Brooks Eason has practiced law in Jackson, Mississippi, for more than 35 years but has resolved to trade in writing briefs for writing books. He lives with his wife Carrie and their two elderly rescue dogs, Buster and Maddie, and an adopted stray cat named Count Rostov for the central character in A Gentleman in Moscow, the novel by Amor Towles. In their spare time, the Easons host house concerts, grow tomatoes, and dance in the kitchen.
Brooks, who has three children and four grandchildren, is also the author of Travels with Bobby—Hiking in the Mountains of the American West, about hiking trips with his best friend.
Visit Eason at: www.brookseason.com.
Congratulations on the release of your book, Fortunate Son - the Story of Baby Boy Francis.
When did you start writing and what got you into nonfiction?
I'm a lawyer, so I've written for a living for more than 35 years. I've written off and on for pleasure even longer than that, from inappropriate limericks to short stories to books. My first serious nonfiction project was my first book, Travels with Bobby - Hiking in the Mountains of the American West, which is about six hiking trips with my best friend. We had so much fun on the trips and saw such magnificent places that I decided I needed to write about them. It was very rewarding.
What is your book about?
It's about my being adopted as an infant and the wonderful life my parents gave me, about learning the identity of my birth mother and the circumstances of my birth one week before my first grandchild was born under almost identical circumstances, about how I nearly got rich but didn't, and how times changed from when I was born until my granddaughter was born, which meant that my daughter got to keep and raise her baby. I won't brag on the quality of the writing because my parents taught me not to brag, but it's an amazing story.
What was your inspiration for it?
I love to write, and an amazing story that needed to be written fell into my lap when I learned my birth mother's identity. I was found as a result of litigation in four courts in two states initiated because I was a potential heir to a fortune from her grandfather, who owned oil wells all over the country as well as the only facility in the Western Hemisphere that made fluoride for toothpaste. There are lots of teeth in the Western Hemisphere.
Who is your target audience?
Anyone interested in a good family story or the subject of adoption should enjoy it. People who just want to read about good people should appreciate it as well. The parents who adopted me were as good as they come. My father was a Boy Scout leader for 60 years. He was the finest man I've ever known. My daughter, who made the brave decision to have and keep her daughter and has accomplished a great deal more, is one of my heroes.
What type of challenges did you face while writing this book?
The principal challenge was that I kept learning things I had to add all the way to the end. When we were in final production, I learned that my best friend's mother handled the paperwork and logistics for my adoption and kept it a secret from me for more than sixty years. I said stop the presses, interviewed her - she was almost ninety-two - and added a chapter.
What do you hope readers will get from your book?
I hope it will underscore the importance of family. There has been a breakdown in the family in recent decades, and that has been very harmful. I also hope people will come to the conclusion that more unwanted pregnancies should end with an adoption instead of an abortion. Even those who are fervently pro-choice should be able to agree with that. If I had been conceived after Roe v. Wade was decided, there's a good chance there would be no me and my three children and four grandchildren would not exist. And my grandchildren make the world a better place.
Did your book require a lot of research?
A fair amount, but it was fun. I did some internet research about both my families, birth and adoptive, and travelled to meet my birth mother's family, which is now mine too. They were all kind and generous with their time and some with more than that. They gave me two portraits of my birth mother, one painted when she was fourteen and one on her wedding day in 1964 when I was in the fourth grade. I also tracked down some of her friends and her first husband, all of whom were generous with their time. Unfortunately I never got to meet her. She was beautiful, rich, and smart, but she had a short and tragic life. She was married twice, divorced twice, was in and out of rehab, and died of cirrhosis at forty-seven, eighteen years before I learned she was my mother. I was her only child.
What was your publishing process like?
It was pretty easy. I decided to try to find a small, independent press after doing some online research and getting some advice from other authors. One of them recommended WordCraft Press, I completed the submission, they said they wanted to publish my book, and we signed a contract the next day.
What is your advice for aspiring authors?
Write for the love, not for the money, because there's a good chance you won't make any. If you do your best and the work fulfills you, and if people appreciate what you've written, then you'll be a success even if you never make a nickel.
What has writing taught you?
To be more observant, to keep my eyes and ears wide open, and to see the potential stories in everything around me. I like to think that writing has made me more interesting. Writing has also taught me that I really love to write.