‘A Fresh Gale’ in the literary world

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 12, 2001

Features Editor

Bill Sanford is, "at last," a published author.

His first work to hit the shelves, A Fresh Gale, is set against the backdrop of a rumor-filled small Southern town.

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Sanford’s mischievous grin lets one know he just might get a kick out of a few home folks squirming at who might possibly be between the covers.

However, he lets the fish off the hook with a slight shake of his head.

"No," he said, but still with a twinkle in his eye. "No. The characters are fictional. Many of the places are fictional, but the events – well, some of them could possibly be true."

He also denied that he is a player in the novel even though there is some similarity between the name of the main character, Barton Sandeau, and the author.

"No. A Fresh Gale is not a confession either," he said, laughing.

So, unlike sands through the hour glass, "these are not the days of Bill Sanford." However, he has written three other novels that, when published, will reveal more of the real Bill.

The novels are not about him, or so he says, but they hint at the inner him. And, they are testimony to his perseverance.

"I’ve got a trash can full of rejection letters," Sanford said. "But, that’s the way it goes. You just have to keep believing that one day, somebody is going to like what you’ve done. I’ve waited a long time to see my name on the cover of a book – a long time – and it feels good."

So good, in fact, that Sanford couldn’t hold back tears when he first held A Fresh Gale – a novel by William Sanford.

"I can leave my children and grandchildren ‘things,’ but this

– this is a part of me," he said, gently tapping the book with his hand.

Sanford’s journey to this point in his literary life began when he was in tenth grade at Hueytown High School. He was assigned a paper to write and he chose a topic that was "too radical" for the times. The title was "The IQ Does Change" and Sanford made a good argument for his thesis

– and a good grade. But, more importantly, the experience introduced him to a love of a lifetime – writing.

"From then on, I’ve dabbled at writing," he said. "I beat the daylights out of a Royal typewriter. I wrote a lot of short stories and, would you believe that I can’t put my hands on them. I’m sure they are packed away in a box somewhere and I hope to run across them one day."

On his way to being a published author, Sanford earned an undergraduate degree from Troy State University and a master’s degree from Auburn University before going on to study law. He served in the U. S. Navy during World War II and gave

up his first professional love, teaching, because he couldn’t earn enough money to support a wife and five children.

"I loved teaching, but I couldn’t make a living at it," he said. "But, teaching taught me a lot. I like to learn and I like to

write and, I learn when I write."

Sanford’s novel, The Price of Cotton, required a huge amount of research and he takes great pride in

what he calls a book about "the flip side of slavery."

However, his "just published" book is a love story mystery about finding the truth beneath the illusion.

Sanford had an idea for the story line when he sat down to write, but he didn’t know how it would play out. He just lived it as he wrote.

"Barton Sandeau was orphaned at a young age and uncertain of his true parentage," Sanford said. "He travels to Deer Hill in search of answers. Instead he finds murder, mystery and, the biggest surprise of all, love. A Fresh Gale is about mistaken identity and the sins of the fathers haunting their children"

And, when the novel hit the stands at Douglas Brothers on the square in Troy a couple of weeks ago, there was a rush for the book and kudos for the author.

"Those who have read the book have been very complimentary," Sanford said.

Maybe some were surprised that ol’ Bill could write a love story mystery, but those who know him best weren’t surprised at all and are looking forward to purchasing the next "Bill Sanford" novel.

One reader summed up the response of most of those who have read A Fresh Gale.

"I laughed. I cried. I angered and I fell in love again."

What a great review for a "just-published, first time author!" What a great book; what a great writer and what a great man.