Author draws from life in Selma

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Selma Times-Journal

Jim Herod, a Selma native, has used his Southern upbringing to combine two very different career tracks: professor of mathematics and novelist.

Herod&8217;s novel, &8220;Gathering Moss,&8221; begins at Tremont Street in Selma. A boy named Wesley Stone spends his earliest years there. While in Selma last week, Herod dropped by to take a few pictures and reminisce.

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The title comes from the saying &8220;A rolling stone gathers no moss.&8221; Stone&8217;s character desires to be someone who &8220;gathers moss,&8221; but his life does not seem destined to turn out that way.

Herod&8217;s experiences play out in the settings of the novel, taking place at the University of Alabama, Georgia Tech, and the University of Montana.

Herod said Stone&8217;s character has a semester at sea, the purpose of which is to gather data related to climate change. Along the way &8212; among other events &8212; Stone experiences a DNA modification, and the possibility for time travel arises.

Herod does say that Stone ends up as a mathematics professor. &8220;Amusing incidents happen as the professor maintains order,&8221; Herod said.

The book is available on Amazon, at bookstore retailers and at the Selma-Dallas County Public Library. Herod said he will likely do a book signing at the library sometime in the future.

Herod was born in Selma and graduated from Keith High School. He went on to attend the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa and received a Ph.D in mathematics from the University of North Carolina.

After publishing textbooks in mathematics and teaching the subject for 35 years at several universities that include Georgia Tech, the University of Karlsruhe in Germany and the United States Military Academy at West Point, he and his wife retired to Clarke County, on the outskirts of Grove Hill.