Journalist, educator, and mother Nadia R. Watts disclosed that the most difficult part of writing her most recent book, “Thomasville in Concert: The History of the Thomasville Entertainment Foundation Since 1937,” was being apart from her two muses—artistically driven sons Sam and Ben.
Both were also the inspiration behind her writing company’s moniker Two Muses Communications. They pounded on her study door, yet she remained squirreled away, typing furiously to complete another chapter every two weeks before coming up again for air.“They’re both incredible writers, too,” remarks Watts. “I think the inspiration that they truly give me is that any little thing can be a big story in my family. Those are the stories I like to collect and tell. Even if it’s a one liner it can be funny, or sad, and it can inspire me to come up with other ideas.”
Small stories can build an impressive legacy, a phenomenon Watts experienced as she puzzled together the history of the Thomasville Entertainment Foundation, a membership-driven concert organization that began in 1937. She was commissioned to write a book in celebration of TEF’s 80th Anniversary by long-time archivist Linda Hester and artistic director Janice Faircloth.
Watts looks forward to signing the finished product for readers on National Independent Bookstore Day at The Bookshelf in Thomasville, Georgia, on Saturday, April 28.
Watts’ career as a journalist has been a full one, though the TEF project was her first foray into writing a non-fiction book. The first newspaper she ever wrote for was a self-published periodical called “The Funny Page,” that she cocreated with her sister on a mimeograph machine and distributed to their elementary school classes.
In high school, Watts had the opportunity to work with a newspaper journalist whose warmth and support spurred her to pursue writing at the College of William & Mary in Virginia where she was editor of a news feature magazine. After graduation she dove into a career as a journalist, and wrote for numerous publications before earning her master’s in Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
“What I learned, which has been important to teach in any journalism classroom, is that regardless of any story you’re assigned, you have to find the human element in whatever you’re writing,” says Watts. “That’s where your reader is going to connect with the piece. That’s what makes a story so interesting.”
Watts has honed her style to be “efficient, clean, and concise,” while giving an attention-grabbing and fun spin so readers can connect with her work. She loves getting to know the people behind a story, and is unafraid to ask hard questions but is accessible enough that she can create an open conversation. Ultimately, this journalistic approach served her well as she delved into TEF’s history.
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