Suzanne Hendricks has had dreams of being a published author since she was in elementary school in southwest Georgia. Her parents, Drs. John and Sandra Shockley, who now reside in Morgan County, encouraged their oldest child to share her fantastical stories with her siblings, cousins, aunt and uncles. After many years of writing essays about her childhood memories that have been shared on social media, local newspapers, and even a family cook-book, in November 2023, Suzanne published her debut novel, Garden of Ash. The new author notes that the themes of the story – growing up during the 1980s, living on a farm with a big, complicated family, the sense that magic must exist – come from her own memories, but the story line that includes the main characters of Asher Ganit and the Wesley family, are pure fiction.
Mrs. Hendricks recently donated a copy of her novel to the media center at Swainsboro High School. Mrs. Kelly Torpy, media specialist, was excited to offer the book to students, faculty and staff. On the school’s Facebook page, Mrs. Torpy wrote “Who knew?!?!?! Our very own math teacher, Mrs. Suzanne Hendricks, is a published author!” Of the donation, Mrs. Hendricks said, “I wanted students at SHS to know that you can be a math teacher AND write fictional stories. Dreams don’t have to fit in a box.”
The author’s website, www.suzanneshendricks.com, contains this plot description of Garden of Ash:
Chaos has followed Asher Ganit his entire life. He is completely broken by the greed and evil in the world when his wife is murdered, and his one-year-old son kidnapped. Abandoning his agricultural legacy, tossing aside his magical gifts for tending crops, Ash takes to riding the train rails across America. A lead on his son’s location sends him back to Dogwood, Georgia, a place he has struggled to forget. Yet in the pastoral town, chaos finds Asher once again, and this time, more than his own family is at stake.
Both print and ebook are available online at Barnes & Noble. Other ebook options, as well as short stories and essays, can be found on the author’s website.