WAXAHACHIE — With characters that bring history alive with action and adventure, Dr. Loyd Uglow, the History Department Chair and professor at Southwestern Assemblies of God University, is debuting his newest novel, “Slow Train to Sonora” this weekend.
“I want readers to be entertained and enjoy the story,” Uglow expressed. “I think it’s an exciting time-period and I don’t think a lot of people write about it in novels. I try to base as much as I can on real historical incidences, and, of course, I fictionalized and jazzed it up some because real life is not as exciting to make a whole book on.”
“I try to make some of my characters fairly admirable and heroic, people that really will inspire readers to not only give them more than just entertainment, but I hope it inspires someone,” he added. “And being a history teacher, there’s always that feeling of 'maybe they’ll learn some history' along the way.”
In the enchanting sequel to the “Border Army Series,” Uglow has partnered with the Nicholas P. Sims Library’s Books and Brew program for an official author meet and greet on Saturday, Sept. 30.
“We’re proud of our local authors and want to support them, like Dr. Uglow,” expressed Nicole Matthews, the outreach and programming coordinator at the Sims Library. “We have a special section here at the library with their books that includes locals like Courtney Warren, Carol Gray Honca, Stephanie Gaughan, and now Dr. Uglow.”
“We want other members of the community that may not know we have all of these talented writers in our community to come and learn about them and to be able to have access to their literature and creativity,” she included.
Established in 2015, the program has supported the works of recognized writers while also encouraging and connecting new authors to a valuable resource.
“The reason we started because we wanted to open it up to authors to promote their books, talk about their experiences of writing it, and to encourage future authors in their writings,” Matthews affirmed.
“So we advertise about the author and the day-of we provide drinks – and that doesn’t mean ‘drinks,’” she emphasized with a laugh. “That means coffee and tea, and then we have a dessert bar with brownies, cookies, and things like that.”
Having already published two children’s books on Benjamin Franklin and Abraham Lincoln, a historical account on the effect of smaller Civil War outposts on overall military strategy, and a western military adventure set in 1916, Uglow’s newest novel is sure to a crowd pleaser.
As stated in the book’s description, “Slow Train to Sonora” is placed in 1911 in Sonora, Mexico, combining action, romance, and suspense, and is sure to keep readers of both traditional Westerns and historical thrillers on board to the last stop.
Following a clandestine assignment into revolutionary Mexico for the War Department is veteran army officer C. W. Langhorne and handsome young ladies' man, Lieutenant Calvin Jester.
“It’s about two army officers sent by the United States to get information on the conditions down there (in Sonora, Mexico) during the revolution, in case the United States would need to intervene,” Uglow described.
The book goes on to tell that while Langhorne runs afoul of the Acordada, the Mexican secret police organization Jester finds danger of his own enjoying the attentions of both Fabiana Medina, a rich young beauty, and the poor but sincere Luna Garcia while he recovers from a serious injury.
Destruction closes in on both men, whether from shadowy killers or jilted lovers, in a breakneck race for the border and safety.
Uglow goes on to mention true historical accounts inspired his novel.
“The United States intervened (in Mexico) a couple of times, basically to protect American interests and lives,” Uglow recalled. “And so there was a real thing where a couple of army officers were sent down, and I saw that, and it inspired me with the main point of the plot, and I elaborated on it and made it more exciting than what it was.”
Already receiving a four out of a five-star rating from Good Reads, Book List, and Amazon, Uglow recalled writing over 500 worlds a day for five months to complete his 342-page manuscript.
“Once you’ve got it going, then you’ve got this story playing out in your mind and writing it down,” Uglow described his process for the sequel. “The characters become real to you when you write about them and when you think about other stories they can fit into.”
Pairing his knowledge of history with his creative talents of writing, Uglow commented that he’s a continual learner as he plans for future novel endeavors.
“I get a lot of fun out of writing, and I’ve learned a lot about how to do it and how to make it better than I used to,” Uglow articulated. “It sounds simple, but the biggest thing I’ve learned is ‘viewpoint' - writing through the eyes of the character rather than standing off to the side telling people what the character decided to do. Instead, I found you can bring characters to life in a deeper way using their viewpoint.”
Encouraging up-and-coming authors and writers to “keep at it,” Uglow invites the community to the end-of-the month’s Books and Brew to not only discuss his book but also to share his knowledge of all things literature.
“I hope to meet a bunch of people, especially a lot of those that I don’t know,” Uglow pinpointed.
“I want to let people know who I am, what I wrote, and why I wrote it. And to do that, I think every author needs a base of people that are interested in his or her work,” he credited the community.
“If there are people interested in writing, they have a resource right here in our community that can point you in the right direction or give you some valuable advice,” Matthews jumped in.
“It’s very important to not only read but to support locals who write and produce these books,” she included. “It’s awesome to see how talented our neighbors are here, and Saturday will be a very fun event, and we hope a lot of people come to celebrate Dr. Uglow and his book.”
Hosted by the Books and Brew program, Loyd Uglow’s meet and greet is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 30 at 12 p.m. - 3 p.m. at the Nicholas P. Sims Library on 515 North Main Street. For more information on Uglow, visit loyduglow.com. To connect with the library, visit simslib.org or call (972)-937-2671.
Chelsea Groomer, @ChelseaGroomer