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Sharpsburg man's novel inspired by his late son

July 16, 2006|by JULIE E. GREENE

SHARPSBURG - Kenny Smith's first novel, inspired by his late son Kory, is a love story about a man and his son.

"Kory's Lot" also is a supernatural fantasy with witches and a father who, after discovering his ability to heal, considers bringing his son back from the grave.

The setup's similarity to Stephen King's "Pet Sematary" is no mistake, but the stories diverge from there, Smith says.

"Kory's Lot" is about the father-son relationship and how a parent can feel after losing a child, Smith says. But it's not preachy. A preachy lecture is not something Smith would have wanted to hear or read during his son's illness or after his death.

Instead Smith says he aimed for a good, edgy book that he hopes helps others "get it."

Smith, 38, who lives south of Sharpsburg, wants readers to appreciate the important people in their lives and how quickly they can be gone.

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Perhaps reading the book will result in a child getting an extra fishing trip or walk through the park with a parent, he says.

Smith named the son in his tale after his own son, Kory, who became sick at age 4 of brain stem glioma, an inoperable brain tumor in the brain stem. Kory died in 2001.

"Kory's Lot" takes place all in one day, March 24, 2006 - the anniversary of Smith's son's birthday.

There are lots of little things from his relationship with Kory in the book.

Writing the book was part of the healing process for Smith.

He says his wife, Leona, told him even if the book never sells a single copy, writing it probably has served a greater purpose.

He has laughed more, finding the writing process a release.

"Kory's Lot" is intended to be the middle book of a trilogy. Smith hopes to release the first book in the series by the end of 2006.

Smith, an independent financial adviser for AIG Financial Advisors, wrote "Kory's Lot" under the pseudonym Tom David. Tom and David are Smith's oldest brothers.

The book's local connection is obvious with references to local landmarks like The Maryland Theatre, Antietam National Battlefield and Sharpsburg area streets.

It also contains references to local people such as Patrick Roy, the Keedysville man who died in the USS Cole bombing.

In addition to the boy in the book being named for Smith's son, Kory, the witch is named for his wife, Leona.

People shouldn't read anything in that, says Smith, who has taken to referring to his wife as "Leona, not the witch."

"Kory's Lot" ($14.95) is available at Turn the Page Bookstore Cafe in Boonsboro, The Rainbow Connection in downtown Hagerstown, The Odyssey in Williamsport, Sharpsburg Amoco, American Deli on Sharpsburg's Town Square, Gettysburg Civil War Museum in Gettysburg, Pa., and at www.amazon.com and www.tomdavidbooks.com.

Smith will hold book signings on:

· Saturday, Aug. 26, and Sunday, Aug. 27, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at The Odyssey in Williamsport.

· Sept. 14, from 3 to 6 p.m. at Michelle's Restaurant in downtown Hagerstown.

· Sept. 23, from 2 to 4 p.m. at Savage River Lodge in Frostburg, Md.

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