Name: Geoff Partlow
Residence: Hilton Head Island
Book: "America's Deadliest Twister: The Tri-State Tornado of 1925"
Printed by: Southern Illinois University Press
Where to buy: Amazon, Barnes and Noble
First sentence: "The official National Weather Service forecast for Wednesday, the 18th of March, 1925 issued for the southern reaches of Missouri, Illinois and Indiana called for 'rains and strong shifting winds,' a prediction that would prove to be a tragedy of understatement."
Plot summary in 50 words or less: America's deadliest twister killed 695 people and left 15,000 homeless. The story tells of the aftermath, when relief efforts were launched to help the devastated. This was the first natural disaster to use both the radio and the airplane for relief. This was also the first natural disaster to receive nearly instantaneous worldwide news coverage. Notable people such as Charles Lindbergh, Pope Pius XI, Calvin Coolidge and Adlai Stevenson all have a role in the narrative.
Story behind the book: "America's Deadliest" rises from a lifelong fascination with tornados. But more importantly, the genesis really arose from a former client of mine retelling her story. She is a survivor of the destruction by the Tri-State Tornado, which killed 33 children in the schoolhouse where she worked in DeSoto, Ill. It was this client's story of that day as well as what happened to her family afterward that demanded my attention. I was haunted by the fact that one in four children who walked off to school that day in that tiny coal mining town never came home.
Previous writing experience: I have published three short stories, written 10 more, and have finished six novels and two nonfiction efforts.
Favorite books: "All the King's Men" by Robert Penn Warren, "The Poetry of Robert Frost," "The Firm" by John Grisham and "Beach Music" by Pat Conroy.
What's next: I have completed a manuscript and put it in the hands of the Southern Illinois University Press. Its anticipated publication is late 2015. Its title speaks for itself: "Doomed: The Rise and Fall of America's Most Dangerous City, Cairo, Illinois."
Follow reporter Erin Shaw at twitter.com/IPBG_ErinShaw.