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Janis Owens Books In Order

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Publication Order of Catts Books

My Brother Michael (1997)Description / Buy at Amazon
Myra Sims (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Schooling of Claybird Catts (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

American Ghost (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

The Cracker Kitchen: A Cookbook in Celebration of Cornbread-Fed, Down Home Family Stories and Cuisine (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
Hidden in Plain Sight: A History of the Newberry Mass Lynching of 1916 (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Don't Quit Your Day Job: Acclaimed Authors and the Day Jobs They Quit(2010)Description / Buy at Amazon

Janis Owens is a folklorist, memoirist, premier storyteller and novelist from Florida. She was born in 1960 Marianna as the last daughter and child of a minister of the Assembly of God. Her father would later quit his position to become a life insurance salesman since money was tight. As a teenager, she went to the University of Florida and studied at the Harry Crews Creative Writing Workshop. She would later get her English major and minor in Southern history degree from the same university. The award winning author made her debut with “My Brother Michael” that she first published in 1997 to much popularity. The novel won Best Novel at the Chautauqua South Fiction Awards. She has also written essays on life in Florida that has been featured on “Writer’s Digest” and “The New York Times” among many other publications. She was once referred to as one of the finest novelists of the generation by Pat Conroy.

Shortly after her father quit his job as a minister, he moved the family to New Orleans where they would live for a few years before they went to Hattiesburg in Mississippi. They would eventually settle in Ocala, which is where she spent much of her childhood year. Shortly after she graduated from high school, she got married to Arkansas native Wendell Owens. Soon after giving birth to their first daughter, she graduated with a bachelor from the University of Florida. Stuck in the house with nothing to do, she began writing the manuscript for My Brother Michael, set in her hometown of Marianna Florida. She was only twenty four years old when she wrote the novel. Given the popularity of her debut, she decided to make it into a series and published “Myra Sims” in 1999.

“My Brother Michael” the debut novel of the “Catts” series of novels is a moving narrative of forgiveness, sibling rivalry, guilt and love set in the American south. Since they were children, Michael has loved Myra who is now married to his brother Gabriel. Gabriel has now left town as he intends to go find a job in academia. Michael, ever dependable and steady, stays back home and becomes one of the most important men of the small community in Magnolia. But even though Gabriel found his dream job, he is repeatedly drawn back to Myra as he cannot stay away from her. In the meantime, she is dealing with ghosts from the past that threaten to tear her fragile Baptist family apart. It is a story with a sense of place that is at once familiar and true for anyone that has lived in the American Deep South. Myra Sims is a character that combines vulnerability with strength to make for a very intriguing personality.

Janis Owen’s second novel “Myra Sims” she tells the story from the perspective of Gabriel’s wife Myra Sims. It is the same story but in a different voice which is where Janis shines as she manages to write an intriguing story that does not have a hint of redundancy. The character combines vulnerability and strength tells her story of how she was left behind by Gabriel Catts. From Myra we get to fill in the blanks that had been left by the first story that was told from the perspective of Gabriel. It is a story of victory and tragedy set in the American south with its familiar landscapes and characters that make for an intriguing and enthralling narrative. If you read “My Brother Michael” the first of the series, you are sure to find “Myra Sims” an even more enjoyable read.

“The Schooling of Claybird Catts,” the third novel of the “Catts” series by Janis Owens is the story of Michael. His father recently died and he now finds solace in the love of his family. He has his beautiful but mysterious mother, his know it all and lovable sister Missy, Cissie his devoted grandmother and Simon his newly grown up brother. The death of his father left him devastated but surrounded by family, he feels that life is at least bearable. But then his uncle Gabriel comes back to town. He is a stranger that Claybird has never set eyes upon as he had left years ago to go pursue a career in academia. He is a man surrounded by mystery but his intellect and humor are unquestioned. In no time, he takes the place of the family patriarch and assumes the role played by Claybird’s deceased father. Claybird and Gabe are soon best friends and coconspirators. But a heart wrenching revelation following a slip of the tongue destroys everything and turns the young man’s world upside down.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Janis Owens

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