Creating the Novel – Will Henry

Recent book, Will Henry, is about a young teenager who gets a job on the railroad during the depression. The book is fiction, but my father actually started work at thirteen when his alcoholic father abandoned the family. Dad worked construction for most of his life, running heavy equipment on many TVA dam building projects, public parks, Oak Ridge, etc.. To help create the characters in my novel I did a lot of research, but one of the most useful tools helped me visualize the people. I found inspirational images at the Library of Congress in some archived WPA photos. Am posting a few of my favorites.

Novel: Will Henry

Looked at dozens of pictures of trains. Fascinated by them.
Looked at dozens of pictures of trains. Fascinated by them.
Graduation ceremony.
Graduation ceremony.
Man plowing.
Man plowing.
Poverty, written in every line.
Poverty, written in every line.
Children like Harley and Sally.
Children like Harley and Sally.
A tall student at a little desk in one-room school.
A tall student at a little desk in one-room school.

J.R. Biery’s photos

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