Next Page Books in Frisco hosts book signing event with Richard Brock
If you go
What: Book signing with local author Richard M. Brock
When: 3-5 p.m. Saturday, July 25
Where: The Next Page Books & Nosh, 409 Main St., Frisco
Cost: Free; copies of Brock’s book, “Cross Dog Blues: Book One of a Great Long Story to Tell,” will be available to purchase
On Saturday, July 25, The Next Page Books & Nosh in Frisco will host an event with local author Richard M. Brock, who will sign copies of his debut novel, “Cross Dog Blues: Book One of a Great Long Story to Tell.”
Set mostly in Mississippi, “Cross Dog Blues” brings the pioneers of Delta blues music to life as it chronicles original bluesman Charlie Patton and his fictional plan to boost the cause of civil rights through his music. A second storyline falls nearly 100 years later, when a young and penniless Franklyn O’Connor lights out on an ill-conceived adventure from his small hometown in upstate New York to search for his long-lost father.
Both stories, though set apart in history, show similar conflicts for the characters. Brock began constructing the intertwined tales after he and his wife took a trip through the Mississippi Delta, which led him to research the history of blues in more depth.
“In the process of doing that research, I came across all sorts of interesting characters and situations and all of that,” he said. “I started putting together an idea for a story, and this is the story it ended up being.”
The book was released in early April, and Brock, who lives in Frisco, brought it to The Next Page for consideration.
Bookstore manager Lisa Holenko said the cover art and topic piqued her interest, so she gave it a read, and it eventually made its way to the bookstore shelf.
“First of all, the book is really well-written,” she said. “And, it also deals with race relations, which seems really appropriate for what’s going on in the country right now. … You can read this and kind of see some of the advances that we’ve made and some of the parallels.”
Brock said when he started constructing the story four years ago, he didn’t have any idea that the subject matter would be so timely.
“It’s about blues music but not really about the music,” he said of the book. “It’s much more about the effect that the blues has had on the country as a whole, and the world, I guess, and the effect that blues music had on civil rights.
“A big part of the story and a big part of civil rights was these musicians that otherwise wouldn’t be allowed to enter a club or to enter a restaurant or to enter a bar were allowed to play at them, and that kind of gave them that foot in the door, and that’s kind of where I went with the story.”
He posits the question, what if Patton, arguably the godfather of blues, knew the effect that his music had on people and could use it to help move civil rights forward?
“That’s all fictional,” Brock said. “There’s nothing to suggest that he did know anything like that, but what is fairly indisputable is the effect that blues music — and the other music that came about from it — the effect that they had on civil rights and the advancement of that.”
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