Books by Robert Hicks

Robert Hicks is the New York Times Bestselling Author of The Widow of the South and A Separate Country. His love of music and time working in the music industry inspired a group short stories by some of the most influential songwriters in the world which make up the collection A Guitar and a Pen. His latest novel, The Orphan Mother, will be available everywhere books are sold on September 13, 2016. 


The Orphan Mother

An epic account of one remarkable woman's quest for justice from the New York Times bestselling author of The Widow of the South and A Separate Country.

In the years following the Civil War, Mariah Reddick, former slave to Carrie McGavock - the "Widow of the South" - has quietly built a new life for herself as a midwife to the women of Franklin, Tennessee. But when her ambitious, politically minded grown son, Theopolis, is murdered, Mariah - no stranger to loss - finds her world once more breaking apart. How could this happen? Who wanted him dead?

Mariah's journey to uncover the truth leads her to unexpected people - including George Tole, a recent arrival in town, fleeing a difficult past of his own - and forces her to confront the truths of her own past. Brimming with the vivid prose and historical research that has won Robert Hicks recognition as a "master storyteller" (San Francisco Chronicle), THE ORPHAN MOTHER is the unforgettable story of one woman's heroic struggle in the face of overwhelming adversity and the undeniable strength of a mother's love.

A Separate Country

Set in New Orleans in the years after the Civil War, A SEPARATE COUNTRY is a novel based on the incredible life of John Bell Hood, arguably one of the most controversial generals of the Confederate Army--and one of its most tragic figures. Robert E. Lee promoted him to major general after the Battle of Antietam. But the Civil War would mark him forever. At Gettysburg, he lost the use of his left arm. At the Battle of Chickamauga, his right leg was amputated. Starting fresh after the war, he married Anna Marie Hennen and fathered 11 children with her, including three sets of twins. But fate had other plans. Crippled by his war wounds and defeat, ravaged by financial misfortune, Hood had one last foe to battle: Yellow Fever.

A SEPARATE COUNTRY is the heartrending story of a decent and good man who struggled with his inability to admit his failures--and the story of those who taught him to love, and to be loved, and transformed him.

The Widow of the South

In an Author's Note at the end of his book The Widow of the South, Robert Hicks tells us that "when Oscar Wilde made his infamous tour of America in 1882, he told his hosts that his itinerary should include a visit to 'sunny Tennessee to meet the Widow McGavock, the high priestess of the temple of dead boys.'" Carrie McGavock, The Widow of the South, did indeed take it upon herself to grieve the loss of so many young men in the battle of Franklin, Tennessee, which took place on November 30, 1864. Nine thousand men lost their lives that day. She and her husband John eventually re-buried on their own land 1,481 Confederate soldiers killed at Franklin, when the family that owned the land on which the original shallow graves had been dug decided to plow it under and put it into cultivation.

Before the battle begins, Carrie's house is commandeered for a field hospital and all normal life is suspended. Carrie is anything but normal, however. She has buried three children, has two living children she pays little attention to, has turned the running of the house over to her slave, Mariah, and spends her time dressed in black walking around in the dark or lying down lamenting her loss. She is a morbid figure from the outset but becomes less so as the novel progresses. The death going on all around her shakes her out of her torpor, but death is definitely her comfort zone.

One of the soldiers who is treated at the house is Zachariah Cashwell, who loses his leg when Carrie sends him to surgery rather than watch him die. They are inextricably bound in some kind of a spiritual dance from then on. Their reasons for being drawn to each other are inexplicable, apparently, because they remain unexplained, and when Cashwell tells Carrie he loves her, she beats him nearly to death because she loves him too. At least, that is the reason Hicks gives. He violates that first caveat given to all writers: "show us, don't tell us." There is doubtless something deeply flawed in Carrie and screamingly symbolic about her behavior; it is surely elusive. Too bad, because Carrie was a real person whom Hicks lauds for her compassion and ability to grieve without end. Then, he throws in this gratuitous "love story" and confuses the issue. Carrie's relationship with her husband and children remains unexamined. Hicks is better at describing death and "the stink of war" than he is at life. If you read War and Peaceand loved all the war parts and were bored senseless by the peace parts, this is your cup of tea.

The Widow of the South
By Robert Hicks

A Guitar and a Pen

This unique collection presents, for the first time, the literary work of some of the best storytellers in the world: the songwriters who cut and polish tales down to sparkling three minute gems. A blend of fiction and nonfiction, humor and poignancy, these tales cover a wide range of styles and country artists. 

Nashville, Music City USA, is a place where entertainment and artistic fortune are built on the bedrock of songwriters. It has been said in Nashville over and over that "It all begins with a song." Country music's wordsmiths have shaped and molded some of the greatest stories ever told into three and a half minutes that fit neatly on the radio. The editors of A Guitar and a Pen set out to answer the question, "If they can put all that into a song, what could and would they do with a blank piece of paper and a pen?" The answer lies in this remarkable collection of creativity and insight. 

Co-edited by Robert Hicks, New York Times bestselling author of The Widow of the South, and by John Bohlinger and Justin Stelter, A Guitar and a Pen features a stunning array of talent. This collections features contributions by Charlie Daniels ("The Devil Went Down to Georgia"), Tom T. Hall ("Harper Valley P.T.A."), Bob McDill ("Song of the South"), Tia Sillers ("There's Your Trouble," "I Hope You Dance"), Gary Nicholson ("One More Last Chance," "She Couldn't Change Me"), Mark D. Sanders ("Daddy's Money," "It Matters To Me"), Bob DiPiero ("Cleopatra, Queen of Denial," "You Can't Take the Honky Tonk Out of the Girl"), Kris Kristofferson ("For The Good Times," "Sunday Morning Coming Down"), Hal Ketchum ("Hang In There Superman," "Sure Love"), Bobby Braddock ("He Stopped Loving Her Today"), and Janis Ian ("Society's Child") to name a few. 

In "A Rock," Kris Kristofferson tells the insightful and humorous story of how an explicit natural rock formation brings chaos to a small farming town out west. Collection editor Robert Hicks presents "Gathering Together," a quirky contemporary story of a Southern family. This is just a handful of the wonderful contributions to this entertaining collection.

Nashville: The Pilgrims of Guitar Town

Photography by Michel Arnaud. Text and Stories by Robert Hicks.

A photographic portrait of Nashville, Tennessee, and of the residents and newcomers who have all bee seduced by the promise of 'Music City, USA'. Photographer Michel Arnaud and writer Robert Hicks wander beyond the Grand Ole Opry and Music Row to a place filled with high hopes, hard work, and, more than anything else, guitars. Likening the city to 'Hollywood in the 1920s', Hicks introduced Arnaud to residents famous and infamous, from the struggling pickers still waiting to be discovered to local legends who bask in the spotlight.