History runs deep for Bruce Autry, and the Autryville native has decided to put that history into words in his recent publication, the first volume in a trilogy about the Alamo and Micajah Autry.
Autry, a descendant of Cornelius Autry, who came to North Carolina from France in the early 1700s, may be a distant relative to well-known North Carolina soldier Micajah, who died in the Alamo, but he knows the story very well.
“My novel is a meditation upon my ancestor, Micajah Autry, who died at the Alamo,” Autry noted. “I had never heard of him until a friend of mine during my college days fell in love with a girl from San Antonio, went to visit her during the Christmas holidays, and returned to North Carolina with the news that an Autry had died at the Alamo during the final battle March 6, 1836,” Autry explained. “I filed that fact away in my mind until many years later I, too, visited the Alamo and saw a portrait of Micajah hanging in the chapel. Later I explored our family connection and found that we were distant cousins.”
Autry has just published the first volume of his trilogy “Alamo Hero: The Life and Times of Micajah Autry” as both a paperback and e-book through Amazon.
This story, according to Autry, is a new version on the old tale that begins in 1915 as Mary Elizabeth Autry wished to journey to the Alamo to visit the site of her father’s death and to complete a rite of reconciliation with the dead hero.
“I toyed with the idea of writing something about him, but did nothing with it until after Charles Frazier did his book ‘Cold Mountain’ about his civil-war ancestor,” Autry explained. “I liked Frazier’s book, and then when his agent Leigh Feldman turned down my manuscript, I decided to go back to the Alamo story.”
Final publication took some years, but through the encouragement of publishers and friends, he has finished the first volume and has plans to finish the remaining two volumes later this year.
Autry was born behind Clement Baptist Church on a farm his parents rented. When the purchase of the farm fell through, the family moved to the Massey Hill section of Fayetteville. After graduating from Massey Hill High School, he attended and earned degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, East Carolina University and Duke University. He has been a teacher in the college and private school setting for 32 years.
This isn’t Autry’s first publication — he has penned several essays, short stories and poems — but this is his first major work of published fiction.
“I have tried to use many verifiable facts about the Alamo story, but I have also tried a post-modern spin playing with the myths and legends and letting my imagination follow the ‘what if’ of one of my favorite writers, W.P. Kinsella, until work leaves my readers wondering about where truth and fact cease to be authoritative, and the human imagination becomes the final arbiter of what is really important,” Autry said.
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