Local author creates book about Kinston's athletes
What began as a revision for one book turned into a historical journey for Garry Jones.
Jones, a graduate of Kinston High School and published author, went back to a novel he had written decades ago, but decided to move in an alternative direction as time passed.
“I started working on ‘Wrong Place, Wrong Time: A Gun Survivor’s Story,’ back in 1995,” Jones said. “It was a true story about something that happened to me and in the book I included some of the great Kinston athletes. When I went back to revise the book — which wasn’t published until 2007 — guys like Reggie Bullock and Brandon Ingram were kids, and I wanted to include players like them. As time went on, my focus shifted toward Kinston and its great athletes.”
The revision culminated in his sixth book: “Kinston, N.C.: The formula to go pro,” which documents current athletes — including the New England Patriots’ Derek Rivers — along with facts about the city’s accomplishments in sports.
“I wanted this book to include the entire city — not just blacks, whites, people in the NBA or NFL,” Jones said. “You have athletes from Kinston who played baseball and golf, and there are tremendous coaches who deserve recognition because of what they did to help these athletes get to where they are. This book wasn’t about exclusion.
“One of the things that interested me the most was how people say Kinston has won 11 state championships in basketball, with six coming from Kinston High School and the other five from Grainger High School. When I did my research, Adkin High School won three state championships as well, so the city should have 14. It seemed like I was learning different things about Kinston as I got into writing this book.”
Jones said it was a 2-year process to write the book, not just learning about the history but getting clearance to run pictures. Still, it was well worth it, especially after the reception.
“This was the hardest book for me to write, especially when it came to getting permission from the people who took the pictures,” Jones said. “Some athletes like (the late) Charles Shackleford told me I could use some of theirs, but really I had to go to the photographer because they owned the rights to the pictures.
“Out of all the books I’ve written, this has sold the most so far. I was surprised because I didn’t think people would pay $35 for a hardback copy — this is the biggest book I’ve published size-wise — but my wife said it should be that way to be remembered as a keepsake of Kinston’s history. I didn’t think it would sell like it has, but I’ve gladly been proven wrong in this case.”
Vikki Jones, founder of VMH Publishing and Garry Jones’ wife, said the book has been amazing in terms of both reaction and sales.
“It’s a great thing to see the response,” Jones said. “People have been excited about the book and love the work, imagery, layout and reflection. Seeing everything from the outside, it’s been wonderful to hear people enjoying quality work representing the city of Kinston.
“As a publisher, you want to work with the right authors and visionaries, and the immediate response to this entails that we made the right decision getting behind the book. At the same time, it shows Kinston as an example of what others could do to go pro and get stronger in their craft. This book has exceeded all expectations and I’m excited to see where it’s going.”
If you would like to purchase this book, go to http://vmhpublishing.com/bookstore-3.