Local writer reminisces 


He reminisced about growing up in Charlottesville during the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s.  His recent book, Killing Time in a Small Southern Town, chronicles a murder trial which takes place in Charlottesville in 1959 after the school desegregation act. Prior to this book he wrote a heartwarming memoir about his childhood spent with a cocker spaniel mix in Growing Up with Jemima, followed by Norton’s Lament, a down-to-earth look at depression.

Before reading some passages from Jemima and Killing Time, Bigelow gave wannabe writers in the audience some advice.

“Find a place to write, set a time to write daily and take your writing with you wherever you go,” he said. “While waiting in the doctor’s office, I began writing and when the nurse came to get me, I told her to wait while I finished my writing.” As for writing daily, he finds quiet time away from ringing phones and others demanding his attention and settles into a peaceful corner of the library where he writes for two hours.

Many fiction writers often wonder how fellow writers create their characters. Bigelow said he lets the characters do the work.

“The characters will speak through you. You are the instrument, their voice, and they will grow as you go along,” he said.

He then proceeded to treat everyone to some passages from two of his books. Bigelow is a wonderful storyteller, bringing his characters to life through his words and tone.  Growing Up With Jemima is filled with warmth and honesty about his childhood in Charlottesville on Rugby Avenue. He gives the characters and the places a hometown feeling, reaching back into the past for gentler, simpler times and bringing moments to life through a child’s innocent perspective. He uses charming anecdotes peppered with light subtle humor and his characters really do speak for themselves.

Killing Time in a Small Southern Town is historical fiction about the killing of a couple of African-American boys during the pre-integration of the late 1950s in a small town in Virginia. Bigelow’s wife, Marjorie, who introduced her husband, said, “This is a book you can’t put down.” She wasn’t biased; the passage he read was poignant and riveting, as the father of one of the murdered boys discusses justice with the district attorney. Bigelow’s characters are not flat, but rich, complex and multi-dimensional, propelling his stories forward. His work reminds the reader of all the elements of the past – its southern charm and societal norms but also its violent controversies. 
Bigelow is making a departure from the human world to inhabit the minds of animals in his current work, Animal Jamboree, in which animals teach humans to be good stewards.

“I think this can become a true story. I really believe they are teaching us to become good stewards,” he said. Bigelow added that a portion of the proceeds from his books go to support Caring For Creatures, an animal sanctuary and shelter in Fluvanna County.
Bigelow’s books are available on Amazon.com.

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