By Jacob Bembry
Greene Publishing, Inc.
Back when she was the captain of the North Florida Junior College Brain Bowl team, Tracy Revels, a Madison native, possessed skills like a wizard as she displayed a vast knowledge of many subject areas, particularly in history and literature. She went on to earn a Ph.D. and is now a full professor of History at Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C.
Since she was in fifth grade, Revels was fascinated by the wizardry that Sherlock Holmes seemingly possessed in the books and short stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. During a special program where students and professors were doing research together at Wofford, Revels’ research was done on Sherlock Holmes. That’s what gave her the germ of an idea that began to grow and grew into the novel Shadowfall, which was published last week.
Revels said that when many people read Sherlock Holmes, there reaction is that Sherlock Holmes is a wizard, although he is not. He uses deductive reasoning to solve crimes. She thought, “What if Sherlock Holmes actually had the powers of a wizard?” and she began writing Shadowfall, which is available on Amazon.com.
“I always wanted to be a creative writer, as well as a historical writer,” said Revels.
She said that many of her teachers, including Diane Phillips, encouraged her to write.
Revels has also recently published Sunshine Paradise: A History of Tourism in Florida. Published by the University Press of Florida, it covers tourism in Florida from Ponce de Leon (who many call the first tourist) to the 1820s, when people who were suffering from tuberculosis (then called consumption) sought the warmer climes and the salt water of St. Augustine to the present.
A previously published work by Revels is entitled Grander in Her Daughters: Florida’s Women During the Civil War and was published by the University of South Carolina press.
Revels is hoping to get her latest books into the Old Bookstore in Madison soon.
Although she lives in South Carolina, Revels is never far away from Madison as she visits her mother, LaNora Zipperer, every summer.
“I’m hoping that my class (Madison County High School Class of 1981) will have its reunion next summer,” she said.
In addition to writing and teaching, Revels maintains a blog on Facebook for the British publisher of Shadowfall. The blog is called Strictly Sherlock and can be found by searching for Sherlock Holmes and Arthur Conan Doyle Books on Facebook (where you can also order Shadowfall) or by going to woffproff.typepad.com. On the blog, she writes about the history behind the character of Sherlock Holmes, as well as about books about Holmes. She is also a member of a Sherlock Holmes society, based on the Baker Street Irregulars, in Greenville, S.C.
Madison Native Publishes Books
By Jacob Bembry