Author impressed by book discussion

By Amanda McBride

The Choctaw Plaindealer


Choctaw County received a special visit from Mississippi author Merle Temple on October 1 at the Yarn Spinners Book Club discussion.

Merle Temple is the author of “A Ghostly Shade of Pale” which is a gripping, crime novel based on actual events in Mississippi in the 1970s in ‘old Tupelo and Memphis.’

“A Ghostly Shade of Pale” is Temple’s first novel and is he currently working on the sequel while talking to producers for a possible movie deal.

Temple was invited to Choctaw County to the Yarn Spinners Book Club, part of the MSU Extension Service-Choctaw County, after the club read his book.

During the discussion, Temple was impressed with the in depth discussion and understanding of “A Ghostly Shade of Pale” that the audience had of his book.

“Arriving today at the Yarn Spinners Book Club, Choctaw Co. Library to discuss A Ghostly Shade of Pale. The club prepared the most extensive list of questions about characters, pivotal moments, settings, Southern history within, quotable lines, faith elements, lack of profanity, & interpretations of overall themes & multiple threads. Amazing!” said Temple on his Facebook page after the book discussion.

Frances Coleman and Jan Ballard led the book discussion. Both created questions beforehand to get the discussion audience thinking about the underlining themes of the book.

Some of the discussion focused around the plot of the book, themes, characters’ values, the fight between good and evil and much more.

Joey Loper said the plot was “excellent and very descriptive.”

“It felt like you were almost there and a good balance of suspense and action,” said Loper.

Temple said several times that he tried to be honest in his writing.

“I try to be honest in my writing. Honest and intriguing,” said Temple.

He added that he felt like it was his responsibility to “write a good book and to capture the flavor of the state.”

Tom Coleman said he appreciated the honesty of the book.

“Candor and honesty you used in the book, that’s what I took away from it,” said Coleman.

Temple and Coleman shared a few memories during the book discussion. Later, Temple remembered Coleman by comments made on Temple’s Facebook page.

“With retired Judge Tom Coleman, son of Governor J.P. Coleman, father of Supreme Court Justice Josiah Coleman, & husband to Frances. Tom was D.A. in the Ghostly days, so many memories. The attendees were so gracious & kind with their comments. The give & take during the question & answer sessions lasted for two hours & I wished that it might never end,” said Temple.

The book club and the discussion audience had a lengthy discussion about Michael Parker, the main character of the book, which is based on actual events of Temple’s life.

They discussed his values and how he dealt with the struggle of not becoming part of the world he was defending.

“Our discussions today is helping me with the essentials of Michael. It’s helping me where I’m at a place stuck in the second book. Thank you,” said Temple.

The discussion about the core values of Michael helped Temple relive portions of the book and gave him insight to his current stumbling block in the second book.

Temple appreciated the audience and their in depth understanding of the book and the characters.

“With Jan and Frances. Thanks for a day we’ll not soon forget. The questions & comments were from people who had read Ghostly not in a cursory way, but many knew Ghostly at a personal & nuanced depth that captured the writer’s attempts at subtleties & those messages between the lines. They knew & understood Michael Parker in his triumphs & failures. Laughter and tears today,” said Temple via his Facebook page.

Another part of the book discussion focused on the fact that Temple did not use any profanity in his book. He has actually defended himself for not using profanity in this type of book.

“I try to be real, honest and true and not force things in a book just be commercial,” said Temple.

He later added, “The big editor in the sky wouldn’t want me to do that (include profanity).”

Toward the end of the discussion, Temple gave only one hint about the upcoming sequel to “A Ghostly Shade of Pale.”

“In the sequel, Michael will learn that organized crime he knew was noting compared to the political corruptness coming.”

To learn more about Merle Temple and his book “A Ghostly Shade of Pale” visit

Merle Temple signs copies of his book “A Ghostly Shade of Pale” during the recent book discussion held by the Yarn Spinners Book Club.

Merle Temple signs copies of his book “A Ghostly Shade of Pale” during the recent book discussion held by the Yarn Spinners Book Club.