Joe Werner: Of Tinners and ’Shiners

Posted By on Thu, Jun 11, 2015 at 9:02 AM

Delta ’Shine isn’t the first time we’ve read of a Memphis “tinner.” Author Joe Werner introduced us to the world of sheet metal workers and to Memphis’ skid row in his autobiographically based The Tinsmith’s Son in 2006. But Hoyt Jackson, in Werner’s new novel, Delta ’Shine (AuthorHouse), is not a tinner any longer. After serving as a captain in the Air Force during World War II, he’s back in Memphis and worse for wear, because he can’t shake the guilt he feels after sending his men — on order of Hoyt’s superiors — to their deaths over Germany.

Joe_Werner_jacket.jpg
These days, Hoyt, with a defeated look in his eyes, would rather spend his nights in the company of a few bourbons at the Red Rose, then head home to sleep it off, which is easy enough to do. Hoyt lives alone in an apartment above the bar, haunted by the ghosts of those doomed airmen and with a view of the telephone poles standing like “drunken timber” outside his window.

But Hoyt moves on. He trades that apartment in Memphis for some peace and quiet in an Airstream 20 or so miles from the town of Holly Grove in northeast Mississippi, a mason jar of Jim Beam in one hand and a book (say, Thomas Wolfe's You Can’t Go Home Again, a favorite of Hoyt’s) in the other.

Hoyt’s peace and quiet, though, is about to be tested: first by a family who moves nearby, with 18-year-old daughter Jenny (not only a real looker but also an avid reader), then by a woman named Sissy, a “highstepper” Hoyt knew back in the day and a welcome presence when she cautiously accepts Hoyt’s invitation to join him in that Airstream.

Jenny and Sissy aren’t the problem, however. Nor is Randy, “tough as a dime steak” but a boy sweet on Jenny. It’s Randy’s step-father, Ethan, who does more than test Hoyt’s newfound peace of mind. He shatters it.

Read More...


Jonathan, a writer and reviewer with the Central Coast of California Writers Association reviews Joe’s book, Skid Row in a recent association newsletter and blog:

A Book You Can’t Put Down

Well, I just could not put the book down.

 

Joe and Amelia Werner saw me as I was marshaling at the Pacific Grove Golf Links and flagged me down.

Joe strode toward me, smiling broadly, as his wife rose from the driver side of the golf cart with her arms wide open toward me.

I hadn’t seen them for two years. We enjoyed a warm reunion talking about what had transpired during their absence,

traveling and playing golf when they weren’t in their home in Memphis, Tennessee. As before, Joe and I traded books that

each of us have written.

Two years ago, Joe gave me a copy of “The Tinsmith’s Son”, a bittersweet memoir describing his growing up during the Depression,

the city of Memphis, the “high-steppers” and the “down-and-outer’s”. I enjoyed the book and could visualize the tinsmith’s shop,

Skid Row, where the shop was located, and felt as if I knew the people he wrote about.

This year, he gave me a copy of his novel “Skid Row”.* I have carried it with me reading every time I had a chance,

going from one character to the next, vividly experiencing their joy and anguish during those hard times.

Many were crushed by hard times and booze, but others, despite tragic situations, were able to maintain their dignity and compassion.

True, it is a work of fiction, but Joe’s characters are so real, their emotions and trials so gripping,

that I feel that I have known these people and have gone through those times at their side.

 

Despite the fact that Joe breaks every rule we learn in composition classes and seminars, his book is an exemplary page-turner.

After reading his work, I have the feeling that I must write from the heart. I must put my experiences on paper and those of

my friends and my students.

 

Some things need to be read. And so, they need to be written.

 

What is it in your life that society needs to know?

 

* The latest about Joe:

Joe has published his 3rd book, Delta Shine. Published by Author House, this book is sure to give you a look

into the eyes of a man, Hoyt, tormented by the War and looking to find peace out in the backwoods.

An unlucky turn of events lands a family out in the middle of no-where with him, and their living together brings an unforseen

and unwanted presence that Hoyt must deal with in his struggle to find peace with his life.

 

Be well.

And do good work.

Jonathan

 

Joe Werner: Of Tinners and ’Shiners

Posted By on Thu, Jun 11, 2015 at 9:02 AM

Delta ’Shine isn’t the first time we’ve read of a Memphis “tinner.” Author Joe Werner introduced us to the world of sheet metal workers and to Memphis’ skid row in his autobiographically based The Tinsmith’s Son in 2006. But Hoyt Jackson, in Werner’s new novel, Delta ’Shine (AuthorHouse), is not a tinner any longer. After serving as a captain in the Air Force during World War II, he’s back in Memphis and worse for wear, because he can’t shake the guilt he feels after sending his men — on order of Hoyt’s superiors — to their deaths over Germany.

Joe_Werner_jacket.jpg

These days, Hoyt, with a defeated look in his eyes, would rather spend his nights in the company of a few bourbons at the Red Rose, then head home to sleep it off, which is easy enough to do. Hoyt lives alone in an apartment above the bar, haunted by the ghosts of those doomed airmen and with a view of the telephone poles standing like “drunken timber” outside his window.

But Hoyt moves on. He trades that apartment in Memphis for some peace and quiet in an Airstream 20 or so miles from the town of Holly Grove in northeast Mississippi, a mason jar of Jim Beam in one hand and a book (say, Thomas Wolfe's You Can’t Go Home Again, a favorite of Hoyt’s) in the other.

Hoyt’s peace and quiet, though, is about to be tested: first by a family who moves nearby, with 18-year-old daughter Jenny (not only a real looker but also an avid reader), then by a woman named Sissy, a “highstepper” Hoyt knew back in the day and a welcome presence when she cautiously accepts Hoyt’s invitation to join him in that Airstream.

Jenny and Sissy aren’t the problem, however. Nor is Randy, “tough as a dime steak” but a boy sweet on Jenny. It’s Randy’s step-father, Ethan, who does more than test Hoyt’s newfound peace of mind. He shatters it.

Read More...


Jonathan, a writer and reviewer with the Central Coast of California Writers Association reviews Joe’s book, Skid Row in a recent association newsletter and blog:

A Book You Can’t Put Down

Well, I just could not put the book down.

 

Joe and Amelia Werner saw me as I was marshaling at the Pacific Grove Golf Links and flagged me down.

Joe strode toward me, smiling broadly, as his wife rose from the driver side of the golf cart with her arms wide open toward me.

I hadn’t seen them for two years. We enjoyed a warm reunion talking about what had transpired during their absence,

traveling and playing golf when they weren’t in their home in Memphis, Tennessee. As before, Joe and I traded books that

each of us have written.

Two years ago, Joe gave me a copy of “The Tinsmith’s Son”, a bittersweet memoir describing his growing up during the Depression,

the city of Memphis, the “high-steppers” and the “down-and-outer’s”. I enjoyed the book and could visualize the tinsmith’s shop,

Skid Row, where the shop was located, and felt as if I knew the people he wrote about.

This year, he gave me a copy of his novel “Skid Row”.* I have carried it with me reading every time I had a chance,

going from one character to the next, vividly experiencing their joy and anguish during those hard times.

Many were crushed by hard times and booze, but others, despite tragic situations, were able to maintain their dignity and compassion.

True, it is a work of fiction, but Joe’s characters are so real, their emotions and trials so gripping,

that I feel that I have known these people and have gone through those times at their side.

 

Despite the fact that Joe breaks every rule we learn in composition classes and seminars, his book is an exemplary page-turner.

After reading his work, I have the feeling that I must write from the heart. I must put my experiences on paper and those of

my friends and my students.

 

Some things need to be read. And so, they need to be written.

 

What is it in your life that society needs to know?

 

* The latest about Joe:

Joe has published his 3rd book, Delta Shine. Published by Author House, this book is sure to give you a look

into the eyes of a man, Hoyt, tormented by the War and looking to find peace out in the backwoods.

An unlucky turn of events lands a family out in the middle of no-where with him, and their living together brings an unforseen

and unwanted presence that Hoyt must deal with in his struggle to find peace with his life.

 

Be well.

And do good work.

Jonathan