What if the current economy placed an increasing number of people into positions where bartering was their only way of survival? What if small town America was suddenly flooded with IRS Agents who came to destroy the very fiber of that cultural existence? The Secrets of Clayton County is being written as a Trilogy, in part to support the belief that bartering is a way of life more than it is a deliberate avoidance in paying taxes and as such, extends over more than two decades. The story of Sarah Hunter begins with her first position with the IRS office in Chicago – a job that brings her to Clayton County, Iowa, and being tasked to expose and break up what the IRS deems revenue generation in such a manner to avoid paying taxes. Sarah finds many secrets in Clayton County… secrets which ultimately change her life in unforeseen ways; realizing as much as things change, they remain the same.
New Beginnings: Book 2 of the Trilogy focuses on Sarah’s return to Clayton County, and ultimately becoming a thread in the fiber of a culture of community support. Sarah experiences myriad continued secrets throughout her years in this sleepy little rural community, and comes to understand there is no easy way to be a part of a community and not participate in its underlying culture.
The third and final book in the Trilogy, The Homecoming, takes readers into Sarah’s life as a key community member, wife of a local hero, and mother of two children who have developed into personalities as strong and independent as Sarah. Although the fabric of community and culture remains strong in the final book, and the issue of bartering is revisited again and again, it is the sense of relationships within Sarah’s immediate family that keeps readers turning pages.
Each of these books is written from a genuine sense of knowing the community; author, Don Wooldridge, born and raised in Davenport, Iowa, and lived in the Mississippi River Valley for over 30 years. Grateful for the privilege of living along the Mississippi river, as a writer Don remembers the people of the small river communities and shares their faith that small town values and lifestyle will be everlasting.
Don’s education spans from Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas to Rutgers University in Brunswick, New Jersey. An accomplished writer, he spent 30 years in the technical training and development arena, as a technical writer, instructional designer, and interactive learning systems designer and producer. Wooldridge’s career took him far from his roots… throughout the US and Canada, as well as England, Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands.
Today, Don enjoys putting his voice to print, and using his writing as a vehicle for taking readers back to their own roots. Writing novels inspired by his heritage, Don always welcomes the opportunity to speak about bartering, the Trilogy, or his journey as an author. Don offers his services as a “returning hero” so to speak who can share the rich history of Clayton County through keynote speaking, book readings and author interviews. Don’s greatest desire is to bring forth at least a modicum of the rich experiences he enjoyed in Clayton County, as he turns life into fiction.
Don enjoys putting his voice to print, and using his writing as a vehicle for taking readers back to their own roots. The novel he writes are inspired by these roots; the poetry found on the site has become a “Family Affair,” with his poetry representing his father’s side of the family, and Don’s cousin, Don Zarley’s, poetry representing his mother’s family. Collectively, the family welcomes you and trust that you enjoy the prose.