Can Tom overcome his secret demons, and use his strength to help others?
In writing this exciting adventure story, the author takes his reader back to Kentucky in 1923, a time when racial prejudice was rampant and the Ku Klux Klan were very much at large…
The main character in the story is a fourteen year old boy called Tom. He lives in Shakertown in Mercer County with his granddad, and is an orphan. The tragedies of his life so far, and the memories associated with this have left his mind tortured with guilt and regret. Tom is an Irish catholic and as such is subject to some of the racial hatred which is so apparent against the Negro’s in his town. Perhaps this is why he feels so sorry for the way Rose and her son James are treated when they go to the courthouse to enrol to vote. Rose knows she has the right to vote using the 19th Amendment, however not in Shakertown, here Negro’s are not yet equal to white folk. Watching the mother and son being ridiculed and taken back to their wagon by the town’s deputies, and not helping them, makes the guilt burns deep into Tom’s soul, he is so ashamed of his cowardliness. This shame turns to absolute horror when days later he is waiting to say goodbye to Rose and James as they head off for a new life elsewhere. Instead of escaping the hate, he witnesses a horrific incident which they are subject to, and the memory of it changes his life forever!
He is just starting high school, and life must go on. The only way he can cope is to supress what he witnessed, and being your typical young lad he has a mind full of girls, and football. However the recent guilt and past memories remain in the back of his mind and haunt his dreams. He knows he must find the legendary Shaker gold, hidden somewhere in the town during the Civil War, and escape the town forever. But can escaping a place mean you can escape the memories too?
Fired with determination, and with the help of his cousin Will, Tom begins his search to find the map to the treasure, but it was hidden so long ago and so much has changed since then. Will the boys find the treasure?
If they do, will the money be answer to everything, or will it bring its own demons, after all money is sometimes known to be the route of all evil.
So many questions, and the answers can be found in this exciting rollercoaster of an adventure. Through Tom, his friends, family and the townsfolk we discover what life was really like during this period of time for people of color in America.
An inspiring adventure where the reader discovers that strength of character, the belief in what is right, and facing your demons, is the only answer to true inner peace – Highly recommended.
About the Author:
A spellbinding storyteller of high adventure, Ben has walked the Great Wall of China, hiked in Tibet, and climbed to 18,000 feet on Mt. Everest. And recently learned to surf in Hawaii.
Ben is active in SCBWI and a member of a local children’s writing critique group. He is a former Marketing Manager for a major corporation and ran his own marketing consulting business. He started writing children’s stories in 2008 and has written picture books, middle grade and young adult. Stories of adventure and wonder. Stories that inspire and educate, and, most of all, entertain.
Ben lives in Kentucky with his wife Lynda.
About the Book:
A quiet town in Kentucky explodes from a racial incident and fourteen-year-old Tom Wallace is in the thick of it. His past haunts him and now he’s witness to a horrific event leaving him devastated and afraid.
Tom and his cousin, Will, search for lost Shaker gold he believes can help him escape his town and memories. But leaving has consequences. He will lose his friends and his new love.
On a fiery staircase Tom finally realizes that he must face his inner demons and his terrifying nightmares. To do so he must take a stand that could change his life … or end it.
Author Ben Woodard relies on firsthand experience and family history to tell this moving story of personal tragedy and racial hatred set in the rolling countryside of Kentucky in 1923.
The Staircase of Fire is available from: