Author Recalls San Angelo Roots


At the age of 17, Traci Borum and her grandmother boarded a plane set for the British Isles. For three weeks the pair traveled the green and rain-moistened countryside, visiting historical landmarks and soaking in the culture. Decades later, Borum hasn’t had the opportunity to return, however the experience made a lasting impression on the English instructor, and is now the setting of her first published work, “Painting the Moon”.

Set in the quaint English village of Chilton Crosse, the story unfolds as a 30-year-old Californian woman, Noel, inherits a small cottage from her late aunt. Adapting to her new surroundings, Noel begins to learn more about her family history, discovers secrets and reunites with her first love, an Englishman named Adam she met on summers abroad.

Borum has been writing novels since she was 21, she says, and “Painting the Moon” was first hatched some seven years ago. The first couple of efforts were experimental, works of learning in which Borum tried to figure out the protocol and etiquette of a published author.

By the time “Painting the Moon” found its way into her publisher’s hands, Borum had already drafted books two and three in the series, each focusing the main role on characters of the same village.

“It’s not 50 shades of anything,” she laughed. “It’s what I kind of describe as cozy, women’s fiction romance.”[[{"fid":"7070","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default"},"type":"media","attributes":{}}]]

Elements of herself, her friends and her family are present in the book, Borum said, however not to the point that people will recognize themselves in reading. The main character has many similarities to Borum, and the love is largely based on good platonic friendships she maintained with boys as a teenager at Central and in college at ASU.

“I guess I just didn’t do it on purpose,” she said, referencing writing herself into the book. “She’s (Noel) inquisitive and she’s kind of a deep thinker and she’s kind of careful with her choices—sometimes too careful—so this is kind of an interesting set up for her to go across to England and make a new life there. It’s kind of scary for her at first.”

A full-time instructor of English and creative writing at Tyler Junior College, Borum spent her formative years in San Angelo, inspired by teachers that pushed her along the way. From age 6 to 21 she lived in San Angelo, attending Crockett, Glenn and Central before graduating and going to ASU.

Borum recalled “Mr. D”, Lt. Col. Oliver Earl Duerksen from her sixth grade writing and literature classes at Crockett, Cindy Maedgen teaching English and creative writing at Central and Louise Jones who taught senior English at Central.

“Thinking back about San Angelo, [I remember] just how many teachers were really influential on me…I appreciate, now being a teacher, looking back and seeing how they inspired me and helped me,” she said.

Church, friends and family were also integral pieces of her life in San Angelo, she said, and since her book has been published, she’s seen an outpouring of support from the community.

“I have friends who are like family still living there,” she said.  We still keep in touch, have been to each others weddings, showers, etc, and we've spent some holidays together since I moved away. Church was a huge part of my growing-up in San Angelo. First Baptist, and then Park Heights Baptist, which is where I spent my teenage years.”

So far, feedback from those who have read “Painting the Moon” has been positive, Borum said. Friends and family have been the first readers, which she admits makes them a biased audience, however bloggers and reviewers not known to her have begun to praise the work as well.

The book is clean and centers on love—a deviation from the steamy best-sellers known to the genre these days—however Borum doesn’t seem worried that it’ll be too clean to amass an audience.

“I think love is a good theme because it’s of family, romantic love, love of friendships that develop, a lot of different kinds of love,” she said. “…but it’s also about life and family and there’s some loss in there, too.”

Borum’s own family can be found on the pages as well.

“At the beginning of each chapter, I have a quote from the aunt that passed away. It’s an advice that she gives about life and art and painting,” she explained. “My grandmother is actually a painter, she’s an artist, she’s about 92 years old. She was my source of great inspiration and also these quotes.”

The inclusion of her grandmother seems fitting, given that she was the chaperone that took Borum on her only trip to England, which largely inspired the book. Now, she’s working out the kinks in book two, which will soon be released by the same publisher.

Borum’s book may be ordered on Amazon or via her publisher, both in electronic and paperback formats. For more information on the author, visit her website here.


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