Meet Local Author




A Novel by Susan Rivers

 Award-winning playwright Susan Rivers makes a singularly impressive debut with her accomplished novel, THE SECOND MRS. HOCKADAY (Publication Date: January 10; $25.95), about a teenage bride who must do whatever it takes to survive during the Civil War.  Through a narrative that unfolds in letters, diary entries, and inquest reports, THE SECOND MRS. HOCKADAY vividly brings to life the story of seventeen-year-old Placidia, who marries a Confederate soldier in haste and is, only days later, left alone to care for his two-year-old child, manage his slaves, and run and defend his isolated three-hundred-acre farm in rural South Carolina. In a starred review, Booklist calls the novel a “white-knuckle tale of survival” and raves, “With language evocative of the South and taut, almost unbearable suspense, dramatized by characters readers will swear they know, this galvanizing historical portrait of courage, determination, and abiding love mesmerizes and shocks.”

Placidia has just become the second Mrs. Hockaday when her husband, Major Gryffth Hockaday, is called back to the front lines of the Civil War. When he returns, two years later, Placidia is bound for jail, accused of bearing a child and murdering it in his absence. The secrets and scandals that transpired in the two years Placidia was left to fend for herself is what Rivers unravels over the course of this gripping story.

Inspired by actual events from 1865 that she discovered at her local library, Rivers became determined to explore the plight and the extraordinary courage of Southern women abandoned by their husbands who were called to the battlefield. She also wanted to explore certain questions: “What is real love and how much testing can it endure? How does war change people, for the better or the worse? How do a husband and wife cope with those changes and survive their experiences of war? What does the concept of “family” mean and how might it be affected by blood connections across racial and social demarcations?”

Rivers successfully tackles these questions and more while illustrating what many Southern women endured during the Civil War in this mesmerizing, suspenseful, and ambitious debut. Diane Chamberlain calls THE SECOND MRS. HOCKADAY “spellbinding” and “haunting” while Hillary Jordan says, “Rivers is an unflinching truth teller. Her characters are deeply human, drawn with compassion and exquisite detail.”

About the Author:

Susan Rivers was awarded the Julie Harris Playwriting Award for Overnight Lows and the New York Drama League Award for Understatements. She is also the recipient of two playwriting grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. She earned her MFA from Queens University of Charlotte in North Carolina, where she was also awarded a Regional Artist Grant from the Arts and Sciences Council. She currently lives and writes in a small town in upstate South Carolina.

A January Indie Next Pick

“This galvanizing historical portrait of courage, determination, and abiding love mesmerizes and shocks.”

Booklist, starred review

“If this book is any indicator, Rivers is a promising talent and an adroit storyteller. Hopefully, this won’t be her only foray into fiction. A compulsively readable work that takes on the legacy of slavery in the United States, the struggles specific to women, and the possibilities for empathy and forgiveness.”

Kirkus Reviews

“With the Second Mrs. Hockaday, Susan Rivers viscerally evokes a bygone era without sentimentality. Her deeply sympathetic characters cope with the hard truths of slavery and war, maintaining their humanity and capability for redemption throughout. A thoroughly engrossing and affecting read.”


By Susan Rivers

Algonquin Books / Publication Date: January 10, 2017

Hardcover / 272 pages / Price $25.95

ISBN: 978-1-61620-581-2

 Follow Algonquin Books on Twitter at @algonquinbooks or on Facebook at

The CCC Boys OF Cherokee County

Press Release

March 18, 2016


Michigan based author Bill Jamerson will present a music and storytelling program about the Civilian Conservation Corps at the Cherokee County History and Arts Museum, on Monday, March 28 at 2 pm. The program is co-sponsored by the Cherokee County Public Library and the Cherokee Historical and Preservation Society.   The museum is located at 301 College Drive in Gaffney, SC.  The program is free and open to the public.  Refreshments will be served.  For more information please call 864-487-2711 or 864-489-3988.

Dressed in uniform, Jamerson shares stories about the CCC, reads excerpts from his book, shows a short video from his PBS film, and sings original songs with his guitar. It’s a nostalgic program with lots of laughter and many heartfelt stories.  He has performed at CCC reunions around the country and at dozens of CCC-built national and state parks. His program is as entertaining as it is important; as honest as it is fun. It’s about people both ordinary and extraordinary, with stories of strength, wit and charm.

The Civilian Conservation Corps was a federal works program created by President Franklin Roosevelt in the heart of The Great Depression. During its nine year run beginning in 1933, over 55,000 men served in South Carolina.  The camps were run by the army with an average of 29 camps in operation for each year. Over 57 million dollars was spent in South Carolina running the camps over their nine year run.  The enrollees were paid $1 a day with $25 sent home to their families each month. The money sent home provided relief for their families who were desperate for food and basic necessities.

The CCC in South Carolina planted  millions of trees, built hundreds of bridges and dams, constructed over a thousand miles of roads, did soil erosion control on public and private lands, built check dams, stocked fish, fought forest fires, and built several state parks including Table Rock, Chester, Edisto Beach, Barnwell, Oconee, Cheraw and Kings Mountain. The camps not only revitalized South Carolina’s natural resources but also turned the boys into men by giving them discipline and teaching them work skills.

Camp Daniel Morgan opened on August 25, 1935, one mile southwest of Gaffney.  There were also camps outside of Union, Fountain Inn, Woodruff, Chester, Spartanburg, Greer and York.  The men came into nearby towns and cities on weekends, where they patronized stores, movie theatres, billiard rooms, dance halls, churches and restaurants. Many enrollees met their wives while in camp.  The C’s also helped out the townspeople during emergencies, such as fires or floods. The enrollees from a single camp spent approximately $5,000 a month in town, which was a boast to the local economy during the depths of The Great Depression.



To find local info, research local newspaper beginning August 25, 1935.

Historical society may have some photos of SC C’s.

Additional photos can be found at:   (public domain)  The best photos are of the men at work or play.


Jamerson’s book, BIG SHOULDERS is a historical novel that follows a year in the life of a seventeen-year-old youth from Detroit who enlisted in the C’s in 1937. The enrollee joins two hundred other young men at a work camp in a remote part of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It is a coming-of-age story of an angry teenager who faces the rigors of hard work, learning to cope with a difficult sergeant and fending off a bully.  The book is based on the life of a CCC Boy.

Some of the songs Jamerson performs with his guitar include Franklin D., written by an appreciative CCC Boy.  Chowtime is a fun look at the camp food, City Slicker, is about the mischief the men find in the woods, and Tree Plantin’, Fire Fightin’ Blues tells the hardships of work out in the woods. Wood Tick is a lament over the nicknames the locals gave them. The folk songs range from heartwarming ballads to foot stomping jigs.

Along with a novel and CD of songs, Jamerson produced the PBS film, Camp Forgotten-The CCC in Michigan, which aired on 58 PBS stations in 1994.  In the program, Bill will talk about many of the interesting enrollees he has met over the years. A question and answer period and book signing will follow the presentation.  People are encouraged to bring CCC photos or memorabilia to the program For more information please call the library at 487-2711 or visit Jamerson’s website at:

Jamerson is available for a telephone interview at 906-420-3100

Photos of Jamerson and CCC Boys can be found on website:


This program is sponsored by South Carolina Humanities and the South Carolina Arts Commission.

The mission of South Carolina Humanities is to enrich the cultural and intellectual lives of all South Carolinians.  This not-for-profit organization presents and/or supports literary initiatives, lectures, exhibits, festivals, publications, oral history projects, videos and other humanities-based experiences that reach more than 250,000 citizens annually.  South Carolina Humanities receives funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities as well as corporate, foundation and individual donors. It is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors comprised of community leaders from throughout the state.

Cherokee County Public Library Announces Opening of Learning Resource Center for Students

Gaffney, SC (March 7, 2014) – Thanks to a grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) administered by the South Carolina State Library, the Cherokee County Public Library (CCPL) will be opening a Learning Resource Center at the Gaffney Library on Monday, March 24th, 2014. This new area will offer two iMacs and five iPads for use by students ages eighteen and under while at the library. The devices will be available exclusively for student use, and will be loaded with educational apps and research software, as well as Microsoft Office and other software to complete papers, homework, and projects. Students do not need a library card to log on to the new devices, and will be allowed to print up to ten pages for free.

Tara Smith, Youth Services Manager, said, “By receiving this prestigious grant, we have been able to supplement and enhance our services to Cherokee County students, which will help them thrive in school, transition to higher education, and become successful adults in the job market. In this digital age, it is important for us to provide students with a chance to engage with new technologies they may not have at home.”

This grant will provide excellent opportunities for the county’s youth by allowing them access to new technologies, providing a dedicated space for homework completion in the library, and offering updated homework help materials to supplement their education in school. Throughout the year, the library will also use these new resources to engage with the community through outreach to local schools, special technology-enhanced programming, and additional services.

CCPL will hold a ribbon-cutting reception to celebrate the Learning Resource Center’s opening and share information with community stakeholders on Friday, March 21st, and the services will be open to the public beginning on Monday, March 24th. Learning Resource Center devices will be available for use from 30 minutes after library opening until 15 minutes before library closing. To use the iMacs and iPads, students need only bring a parent or legal guardian to sign a release form on their first visit, at which point they can begin to take advantage of these exciting new resources.


The Cherokee County Public Library strives to connect the community with quality resources that encourage literacy, expand learning, and enrich lives. For more information about CCPL, visit

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute’s mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development. To learn more about the institute, please visit

The South Carolina State Library is the primary administrator of federal and state support for the state’s libraries. The State Library is a national model for innovation, collaboration, leadership and effectiveness. The State Library’s mission is to optimize South Carolina’s investment in library and information services. In 1969, as the result of action by the General Assembly, the State Library Board was redesignated as the South Carolina State Library and assumed responsibility for public library development, library service for state institutions, service for the blind and physically handicapped, and library service to state government agencies. Headquartered in Columbia, SC, the Library is funded by the state of South Carolina, by the federal government through the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and other sources. For more information, please visit or call (803) 734-8666.