TALLADEGA -- This month’s artist spotlight at LMo & Co. on Talladega’s Historic Courthouse Square will feature two visual artists and a new author with an unusual story of her own.
Louise Kilgore’s debut novel, “When Evil Comes Knockin’,” is a murder mystery set in the present day in New Orleans and New York. It is available on Amazon. Kilgore says she finished writing the book and sent it to the publisher around the time she turned 79.
She started writing the book decades ago but returned to it recently and found she had to make some adjustments, she said.
“I got married and had a family,” she said. “I worked on it over the years, made revisions and sent it to the publisher. There were no computers or cellphones when I started writing, so I had to bring the story into modern times.
“When I finally finished it, my daughter suggested I bring it to Amazon. I was very happy to get it done before I reached my expiration date.”
Kilgore has always liked to write, from the time she was growing up in a little coal town in Pennsylvania, where her mother was a teacher.
“There were not a lot of toys, but we always had pencil and paper,” she said. “We didn’t have a lot of books, but I made up poems and stories of my own.”
In ninth grade, she moved to a larger school. An English teacher there would check out books for her under his own name and encouraged her to enter a state contest with a paper on good citizenship. She ended up representing her county.
“I was very shy and quiet and isolated in that coal town, so words were my outlet,” she explained.
She later went on to win $450 in a contest and was published in a national magazine.
“I got it in right before the deadline and didn’t hear anything for about a year,” she said. “They had 5,000 entries and they picked 20 of them, so it took a while to get through all of them. I got $300 for the contest and another $150 for publication. That got me started.”
She taught school in Alabama for about a decade and worked with the Girl Scouts, giving writing workshops and working on her novel.
The title “When Evil Comes Knockin’” arose from an attempt to “think of a title that hadn’t been used,” she said.
Elise Hammonds and Chris Cotter will be the featured visual artists this month.
Cotter’s work will be familiar to regulars at LMo.
A Talladega native who lives in Hoover, he creates collages made from strips of metal from shredded cans. His initial inspiration and many of his best known works involve sports themes, ranging from NASCAR to The Rumble in the Jungle, as well as Alabama and Auburn football. He also does celebrity portraiture, nature scenes and commissioned work.
Before a show last year, he said he had done a few portraits of Paul “Bear” Bryant but had not yet attempted one of Nick Saban. There is, perhaps, some natural tension there, as Cotter is an Auburn fan and graduate.
Hammonds, who holds an art degree from Auburn, has “pursued an artistic career, creating paintings and drawings for clients, galleries and her own personal gratification,” according to a bio provided by the gallery.
“She has enjoyed sharing her knowledge with students both young and old for the past 55 years. ‘I will always be an artist, for I must create. I will always be a teacher, for I must teach. I will always be a student, for I must learn.’”
Her work includes commissioned portraits in oil, watercolor and pastel and pen, and ink and watercolor renderings commissioned by General Mills, Emory University, The Bank of Covington (Georgia) and the Newton County Judiciary in Georgia.
“During her study of the release of the red wolf into the southeastern United States, (her) paintings depicting the red wolf in his natural habitat won the National Wolf Awareness Poster competition for both years she submitted entries,” according to the bio.
She and her husband have a home on Logan Martin Lake.
This month’s artist spotlight will begin at 5 p.m. and will include snacks and drinks. It is free and open to the public.