As an acknowledged master of contemporary historical fiction, John Jakes is no stranger to the best-seller list. The author, whose Gods of Newport will be released this month by Dutton Press, has published many well-loved books, and some have even become top-rated TV miniseries.
The most famous of these is the North and South Trilogy, which aired on ABC from 1985-1994 and chronicles the lives of two friends from opposite sides of the country who meet at West Point Military Academy during the years leading up to the Civil War. The critically acclaimed production follows the friends and their families throughout the course of the war, from start to Reconstruction, and spans three generations of people. Starring Patrick Swayze, James Read, Kirstie Alley and Lesley-Anne Downe, North and South scored an Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Costuming for a Miniseries or Special in 1986; it was nominated for a Golden Globe that same year. The entire three-disc set can now be purchased on Amazon.com. for $51.55.
Jakes is no stranger to Sarasota, either: he and his wife, Rachel, are part-time residents. Most recently, Jakes was in town as a featured author at the Sarasota Reading Festival on Nov. 4; he spoke about writing The Gods of Newport and its role in the chronology of his career. For more information on John Jakes and his work, visit www.johnjakes.com.