If you haven't read his books, you don't know what you are missing.
Terry L. Winetsky has written and published two historical fiction novels, Grey Pine and Maria Juana's Gift, under the pen name T. Lloyd Winetsky.
He was at the Sunnyside Library yesterday (Sunday) for a special author's presentation and credits Daily Sun News reporter John Fannin for a review written about Maria Juana's Gift last December.
Winetsky, who lives in Moxee, said there have been several articles written about his work, but Fannin reviewed the book, giving it a hearty thumbs up.
Winetsky said he penned his first novel Grey Pine based on his own experiences and research of the Mt. St. Helens eruption of May 18, 1980.
The book delves into the struggles of a science teacher dealing with and living with his alcoholic father.
As a former teacher, Winetsky's main characters are all teachers.
He told those at yesterday's presentation the story "is rough." There is language contained in the story that some may have difficulty with.
"It is language in context," said Winetsky.
Phillip Stark is the main character, who promised his mother he would look after his alcoholic father, Steven. The story begins the day before the historic volcanic eruption.
On the day of the eruption, Stark views the event as a great scientific opportunity. His perspective is changed the day after, seeing all that must be cleaned up.
Stark's story, said Winetsky, takes many turns.
"He's very disturbed," said the author.
Winetsky read an excerpt from the novel, detailing the young science teacher's venture the day after the volcanic ash fell.
The author said he took liberties, placing the characters in a fictional town where the ash fell six inches deep.
"I use a lot of interior dialogue in my books," said Winetsky, explaining the thoughts of the characters are often depicted in the novels.
In the novels, he also uses a lot of personal experience to give weight to the story lines.
Turning to his sophomore novel, Maria Juana's Gift, Winetsky said the story line is more serious, however he added comic relief through a dog.
The story follows the desperation of a young couple concerned for their newborn daughter and the battle against the medical professionals of 1975.
"There's a bit of a love story at the beginning," said Winetsky.
He said the novel's namesake, Maria Juana, is a custodian helper at the hospital where the baby is born and is a guardian of the babies.
It is Maria Juana who alerts the young parents to the illness the baby is suffering, while the doctors (especially Dr. Serna) seem unconcerned.
The story takes place during the U.S. bicentennial year and the young father chases Dr. Serna.
Winetsky read the excerpt about the chase, Serna and the mayor in a white Corvette convertible and the young father, Jake, in a VW pick-up. The chase ends at the town's bicentennial parade, but more follows.
"There are several flash forwards in the book," said Winetsky.
He said readers sometimes find the flash forwards "choppy," but learn there is a purpose to them.
Again, Winetsky said, there are elements of the book derived from personal experiences.
"However, much of the story is very fictionalized," he said.
Winetsky is working on his third novel Happy Ranch to Watts. The novel is set in Los Angeles in 1968.
He said he grew up in Los Angeles and his first teaching job was in a classroom full of African American seventh grade students.
The story, said Winetsky, weaves some personal experiences with fiction, and he said his editor refers to it as a coming of age story.
Winetsky is about two-thirds of the way through writing the novel, but said his editor has twice stopped him for reorganizing the story.
More about the novels he has written can be found at tlwinetsky.com. He also has several appearances scheduled in the coming months.