for her.”
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