Lifelong Columbus resident and local author Jeffrey A. Nix announces his latest work, "Deranged Justice: The Law & Lunacy of Bartow Grover Nix" (ISBN: 978-1-941072-35-6) was published February 18th. Autographed copies are now available at JudyBug’s Books at 1033 Broadway, or at the Columbus Museum's Gift Shop.  Alternately, you may order non-autographed copies from Amazon or Barnes and Noble, or order it from your favorite bookstore.  The publisher, Bygone Era Books, reports it is sold out of the title from their location. 

A short synopsis of the book follows:

Was he sane, or insane?  Was he feigning, or was he just crafty? Was he guilty, or not guilty?

On November 7th, 1919 Bartow Grover Nix was hanged for a double murder in Columbus, Georgia...questions continue concerning the prosecution of the case...was it done properly; was Nix even sane.  Nearly a century later...great nephew reviewed the case with fresh eyes...what he found led to a compelling tale...of the nature of southern justice...in the early 20th century.

The following is an edited copy of a recent interview with the author by Playgrounds Magazine for their January 2016 edition.
 
1. How long have you been writing, and what inspired you to start?
I've been writing for as far back as I can remember, but what really kicked it into high gear for me was when I was in the Wesley Heights Elementary School's summer reading program.  For three summers ('67, '68 & '69) I voraciously read literally hundreds of books.  I read some of the classics; "Tom Sawyer" and "Moby Dick."  I thought how neat it would be to step into a story to explore it for myself....so I picked up a pen and paper and went to work.

2. What do you think most characterizes your writing?
I've been told by more than one reader of my stories that I seem to insert my presence at the beginning and then step out of it--something more famous writers have been known to do.  Frankly, I think what mainly characterizes my writing is the bluntness and attention to detail.

3. What gave you the idea for your book?
Curiosity, plain and simple.  I wanted to discover for myself the true facts of this man's life--especially after being rebuffed all the times I tried to find out about him from older relatives--nobody wanted to talk about him.  Setting the record straight became my driving impetus.  With the Nix Family Cemetery (where Bartow is buried) in disrepair, I figured why not turn two negatives into a positive--use the proceeds from the sales of the book to repair and maintain the cemetery.


4. What was the hardest part about writing this book?
Getting to the truth--the whole story.  Even today, there are some who refuse to discuss the subject of Bartow or the court cases.  I had to play part detective and part writer.   That and the tremendous amount of research it took.

5. What writers have inspired you, and how has their work influenced yours?
Mark Twain, certainly. I think I get some of my creative humor from him.  Steven King is another; his penchant for having ordinary objects reach out to attack you (and his penchant for mystery) have influenced me to a degree--so much so I once did a term paper in which I explored why his writings are a catharsis for adults to release their troubles.   There are  a few others, Hemingway,  Shakespeare and Poe.  Space doesn't permit me to go into them all.  

6. Are you working on another project now, or taking some time off now that this book is finished?
My head is always turning, especially in the morning.  Nothing solid is materializing at the moment (some say there's nothing solid up there at all) -- but I'm not taking time off; I'm now promoting this book.  I'm in the process of lining up some book signings.  There's no rest for a hungry writer!

Interview reprinted here courtesy of Tom Ingram with Georgia Playgrounds Magazine.

 


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