About the Book
Book: The Past Ever Present
Author: Debra Coleman Jeter
Release Date: August, 2020
A fly-on-the-wall account of making a television show, and a great examination of country living in the first half of the twentieth century, The Past Ever Present revolves around the relationship between a boy and his grandfather. When Clay is cast as a regular in the TV series Christy, his grandfather Clifton serves as his on-set guardian. The series is set in a poor farm community, which is eerily similar to the one where Clifton grew up. Being on the set of the show provides a dramatic transformation for both, as Clay comes of age and Clifton comes to terms with his past.
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About the Author
Debra Coleman Jeter has published in popular magazines, including Working Woman, New Woman, Self, Home Life, Savvy, Christian Woman, and American Baby. Her first novel, The Ticket, was a finalist for a Selah Award, and her most recent, Song of Sugar Sands, a finalist for a 2020 Next Generation Indie Book Award. Her short story, “Recovery,” won first prize in a competition sponsored by Christian Woman; and her book The Past Ever Present (originally published as Pshaw, It’s Me Grandson) was a finalist in the USA Book News Awards. She is a co-writer of the screenplay for Jess + Moss, a feature film which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, screened at nearly forty film festivals around the world, and captured several international awards.
As the mother of Clay Jeter and the daughter of Clifton Coleman, Debra Coleman Jeter is uniquely qualified to tell their story.
More from Debra
For those of you familiar with Catherine Marshall’s novel Christy or with the two-season CBS television series based on that novel, The Past Ever Presentshould feel like an old friend. For those of you not familiar with Christy, consider The Past Ever Present an introduction to something you are bound to love.
I remember the day my son Clay was invited to audition for a television show called Christy. I did not make the connection, though I had read Christy years earlier. Then he was invited for a call-back in Townsend, Tennessee. It was there we first realized Kellie Martin (star of Life Goes On) had been cast as Christy; she was there that day, and Clay recognized her. Then I had a chance to read a section of the script, and I recognized the story, to my delight.
If you haven’t read Christy, you should. It is simply wonderful. If you love it, or if you are interested in true tales about child actors (my son Clay), or about growing up during the Great Depression (my dad Cliff Coleman), I hope you’ll love The Past Ever Present. The book was a finalist in the USA Book News Awards.
Clay is cast as a regular in the series Christy, filmed in the hills of eastern Tennessee, at the age of nine. Much of the usual struggle for recognition and approval associated with the Hollywood industry finds its way to this isolated mountain community. Because both Clay’s parents are working full time, his grandfather Clifton serves as Clay’s guardian. The television series being filmed is set in a poor farm community, much like the one where Clifton grew up. The show brings back memories for Clifton and, while Clay is working, he watches and remembers. The book highlights parallels between Clay’s antics and Clifton’s memories of his own, in addition to the parallels between the characters and their adventures in Christy and those in Clifton’s past.
This was a very unique book that I found fascinating. I thought it was a time slip book, but really it’s more than that. I have always thought being on television would be fun. Being young like Clay probably made him feel a little uncomfortable. I know the show the book references and have enjoyed watching it. What makes this a good story for me is the relationship between Grandson and Grandfather .
The set reminded Clifton about his own childhood because it is set during when he grew up. I have to stop here for a moment and tell you how much I loved going back in time with Clifton. My grandfather lived on a farm and every summer I would spend two weeks with him. Secretly I wanted to live with him. The stories he told me were so exciting and every evening we spent together I was able to find out more about my grandfather. He was the kindest and most generous man I have ever known.
The book is a look at life during two time periods and how close Clay and Clifton become. I think sometimes we forget the wisdom of the older generation. Clay is learning lessons not only on set but from a man who has much to share. Clifton captured my heart and I’m glad we get to read about his adventure as a child. What a wonderful book that shares lessons on historical events as well as what it is like to be a child actor. Whatever happened to the good old days?
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
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Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 21
To celebrate her tour, Debra is giving away the grand prize package of a $20 Starbucks gift card and a signed copy of the book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.