AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – With so much negativity happening all around us, one local writer and journalist decided to use her platform to bring some much-needed light into the world.
Charmain Brackett chats with WJBF Digital about her publication, Augusta Good News, and how she wants to continue to spread the good news in and around the city with her gift of writing.
Thank you for joining us here on WJBF Digital. First question, how did you get started with writing? What inspired you to want to start writing?
Well, people ask me because I’ve written about 14 books, “So, did you always want to be a writer?” The straight answer is no. I never wanted to be a writer. I had to be a writer. That was just one of those things I grew up reading and loving to read. When I was in seventh grade, I went to the Augusta Chronicle as part of a tour with my class. I was in Girl Scouts at the time, and they had a journalism badge. I really got interested in journalism and wanted to be a sportswriter, and it all kind of came together with that love of writing. In college, people would say, “So, what are you majoring in?” And I said, “English,” and they would say, “So, you’re going to be a teacher.” Now, I have the utmost respect for teachers, but I knew that I was not teacher material. So, writing was something that I could do.
Now, you’ve mentioned you have 14 books. How can people like learn more about the books? How can people get them?
Well, David of the Book Tavern has them. I have one series, which is six books set in Augusta: a mystery series. And then, I’ve also written a couple of children’s books, too.
What’s the mystery series about?
It’s called Grace’s Augusta Mysteries. I like history, and the history of Augusta. So, I will include some places that you would recognize. I always thought it would be cool if people would read my books and go, “Wow! I’d really like to go to Augusta and see these places. Find out what she’s really talking about.” So, I guess I was inspired by Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and Savannah and the tours. That’s always just been in the back of my mind.
For people who aren’t in Augusta, how else can they get your books?
So, you did mention your journalism career. Most may know you from the Augusta Chronicle. Then, you went on to the Augusta Press, and now, you have your own publication, Augusta Good News. What inspired you to start Augusta Good News?
Well, I’ve always loved Augusta. That’s one thing. It always made me sad when people would call it “DIS-gusta” because I grew up here. I was born here, raised here, and my family has lived here years before me. So, I just believe, there’s there are bad things that happen in this world, and you’ve got to have the good and uplift the good. Overcome evil with good, that kind of thing. So, I just would look around and see all of these stories of people, and we have some great people who live here. You know, no community is perfect, but if you can accentuate the positive, using one of those old clichés. That’s how it came about is just wanting to tell other people’s stories. I really feel like that, you know, we all are different, and that’s fine that we’re different. But if we can learn something about somebody else’s story and maybe find some common ground with somebody else, then that can maybe bring down some of these walls of division that we have.
What has been a response since you began Augusta Good News?
“We need this.” “You doing this is needed.” “Thank you for doing this.” That’s what I hear from people all the time is they can come to my site and find out just the good things that are happening in town, to have your daily dose of good news, give you kind of maybe a jumpstart on your day, and just make you happy.
Do you know how many stories you have done with Augusta Good News?
There are more than 500 on the site, and it launched on November 22nd in 2022. It’s probably is close to 600, but I did not write all of those. I have a few other people who write with me and promote what goes on that’s good.
If people want to read Augusta Good News, or if they want to find out more about Augusta Good News, how can they do so?
Just go to AugustaGoodNews.com, and there it is. You don’t have to pay to read it. It’s there as a community service, I guess you would say.
If you want to give someone some insight, some encouragement, some inspiration, or some advice about how to get into writing, whether it’s creative writing or journalism, what advice would you give?
You know, it’s like I said earlier, I didn’t want to be a writer. It was one of those things that I felt like was inside of me, and I had to do. If you have a gift, a gift to write, or a gift to speak, or a gift to be an administrator, you need to find a career that fits your gift, or you’re not going to be happy. So being in journalism, meeting people, finding out their stories, I think that’s really important that we do something that matches our set of gifts.
With journalism, it’s a hard field to get into, but I think that if you’re really serious about it, if you’re in college, do some internships with some magazines or newspapers. I will say I worked with Don Rhodes, who recently passed away, and I’ve actually written a few things about him. One of the things that I learned was when he was in college, he got a recommendation letter from somebody at the Atlanta Journal [Constitution], and they said he’s a nuisance because he asks everybody, “What are you doing? He wants to learn about their job.” And then this person went on to say, “If anybody wants to do journalism, not for the sake of a byline, not for a paycheck, but just because they think it’s a worthy thing to do, then they should do it.”