A summer of love, fear and coming of age is what first time author John Cother will discuss Wednesday in his novel A Fear of Spiders during Luncheon With Books at the Bryan Public Library.
Cother discovered a love of writing at the age of six, and after 33 years as an educator, he has finally put his words down in a book that takes readers on an adventure with a brother and sister, JT and Lesi, determined to find answers about their family and themselves.
Cother said he always had admiration and love for children when he was a school principal and is how the two main characters were developed. As parents read the book, he said, they will understand what the characters are going through and the book may even be a reflection of their children.
“As a father myself, I think parents may well see their own teens in JT and Lesi, and although they are wonderfully unique, in many ways they represent 'everyteen',” Cother said. “Looking back at my career in public education, the resiliency and tenacity of teens stand out above everything else. JT and Lesi personify those admirable traits as they face more challenges in one unbelievable summer than most do in a lifetime.”
Set in the 1960s, JT and Lesi face many struggles, including being attacked by an intruder while they were left alone at their aunt's house, where they had to live after their father abandoned them and their troubled mother passed away. Like so many of today's children who don't have parents, JT and Lesi stay by each other's side through the ups and downs and find the meaning of their lives.
Cother said although parents and others who read the book may enjoy the plot that takes readers back to the music and culture of the 1960s, this book is designed for everyone.
“This is a timeless story of good (versus) evil, bad things happening to good people and family love, loyalty and cohesiveness,” Cother said. “It's all about the trials, tribulations and celebrations that accompany the coming-of-age.”
Being surrounded by young children and teens from different walks of life for over 30 years more than qualified Cother to write Fear of Spiders, he said.
“Facing every issue of teens and children from the benign, to the complex, to the life-and-death issues, I immersed myself into developing rapport with and understanding of students,” Cother said. “The principal's position represented a mission for me and not merely a job.”
Cother is the second guest in September for Luncheon with Books. This event is set monthly at the Bryan Public Library at noon, and everyone is encouraged to attend.