Senior Center Book Club hosts local author

Friday, January 24, 2014

By Jessica Moore

Staff Writer

The Senior Center Book Club has resumed their monthly meetings since taking a break over the holidays. To start the new year with a bang, the Club invited local author T. Randy Stevens, who has recently written a novel, "The Banker's Greed," with p.m. Terrell.

According to amazon.com, the plot is as follows:

Jessica Palmer, the only child of a powerful and influential banker, is kidnapped. She knows her survival could depend upon her ability to remember every detail. When she manages to escape, she provides information to the FBI -- but all clues lead back to one man: her father. Now she is faced with becoming the prosecution's star witness. But could she be helping to send an innocent man to prison? And if he didn't orchestrate her kidnapping, who did? And why?

Stevens originated the story line of the book, which was published in 2011, while Terrell seems to have provided descriptions and plot twists. Although this novel was written with the expectation of a sequel, the original was not meant to continue. However, Stevens does have a 50-page manuscript of a sequel written, but it's still in the early stages. Many of the characters' names throughout the book came from people he knew. He just mixed them up. He did this only so he could easily remember the names of his characters. He also used naming websites to help choose appropriate names for his characters based on the meanings of the names. "Writing is so easy. Editing is so hard," said Stevens.

People who have reviewed "The Banker's Greed" on amazon.com universally gave it five stars, and called it "suspenseful," "action-packed," and "one of the best books ever!"

Stevens has discussed "The Banker's Greed" with many groups, and one of his favorite questions came from a student at a private school. The boy asked if Stevens was a third generation banker? Stevens explained that he is not. His father and his grandfather were in different lines of work, and he is very proud of both of them, but he chose to become a banker. Stevens is now Chairman of the Board and CEO of First Farmers and Merchants Bank.

In Stevens' opinion, book tours can be difficult because of the long hours, often from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. He felt book clubs tend to be more fun because they are much more personal. Stevens has even made two television appearances to promote his book. He has been contacted by three movie producers, two of whom are from Hollywood. As of this time, any talk of turning the book into a movie is still up in the air.

Stevens had his wife Lisa along for the meeting and credited her to being a huge help with the original editing of the novel. He also thanked Marshall County attorney and banker Barry White for helping with editing, especially pertaining to the legal terminology. Stevens wanted the novel to be as accurate as possible.

Stevens ended after answering questions from members of the Book Club and discussing the story with them. Book Club members were thrilled to have Randy and Lisa Stevens present at their meeting.

In preparation for the next book club meeting at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26, at the Senior Center, the book club members will be reading "The Source," by James A. Michner. "The Source" has a 4.5 star rating on Amazon.com. It is described as follows:

"In the grand storytelling style that is his signature, James Michener sweeps us back through time to the very beginnings of the Jewish faith, thousands of years ago. Through the predecessors of four modern men and women, we experience the entire colorful history of the Jews, including the life of the early Hebrews and their persecutions, the impact of Christianity, the Crusades, and the Spanish Inquisition, all the way to the founding of present-day Israel and the Middle-East conflict."

The members of the book club are excited about their next read. The book club is open to any senior wishing to join. Contact the Senior Center for more information, (931)359-1463.