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Farragutpress reporter to write Town history


Examining the seven feature personalities whose vision gave birth to the town of Farragut in 1980, and recreating their journey in book form, has become a “novel” idea.

Mayor Ralph McGill, one of seven Town founders scheduled to talk about what he calls “a true American story,” has an angle.

“Use literary license, I’d rather this thing read like a novel than a history book,” McGill said about the book, to be written by award-winning farragutpress reporter Heather Mays, tentatively set for publication sometime in 2012.

“It has to, I think, in order to be interesting.”

The first idea for a book came “about 10 years ago,” McGill said. “We all realized we’re all getting kinda old, and that we had a story to tell and that it needed to be written.”


“We met a few times, we had some outline material together, we talked to a couple of people about possibly writing it,” he added.

However, “It just never went anywhere,” McGill added.

The book idea breakthrough moment, though, came while celebrating the Town’s 30th anniversary last January: a “Founding Fathers” gathering at Town Hall.

“There was a large turnout and a great interest in the story,” McGill said. “People were urging us to think about capturing it in some written fashion for future generations. ... I think that inspired us to go ahead and do it.”

Other living founders are Dave Rodgers, Betty Dick, George Dorsey, Ron Simandl, Eric Johnson and Gene McNally.

McGill and members of Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted unanimously, during its August meeting, to approve a contract costing $10,000 plus “the cost of printing the book,” the mayor said, adding a final manuscript is due in “18 months.”

“We would hope some publisher would pick it up and reduce the cost to us,” he added.

The Mayor emphasized that Town officials would assist Mays in finding sources “on both sides of the issue. Plus, we’ve got all kinds of scrapbook material.”

McGill said Mays, 24, was chosen to write the book because “she’s very objective, very thorough and pretty enthusiastic.”

Though a full-time journalist less than three years, Mays earned The Society of Professional Journalists Investigative Reporting Award in 2009 for a series of stories on sexual harassment allegations at Town Hall.

She has covered FBMA and Farragut Municipal Planning Commission, among other duties, since joining the paper in December 2007.

Mays said the book would illuminate “how each of their individual personalities and experiences shaped how the Town is today.”

Writing her first book, :It’s something that’s going to be very challenging,” Mays added. “I kinda look at it as an opportunity to explore another side of writing.”

About the book’s novel approach, “Maybe we’d have a shot at a movie,” McGill said with a laugh.

 

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