I initially started writing the stories for my collection The Acorn Stories when I lived in Nashville, TN, giving them various settings. When I moved to Abilene, TX, I kept noticing how Texans had such a strong pride in and awareness of where they live. I changed the setting of my stories to a fictional West Texas town.
Two years later, I moved to Lubbock for Texas Tech University, and I kept thinking of more ideas for my West Texas town, even re-visiting some of the characters I had created in the initial stories. My studies at Tech greatly influenced the collection, especially after one of my professors introduced me to Sherwood Anderson’s book Winesburg, Ohio.
In many ways, what Anderson had done resembled what I was doing. That book became an obvious choice for my dissertation topic (New Readings of Winesburg, Ohio), and one of many influences on The Acorn Stories.
The Acorn Stories later led to a cancer cure fund-raiser, The Acorn Gathering: Writers Uniting Against Cancer.