Deep roots in Runnels County inspired author F.C. Pearce's first novel, “Listen for the Mourning Dove,” with the scene set in West Texas in 1953 “during the surface calm and prosperity of post-World War II America, the privileged West Texas Randolph family suffers a terrible blow.”

 Deep roots in Runnels County inspired author F.C. Pearce’s first novel, “Listen for the Mourning Dove,” with the scene set in West Texas in 1953 “during the surface calm and prosperity of post-World War II America, the privileged West Texas Randolph family suffers a terrible blow.”

“As a result, a disparate group of strangers become inextricably linked to the family, and to each other, for the four decades to follow. In the aftermath of their life-altering event, the deep-rooted Randolph clan is left vulnerable not only to threats from the outside, but to more sinister ones from within its own ranks,” the forward in the book explains.

Pearce was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, went to New Orleans and would spend her childhood in Ballinger from the tender age of six. Her links to Runnels County, date back to its inception, beginning with her great grandfather, J.Y. Pearce, who left his civilized life in the east when he heard the Santa Fe Railroad would be going through the town.

“My great grandparent J.Y. Pearce and his wife, migrated to Ballinger in the 1880s when Ballinger was still a tent city,” Pearce explained. “He was the first president of the First National Bank and had a drug store called the J.Y. Pearce Drug Store. Our family’s roots were established at that time.”

She said the book will resonate with residents of the area.

“My roots in Ballinger inspired me to set the opening of the book in West Texas,” Pearce said. “It is such a rich, interesting culture in Ballinger.

“It is really a story that is universal and would appeal to anyone anywhere - it is kind of the good versus evil universal theme,” she continued.  “The book is set in an area that is so familiar to them I believe they will have a more personal experience.”

Pearce graduated from Ballinger High School, and would go on to become a model in Dallas and then later married a diplomat and spent an exciting and extraordinary life in Iran and overseas. She eventually returned to Washington, D.C. Later, she left her life in Washington, trading that in for a rustic residence in Idaho, then it would be on to living in a 30-foot Airstream in New Mexico and now she resides in Santa Fe, with her cat named Sweezer.  She has been busy writing her first novel for the past seven years.

“In 2008 I decided it was time to write the novel that I’ve always wanted to write and it was a promise I made to myself,” Pearce said. “It took a little over seven years.”

The significance of the morning dove is a theme that is woven throughout the book. It becomes a theme in the life of the main character, Cady Frances Randolph and it represents comfort and love. Her father tells her, to listen for the mourning dove because “no matter how old you get, even when you’re as old as me, when you hear one, you’ll know that everything is as it should be.”

“It becomes a symbol of comfort,” Pearce explained. “In her mind she believes it is a message from her father that everything is going to be fine.”

Ballinger artist Susan Mansell painted the cover for the book. Pearce said she saw one of Mansell’s other paintings, and knew immediately she wanted to commission her for the cover art. Pearce explained to Mansell that she wanted the cover to depict a scene from the last chapter of the book.

“It is a perfect depiction of the scene in the last chapter,” Pearce said.

She actually, had the ending of the book in her head first.

“The challenge was figuring out how to get to that ending,” she said.

The significance of the mourning dove, is a theme that is woven throughout the book.  

Throughout her life, Pearce has lived coast to coast as a business owner, project manager, copy writer and freelance writer. And now, she has settled in to her new role as a published novelist. But through all the years, she has never stopped coming to her hometown - she has never missed a Ballinger All-School Reunion.

And she will be returning Saturday, March 26. The book signing will be from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Bickel & Company in downtown Ballinger. She will have copies of the book on hand for sale, but also encourages readers to purchase the book online from Amazon.com where readers have given the book five stars.

For more information on “Listen for the Mourning Dove,” or Pearce, go to http://www.bookleafpress.com.