BLOOMS OF OLD CAHABA: Givhan, Cooper release new book

Published 12:45 am Thursday, January 19, 2017

Writing is something that John Givhan has always had a passion for, and his newest book “Blooms of Old Cahaba” tells stories based on events from the his life.

The book was co-authored with Judy Cooper, who wrote the novel “Designs in the Sand.”

“I had just finished reading the first three chapters of Judy’s book, and I knew that I wanted her to write this (Blooms of Old Cahaba) book with me,” Givhan said. “I took her to Old Cahaba so she could see it, walk on it and just have a hands-on experience. From there, the book just took off. I really couldn’t have found a better co-author. I feel like we complement each other very well.”

Cooper said she enjoyed the opportunity to co-author with Givhan.

“I love to write, and after my last novel ‘Designs in the Sand’ was released, John, having read my book, asked me to co-author a book with him about Old Cahaba, the Old South and his family,” Cooper said. “Being from the Heart of Dixie, the idea intrigued me, so I agreed.”

The book is based around the time leading up to and during the Civil War, but Givhan said that most of the stories are based on things he saw and heard as a child growing up near Old Cahaba.

“I grew up just a short distance as the crow flies from Old Cahaba and there were a lot of different people around,” Givhan said. “Most of the stories in the book are based on facts. A lot of the stories are based on things from my family’s history and things I saw growing up around Old Cahaba. I really just wrote about what I actually saw, I just changed the names to protect the innocent. I really just wanted to tell all of these stories that have been in my head since childhood.”

Givhan said that his grandson was the ultimate inspiration for the book.

“When my grandson, John Bruce Bolen, was only a mere 18 months old when he inspired me to write this book,” Givhan said. “When I looked into his eyes, I saw Jesus. I wanted to expose him and his family to the agony I experienced in my sendoff to the Vietnam War by visiting a like situation in the South leading up to and including the Civil War.”

Givhan is a soldier, rancher, attorney and a published author of his memoir “Rice and Cotton, South Vietnam and South Alabama.” He was awarded the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star, the Air Medal with nine Oak Leaf Clusters and the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for his helicopter pilot combat service in the Vietnam War.

The new book was released on Jan. 3, and is currently available on Amazon. The e-book will be available in a few weeks.

“We are looking forward to speaking at different civic and church groups about the book,” Givhan said.