Capturing the emotions of families living with loved ones who work underground, Ninie Hammon has written a fiction novel entitled “Black Sunshine,” which will take you to the deep dark depths of eastern Kentucky coal mines.
Now living in Great Linford in Buckinghamshire, north of London, England, Hammon grew up in a west Texas town named Muleshoe. She is a Texas Tech graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Theater. She worked as a reporter, publisher and general manager of several newspapers. She left journalism in 1995 when her husband, Tom, was placed in charge of a Christian outreach to teenagers called Young Life in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Scandinavia for Young Life International.
After traveling to Lynch “on a snowy day in January,” she met the “sweet ladies at the Benham Coal Mining Museum.” She said the ladies at the museum told her she needed to talk to Jerry Asher, of Tremont, before she began writing her book about coal mining.
“After meeting Jerry I found his expertise was more than vital. He gave the story truth and detail, a realness I could never have achieved without him,” said Hammon. “Through long conversations with Jerry, I fell in love with the whole mountain culture. I have such tremendous respect, admiration and awe for coal miners and their families. In that respect, ‘Black Sunshine’ is my favorite book.”
“Black Sunshine” is Hammon’s fifth book. She has just finished her sixth book, “The Cleft.” It will be published in the spring. Previously published are “Sudan,” “The Memory Closet,” “Home Grown” and “Five Days in May.”
“I’m just beginning my seventh book entitled “When Butterflies Cry,” said Hammon. “I was inspired to write it by a friend from Lynch, who is a Louisville attorney. This book, set in West Virginia, was inspired by the Buffalo Creek Coal Mining Disaster in 1972.”
“Black Sunshine” is a story about two best friends who were the only survivors of the 1980 explosion that killed 27 eastern Kentucky coal miners in the Harlan No. 7 Mine, and shattered countless other lives in the close-knit little community of Aintree Hollow. The two young men escaped the mine that day with more than just their lives. Each carried the burden of a terrible secret about another tragedy that occurred after the explosion. More exciting events follow after a memorial service is held 20 years later.
“I worked in the coal mines and am now a volunteer tour guide at Benham Coal Mining Museum,” said Asher. “I have researched different mine disasters and things related to coal mining so that I can tell those who visit the museum actual facts. When Ninie began writing this book she didn’t really know a lot about coal mining. I met with her twice and she visited the museum twice. During those times we talked extensively about scenarios and plots happening in a mine that when the reader saw them they would be realistic. I drew sketches and maps showing her how a coal mine ventilation system worked, how many people worked on sections and how many sections in a mountain — things like that. I enjoyed working with her in the completion of her book ‘Black Sunshine.’”
For more information on her book you may visit her website at niniehammon.com.
Reach Nola Sizemore at 606-573-4510 or at email@example.com