Aiken author signing copies of first book, ‘James and the Medal of Honor,’ on Saturday
When Johnny Turner saw a gap in bookstores in the Christian youth section, he decided to fill it and wrote “James and the Medal of Honor.”
Turner will sign copies of his first published book from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Fully Armored Christian Store at 2563 Whiskey Road in the Target shopping center.
“While searching for good reads for my own children, who were in middle school at the time, I found that there was very little out there for the middle school children – even less in the Christian youth section and in Christian bookstores,” said Turner, who originally is from Charleston but moved his family to Aiken 25 years ago. “I used to write a little bit in school and when I was younger, so I thought I’d pick up pen and paper and start writing for Christian youth fiction and see if we could put a couple of more books on the bookshelf.”
The book, which takes place in 1975, tells the story of a young boy who lost his father in the Vietnam War.
“His father’s Medal of Honor is the only thing that he has to remember his dad by, and he loses it,” Turner said. “The story is about his trying to find the Medal of Honor, but along the way, he finds so much more.”
The book’s target audience is children ages 9 to 14.
Turner called the book a cross between “Huckleberry Finn” and “The Little House on the Prairie.”
“Many people…have that story in the back of their minds they would like to write one day. This is that one for me,” he said. “It’s just good reading, getting back to basics and leaving a lot of the craziness out of it. It’s just a really good, solid, faith-based book.”
Turner said the recurring theme of the book is that all things are possible through God.
“We may be imperfect and struggle in a lot of ways and come up short a lot of times, but in the hands of a perfect God, all things are possible,” he said.
“James and the Medal of Honor” is the first book in a series called Apple Blossoms. The second book should be released this summer, Turner said.
“It’s an ongoing series with James and a couple of other kids he meets from middle school,” he said. “It’s about a group of kids growing up together, facing life’s issues and working things out together through their friendship.”
Also an illustrator, Turner created the art for “How to Get a Gorilla Out of Your House,” written by Geraldine Yount. The book is for very young readers ages 5 to 8, Turner said.
A third book, “Unlikely Heroes,” is now at a publisher.
“They’re sitting down right now to discuss whether to sign me on,” Turner said.
Turner is on Facebook at Apple Blossoms Book Series, on WordPress and on YouTube at CYF, Christian youth fiction.
The book also is available at Fully Armored Christian Store.
“The owners, Samuel and Ka-Trina Bufkin, have been a huge blessing to me,” Turner said. “I’m able not only to do the book signing but they’ve also put it on their bookshelf. For an author or a writer, to get your book put on a bookshelf is huge. It’s kind of like a Super Bowl win – touchdown.”