Novelist Alan Cockrell Unveils The Restless Earth, a Sweeping Historical Novel About the Discovery of Alabama’s Only Super-Producing Oil Field.
Author Alan Cockrell has unveiled his debut novel, The Restless Earth, a sweeping saga of the quest for black gold in Mid-20th Century southern Alabama. The novel released to retail on April 14, 2022, in hardback, trade paperback, and all major ebook formats from WordCrafts Press.
Set in the fictional town of Fossil Rim, Alabama,in the aftermath of World War II, The Restless Earth is a compelling literary novel about the drive, determination, unbridled enthusiam, resilence, and downright stubbornness of a bygone species—the wildcatter. Love and loss, friendship and animosity, corrupt politicians and desperate citizens all jumble together as the possibility of an impending oil strike creates an explosive atmosphere that could ignite into a conflagration of biblical proportions.
Grady broke silence in a low, menacing tone. “You bought the Lampasas rig?”
Grady leaned forward and looked squarely at Ethan. “They didn’t tell you?”
“Tell me what?”
Grady took a pack of cigarettes out of his shirt pocket and lit up. “Well,” he muttered thoughtfully, smoke streaming from his gaping nostrils, “of course they wouldn’t tell you. They wanted to get rid of that thing.”
Ethan waited for the explanation that seemed slow coming.
“That rig’s snake bit,” he said out of the side of his mouth, the cigarette jumping in his lips as he spoke. “It’s got bad luck. That damn thing’s never drilled a single producer.”
“Every company that owned that rig has gone out of business. Every hole it drilled was a duster.”
He tapped the ashes off the end of his cigarette. “It had problems. Lots of ’em.” He paused for a pull from the Pabst. The other men watched him and waited. “That damn thing stayed stuck more’n it drilled. I think it might have left more junked holes behind it than dry ones. Mechanical problems, too—mud pumps always breaking down. I know they went through three or four engines and put in a new draw-works.”
He sniffed. “One time the cable snapped while they were raising the derrick. The whole shebang slammed down so hard it rattled windows for ten miles. And that’s not all.” He paused while they all stared at him. “A man got kilt on it. Derrick man. Fell. He hit right there on the drill floor in front of the driller and roughnecks. Splat!”
He paused. Ethan sensed he was allowing them all to form a picture in their minds of the ghastly scene.
“Like I said, that thing is snake bit.”
“The opportunity to fashion a novel around actual events is one that comes around rarely, I think,” muses author Alan Cockrell. “The culture of success vs. failure in the petroleum industry by individuals pursuing compelling dreams is fading. Modern workers and followers of the industry have little idea of the struggles of those who laid the groundwork for today’s technological successes. As a petroleum geologist myself, I think they should know—and enjoy the knowing.”
Cockrell embeds in the novel the not-so-subtle message that success is at the fingertips of those who are willing to work for it. But he also intimates that success rarely results from individual effort and determination alone. “Success almost always requires others to come into our lives with ideas, encouragement, and support,” he notes. “The deep message is those helpers and enablers who pass through the success-seeker’s life were sent his/her way by a Power higher than mere fate. The take-away is not the achievement of the success-seeker, but what he discovers inside of himself as a result of the success and the difference his success makes in the lives around him.”
“Alan Cockrell is a skilled researcher and a compelling storyteller,” said WordCrafts Press publisher, Mike Parker. “The Restless Earth was truly one of those novels I simply could not put down. Set in the turbulent mid-century era of unbound American optimism, the story will resonate with those who love tales of risk-takers, rugged individualists, and gamblers; but it will equally appeal to fans of historical drama, dastardly doings by unsavory characters, and even romantic suspense.”
About the Author
Author Alan Cockrell has had two and one-half careers, maybe more depending on how you scrutinize it. “I retired from the United States Air Force Reserve as a Lieutenant Colonel and pilot,” Cockrell explains. “My second career was at United Airlines, finishing there as a Boeing 767 captain. While serving in the Air National Guard and USAF Reserve I used my geology degree from the University of Alabama to explore for oil and gas. At 13 years, that would be the half-career.”
Alan began writing in 1993 about his experience flying in the Persian Gulf War, which led to his first book, Tail of the Storm. Near the end of the 20th century he penned a history of the oil and gas industry in the southern states, Drilling Ahead: The Quest for Oil in the Deep South.
Alan currently spends a lot of time dragging a travel trailer across America’s back roads with Eleanor, his lovely wife of nearly 50 years. Connect with Alan at his website: alancockrell.net