We’re excited to welcome K.S. Jones to the Highlighted Author. Born in California’s San Joaquin Valley, she was literally raised “on set” for her Depression-Era novel, Shadow of the Hawk. Writing all of her life, this is Karen’s first published full-length novel and the start of a whole new career in writing. Up next? Another novel already in the final stages of edits. Can’t wait to see what’s next for this author!
–Jo Grafford, Highlighted Author Co-Hostess
Shadow of the Hawk
It is May 1932 and life in the timbered rise and fall of Western Arkansas has just gotten harder for sixteen-year-old Sooze Williams. With debt mounting and both friends and family fleeing, Sooze is determined to “do the right thing.” She promises her heart to a well-to-do man believing true love is just another loss along the way.
But when her uncle is murdered and family is accused of the crime, Sooze vows not to be beaten. Is salvation within her grasp by relying solely on truth, or is it in the security of her intended’s money? Sooze must decide before it’s too late.
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About K.S. Jones
Author K.S. Jones, whose first name is Karen, has been writing most of her life, usually in stolen moments between raising children, caring for elderly parents, and working a real job. She spent fifteen years writing and researching her Depression-era debut novel, Shadow of the Hawk. During that time, she had short pieces published, but it wasn’t until 2014 that her writing took a giant leap forward. One summer morning, an email arrived announcing she had won Southern Writers 2014 Short Story contest. While reveling in the moment, a second email chimed – a publisher was offering a contract on her novel! That same week, two more publishing offers arrived for the same novel, and she hasn’t looked back since. Another novel, a middle grade fantasy, is now under publisher’s review, and finishing touches are in process for another MG.
Born and raised in California’s San Joaquin Valley — the destination of thousands of families fleeing the Dust Bowl during America’s Great Depression — the author’s favorite childhood pastime was reading. She especially loved The Grapes of Wrath, To Kill A Mockingbird, and The Education of Little Tree, plus all the Jack London novels. Who could expect Shadow of the Hawk to sound any differently than it does? She now lives in the beautiful Texas Hill Country with her husband, Richard, and their two dogs, Libby Loo and Red Bleu.
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Excerpt from Chapter #3
As we neared Uncle Ray and Aunt Lissie’s farmhouse, the front left wheel, which was already whopper-jawed, hit a pothole in the road. Smack! The bolster clapped against the wood under our feet, and Cora nearly flew off the wagon seat. I caught her by the brown puffed sleeve of her dress and pulled her back toward me, holding her tight. Pulling hard on the leather reins, Daddy stopped the wagon. We could hear Uncle Ray yelling.
“You get off my land, and you stay off, you no-good little thief!”
Busting out the door of the hen house, Henry’s friend Benny was running like a wild man. His black hair was whipping across his face like strings from a wet mop, and he had his dirty white T-shirt pulled up like a hammock at his belly. It was filled with eggs.
“Go on, scram!” Uncle Ray came out the door of the hen house, swinging a leather strap. “If I catch you here again, I’ll beat the tar out of you, boy!”
Benny was in a dead-run. As he skidded around the back of our wagon headed for town, I saw a red welt the size of Uncle Ray’s leather strap across his cheek.
“What’d he get from you, Ray?” Daddy called.
“He stole my whole batch of eggs!” Uncle Ray walked toward us with one shoulder of his blue bib overalls hanging. He wasn’t wearing a shirt underneath to hide his big belly or a hat to cover his balding head. “I knew movin’ in this close to town would just invite the hoboes and hooligans.” He stopped at the wagon, reaching up to help Cora down off the seat, and kept right on talking. “But that boy — that loony little two-bit thief — he’s the worst of ’em all. If he was stealin’ so’s he could feed his family, I might look the other way once in a while. But when I get to town later today, I’ll bet I see a fresh batch of brown eggs for sale at Huckabee’s. All that boy does is sell what he steals from me so’s he can gamble and booze.”
“It ain’t right,” Daddy agreed, shaking his head. “It just ain’t right. You want me to go get the sheriff and be an eyewitness? A complaint is easy to file.”
“Won’t do no good,” Uncle Ray said. “With only one lawman in town, the sheriff said I needed to catch that boy red-handed myself and hand him over. But who can catch him? Did you see the way he lit out of here runnin’ like a jackrabbit?”
What Reviewers are saying about Shadow of the Hawk!
“The realism of John Steinbeck meets the thrill of John Grisham in this tale of love, sacrifice, and betrayal.” ~ Reader’s Entertainment Magazine
“This is one of those young adult novels that every adult will want to read. It’s filled with wonderful characters and a heartwarming story set in the midst of America’s darkest days, the Great Depression. Jones’ voice is reminiscent of Steinbeck’s at his best.” ~ W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O’Neal Gear, USA Today and New York Times bestselling authors of People of the Thunder
“With a clarity reminiscent of Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath, K.S. Jones gently draws the reader into a masterful description of the grit and hard times of one farm family’s struggles during the Great Depression.” Alethea Williams, author of orphan train novel Walls for the Wind