The Story behind ‘The Rising Place’ by David Armstrong

TheRisingPlace_w14312_ibI got the idea for The Rising Place after reading a daily devotional in The Upper Room magazine one morning about a retired school teacher who had just died, leaving no children. After the service, one of the teacher’s former students, from fifty years back, approached his teacher’s niece and told her what a great teacher her aunt had been and how she had positively influenced his life and the lives of several of his friends. The niece was amazed, and a bit ashamed, since she never took the time to get to know her aunt, who she merely regarded as an eccentric old maid.

So, I decided to develop this story into a novel and centered it around, what I thought, was an interesting premise: What if you found a box of love letters written by an old spinster during World War II who had just died—would you read them? And what if you did and discovered an amazing tale of unrequited love, betrayal, and murder that happened in a small, southern town over seventy years ago?

I rarely get writer’s block, but I’ll mull an idea around in my head for several weeks, or sometimes several months, before I finally get the story nailed down. But for some reason, I was having trouble getting started until, one Sunday evening, I had this vivid dream about William Faulkner, my favorite author. In my dream, I saw Faulkner riding a beautiful, white horse around the courthouse square in Oxford, Mississippi, which was where he lived and wrote most of his stories. It wasn’t like a normal dream, though—it was like I was actually there, watching Faulkner as he rode that horse. I’ll never forget that dream because it was so real and inspiring to me. I’ve never understood, and probably never will, what William Faulkner’s connection was/is to The Rising Place, but I got up at 4:00 that morning and wrote the prologue to the book.

A couple of days later, the protagonist, Emily Hodge, appeared in my head, and she told me what her story was and how I should write it.

I had no idea where “Miss Emily” was leading me. The rest of the book just flowed, almost faster than I could write it down.

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: David Armstrong


Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Purchase Link: The Rising Place by David Armstrong

About the Book:

The Rising Place is based on an interesting premise: What if you found a hidden box of letters from World War II that belonged to a reclusive old maid who had just died—would you read them? And what if you did and discovered an enthralling story about unrequited love, betrayal, and murder that happened in a small, southern town over seventy years ago?

When a young lawyer moves down south to Hamilton, Mississippi to begin his practice, one of his first assignments is to draft a will for Emily Hodge. “Miss Emily” is a 75-year-old spinster, shunned by Hamilton society, but the lawyer is intrigued by her and can’t understand why this charming lady lives such a solitary and seemingly forgotten life.

After Emily dies, the lawyer goes to Emily’s hospital room to retrieve her few possessions and bequeath them as she directed, and he discovers a sewing box full of old letters, hidden in the back of one of her nightstand drawers. He takes the letters back to his office and reads them, and he soon learns why Emily Hodge died alone, though definitely not forgotten by those whose lives she touched.

About the Author:

High Res Headshot for VBT

David Armstrong was born and raised in Natchez, Mississippi. He is an attorney, former mayor, and former candidate for the U.S. Congress. Currently, he serves as the Chief Operating Officer for the city of Columbus, Mississippi. David received both an undergraduate and a master’s degree in political science from Mississippi State University, before going on to receive a law degree from the University of Mississippi.

The Rising Place Place, David’s second novel, was made into a feature film by Flatland Pictures before it was published by The Wild Rose Press. His third novel, The Third Gift, will be released by The Wild Rose Press this summer. He has also written four screenplays.

David is the father of two grown sons, William and Canon, and lives in one of the oldest and most haunted antebellum homes in Columbus with a snarky old cat named Butch.

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