Danville author finds inspiration in forest, legends of Illinois Ozarks
In his first book “Treasure in the Shawnee Hills” Danville author C.C. Wills took readers on a hunt for gold in the hills of Southern Illinois. His second book “Shawnee: The Adventure Continues” follows the same characters, starting out in 1815 in Georgia and culminating in the Shawnee National Forest in 2002.
In his first book “Treasure in the Shawnee Hills” Danville author C.C. Wills took readers on a hunt for gold in the hills of Southern Illinois.
His second book “Shawnee: The Adventure Continues” follows the same characters, starting out in 1815 in Georgia and culminating in the Shawnee National Forest in 2002.
He will be signing his books 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Harrisburg District Library.
The two subjects are natural ones for Wills who loves camping in the Shawnee Hills about as much as he enjoys his currency and coin collecting.
“I’ve gone hunting down in Pope County and Gallatin County and passed through Harrisburg almost every year since I was 14 years old,” Wills said.
In his early 20s he got married he added another trip in the spring to visit the same campsites.
One of his favorites is a site at Concord Cemetery for a base camp and exploring the roads through the forest near Herod. Another is the Knights of the Golden Circle area near Garden of the Gods.
“I’ve always been intrigued with the Shawnee National Forest and the hills. Being from central Illinois where it’s flat farm ground I’m not used to that sort of environment. I’ve always liked the hills, the vast amount of trees and bluffs and for that and the fact I’m a currency and coin collector it worked great into my first story,” Wills said.
His first book dealt with a gold coin cache put into a Shawneetown bank that in 1857 was stolen by five robbers. One of the coins is worth $500,000. The plot jumps to the early 1990s.
The new book begins in 1815 and involves the same modern characters in 2002, also dealing with gold.
“It’s supposed to be a family inheritance. A person in Southern Illinois contacts the main character in Champaign and wants him to come down and look for the family treasure which he's been unable to find,” Wills said.
Wills is currently working on the third book of the trilogy.
“They are parallel in the sense they have basically the same characters and parallel in that they both involve gold, but the stories themselves are actually different,” he said.
“It helps to have read the first to understand what happens in the second.”
At his first book signing, Wills said he was amazed at the number of people who said they enjoy books of fiction based around the facts of the history and present.
“You have an incredible amount of people in your area who love to read books about facts whether its treasure, murders or people being kidnapped, it didn’t matter what it was,” Wills said.
“They wanted to know if it was based on reality.
“Down the road I may pop back in and do a little study on what’s here in the history and create a new book based off that.”