ROCKINGHAM – J.A. Bolton was inspired to write this book, produced through the St. Andrews University Press, due to the success of his previous book, “Just Passing Time”. And his newest edition was assisted by his wife Azalea Bolton.
“I was working in the garden and didn’t have time to write a story every week,” Bolton said of his wife’s involvement. “Because I knew she could write, I asked Azalea if she would help me with some stories.”
Azalea noted that the book was written together and that it entails 16 stories from her husband, while she contributed 15 of her own.
“Most of my stories are true-to-life experiences,” Azalea said. “A lot are about my younger years when I was a child.”
About his own stories, J.A said, “Mine are just entertaining; I leave it to the reader whether they think they’re true or not.”
Both J.A. and Azalea. have favorite stories from their book. Azalea is partial to “Tribute to a Veteran,” a story about how even the horses paid tribute at the funeral of her cousin, James, who lived in the mountains of North Carolina.
J.A.’s favorites are “Thompson Reunion” and “Homesteading Along Mountain Creek.”
According to J.A., he’s been writing now for six or seven years, and Azalea’s been writing about three years. The Boltons have many more stories to tell and are planning to publish another book “before too many more years.”
“I would shake the hand of any author because it’s a lot of work,” J.A. said. “It takes a whole lot less time to read them than it does to write them.”
J.A. first began telling stories as a young boy.
“I would often go with my dad to two old stores at the river, one on the Richmond County side and one on the Anson County side,” he shared. “We would listen to the old fellows tell their tales. I really got into that and I started making up some of my own and telling them.
“Those old fellows got to where they would buy me a Pepsi cola and a bar of candy just to tell them a story, and I got better and better at it,” Bolton added.
Azalea began telling stories about three years ago. Before that, she would listen to other storytellers from the Story Spinners Guild at the Storytelling and Arts Center in Laurinburg, N.C. The Boltons agreed the Guild helped them hone their craft. They also critique one another to improve their technique.
Most recently, the Boltons told stories at the Rankin Museum of American Heritage in Ellerbe, telling stories handpicked for each individual exhibit.
On Sunday, November 6, the Boltons will be participating in Old Fashioned Day at Morrow Mountain State Park.
The Boltons see their stories as a legacy for their grandchildren.
“If you don’t tell or write these stories down, they’re gone,” J.A. expressed strongly.
Leath Memorial Library in Rockingham will host a book signing for J.A. and Azalea Bolton’s “Just Passing Time Together’, from 4 to 6 p.m. on Monday, November 13. Books may be purchased at that time for $15.