Givhan, Cooper team up for Old Cahaba book

Published 10:55 pm Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Two local authors have joined forces to tell a story vital to Alabama’s history.

John Givhan and Judy Cooper teamed up to write the novel “Second Seed, Blooms of Old Cahaba.

Givhan said after reading Cooper’s book “Designs in the Sand,” he decided the two should write a book together.

“I didn’t have to read much to know she was the most imaginative and detailed writer I have ever  read, ever,” he said. “The next thing you know we are writing a book.”

Givhan said he grew up on the fringes of Old Cahaba and Cooper has the imagination.

“We went to Old Cahaba,” he said. “We met outside the St. James Hotel, which is about 15 miles outside of Old Cahaba. That’s where the book started.”

Cooper said she recently went back to Old Cahaba and went to one to the “new” cemetery.

“It’s full of stories,” she said.

Givhan said the book’s historical foundation is based on “Memories of Old Cahaba” by Anna Gayle Frye.

“She has a very vivid recollection of Old Cahaba because she was around 6 years old when the Civil War took place,” he said. “We use authentic stories so that our book is fact, not fiction.”

Cooper said the history is correct, but the stories are from their imaginations.

“It’s based loosely on John’s family,” she said. “I think everyone is going to be amazed.”

Cooper said the project is coming along and the book should be ready for editing by October.

“I write the stories and Judy writes stories, but she is the weaver,” he said. “She weaves our stories together.”

Cooper said the book is a continuing story of a family, which allows the reader to get to know who each member of the family truly is.

“We expect the book to be between 350 and 500 pages long,” she said. “We hope it will be ready for print in the spring.”

Still, the two say they are doing this for fun.

“We are writing this book – quite frankly—because God dropped it on us,” he said. “We’re just having fun.”