Meridian Star

November 8, 2013

Authors team up for book of local legends

The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN — By Brian Livingston

    It isn't often that two accomplished authors decide to team up for one book project but that is exactly what June Davis Davidson and Richelle Putnam have done.

    The end result is the "Legendary Locals of Meridian", a book that highlights the people who from the beginning of Meridian's history to the present day have made an impact in the area.

    "This took nine months and we each talked to people we thought were instrumental in the development of Meridian and Lauderdale County," Davidson said. "I took the historical people and Richelle concentrated on the arts and entertainment people."

    This newest book is a fresh addition to Arcadia Publishing's popular Legendary Locals series. The book boasts more than 200 images of some of the people who make Meridian legendary. Arcadia Publishing is the leading publisher of local and regional history in the United States.

    Davidson and Putnam were asked who were some of the most interesting people they interviewed for the book. Davidson said an actress who agreed to be a part of the book only under the threat of a lawsuit was the one for her.

    "Diane Ladd told me no so many times and then finally agreed to let me use her bio for the book," Davidson said. "She said if I changed a letter she'd sue me so I told the publisher to make sure everything was exactly right."

    "I'm a musician and always been associated with arts and entertainment so sitting down with Elliott Street was a real treat for me," Putnam said of the actor, writer, and film and theater veteran. "I also enjoyed talking to the people who were more than 100 years old. The things they have seen in their lives."

    More book signings are scheduled and Davidson and Putnam invite everyone to get a copy of the book to see those people who have been influential in Meridian. But neither of them are resting. Both are working on books now.

    "I'm doing a book on the history of general stores," Davidson said. "The old family owned country stores are getting fewer and fewer. To go throughout the state and see the ones still in business and talk to the owners, it is really a snapshot into our past."

    "I'm currently working on a children's book," Putnam said. "It is geared toward the middle school children so it is a little different in that respect."