July 16, 2016, my books will be for sale in The Country Store at the Natchitoches-NSU Crafts Festival. Here's my bio:
Given the name Mary Lou Gregg at birth, I grew up in Smith County Mississippi, south of Taylorsville and north of Hot Coffee. My father’s farm was less than a mile from Leaf River swamp. Down the stream, my Uncle Newt Knight established the Free State of Jones during the Civil War.
I received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Southern Mississippi. My late husband, Robert Cheatham and I taught in the Greenville, Mississippi, schools.
Eventually we moved to Ruston, Louisiana, where he taught music at Louisiana Tech University and I taught part time while taking care of our daughter Christie. I received an Associate Degree from Tech in nursing and worked at Lincoln General Hospital.
After his death in 2002, I devoted my time to writing and traveling to see my daughter Christie Marie Underwood, who is a dairy nutritionist with Purina-Land of Lakes.
The day after Christmas in 2015, I married John Cooke a retired petroleum land man. John and I are living happily in Shreveport.
My books include a novel Solomon’s Porch, two story cookbooks, three nonfiction inspirational books, one first-century Christian historical novel entitled Abi of Cyrene, and a series called the Covington Chronicles. The novels in the series are Secret Promise, The Courtship of Miss Loretta Larson, The Dream Bucket, and Manuela Blayne. Each book stands alone. They are about life in the early 1900’s in and around an imaginary south Mississippi town called Taylorsburg. Abi of Cyrene, The Courtship of Miss Loretta Larson, and The Dream Bucket have won awards.
Currently I am co-authoring a novel with Sarah Walker Gorrell, a Taylorsville, Mississippi, resident. She maintains blogs and writes in a column in the local Taylorsville paper. Our new book will be the fifth in the series.
Up to now the Covington Chronicles have been family-style novels that adhere to the standards of Christian publishing. Some of the subject matter in the current book Sarah and I are writing requires a few graphic details and depiction of violence to tell the story. We are writing it as tastefully as possible.
I like to explore social issues while evoking strong emotions and trying to entertain with enjoyable stories. Abi of Cyrene deals with some issues women have always faced, such as taking care of a family while the father is away. Secret Promise depicts domestic abuse and the oppression of African Americans during Reconstruction years. The Courtship of Miss Loretta Larson delves into discrimination against impoverished Italian immigrants. The Dream Bucket portrays spousal abuse. Manuela Blayne is the story of a young African American girl, who has been deserted by her mother and left to live with her grandparents, who were slaves. She faces discrimination and abuse from many angles.