Libby Atwater began telling other people’s stories in 1989, and in 2003 she was asked to accept an unusual assignment: to help tell a father and son story, although the father was no longer alive. She wrote The Spirit of Villarosa based on interviews with Marc Ashton, transcripts of Horace Ashton’s stories, and Horace’s scrapbooks. Her initial attempts did not capture the entire story. In 2014 she contacted Marc Ashton, who had refined the manuscript and still shared her desire to publish this book. Together they produced the story that will debut in 2016. The journey has been long and arduous, but she and Marc believe that his and his father’s story should be shared with the world. She jokes that because it took 13 years for The Spirit of Villarosa to mature, it deserves a Book-Mitzvah.
Atwater’s award-winning memoir What Lies Within debuted in 2013, and the first chapter of its sequel, What Took You So Long?, appeared in the 2015 Oracle Fine Arts Review of the University of South Alabama. She’s written professionally for more than 25 years, and her work has appeared in newspapers, magazines, and anthologies.
In October 2015 she received a Lifetime Achievement Award in the field of personal history from the Association of Personal Historians at its 20th anniversary conference.