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Lee Cole Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Groundskeeping (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon
Echoes from the Abyss (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Collections

Shattered Memories (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon

Lee Cole is a literary fiction novelist who is best known for his debut novel “Groundskeeping,” which he published in 2022.
He was born in Paducah to Hal Cole and Amanda Orr. He went to Lone Oak High School and made history as the first in his family to ever attend college.

His first stint was at the University of Kentucky before he went to the St. Louis-based University of Missouri and ultimately ended up at the University of Louisville for two and a half years.
According to the author himself, he was a terrible student and had a lot of problems during that time and hence it was a miracle that he even managed to graduate.

As an adult, he felt that he needed to pursue his dream of becoming a novelist and attended the Iowa Writers Conference for two years between 2017 and 2019.

Growing up, Lee Cole was one of those lucky authors whose family loved books and hence reading and learning about language is something that he always loved to do.

He remembers that his grandmother was a voracious reader and that her house was full of true crime books, even though she never went to college.

Cole still remembers how she once gave him a giant nonfiction work about the mafia and their history, even though he is certain that he was then too young to read such a book.
While he cannot be too sure if that was what made him become an author, he still thinks that reading that novel meant for adults had a significant impact on him.
After graduating from college, he had a hard time getting a job and spent several years working odd jobs.

For about three years he worked nights unloading freight nights for a Louisville-based UPS Hub.

He worked for about a year trimming trees and many of the diary entries and notes from that period found their way into his debut work “Groundskeeping.”
While he has achieved much success as an author, he does not recommend his path since it took a lot of luck before he got some success.

For the most part, he put all his chips into writing and it all panned out despite the odds.

When Lee Cole first started, he first got the first line of the novel came to mind. He was then dealing with writer’s block and had been living in Iowa so that he could teach as he worked on short stories.
He just could not imagine any issue or topic that could sustain his interest for several years working on a novel. Up until that time, he had spent about six months working on his short stories, but he always found the prospect of writing a novel too daunting.
But ultimately, he forced himself to sit down and pen just a few sentences each day. He was thinking that along the way he would stumble upon a problem or question that would sustain his interest.

Once he started writing, the ideas just kept coming until he was done with the manuscript and published his debut in 2022.

Lee Cole’s novel “Groundskeeping” is a novel set in rural Kentucky just before the presidential election of 2016.

The lead in the novel is an aspiring writer in his twenties named Owen, who is trying to become a productive adult. The man has sown his oats but wants to stop all that and finds a job at a small college, where he is employed as a groundskeeper.
He is going to be staying with his grandfather who is a huge supporter of Donald Trump. His uncle Cort also supports Trump and has a lot of issues given that he is in his early fifties and still lives at home.
For some reason, Cort does not like Owen and the fact that he has come to live in his stomping ground.

Since he is employed by the college, he can get courses for free and decides to register for the creative writing workshop.

Taking the course, he meets Alma Hadzic the writer-in-residence who immigrated from Serbia and is a Bosniak Muslim. She lives in an affluent suburb, has published a novel, went to Princeton, and is younger than Owen.
Soon, Owen and Alma get into a relationship full of complexities since they have very different backgrounds.

A snapshot of the time leading up to the election of 2016, it is also a story of launching lives and young loves that is angsty and in places very funny.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Lee Cole

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