Augusta-area novelist and Georgia Regents University writer-in-residence Louise Shivers died Saturday morning of heart complications, family members confirmed. She was 84.
Shivers, who hailed from eastern North Carolina, was perhaps best known as the author of the 1983 novel Here to Get My Baby Out of Jail, which won acclaim by USA Today as the Best First Novel of the Year. It later was turned into the feature film Summer Heat, which premiered in 1987 at the Imperial Theatre in Augusta, said Beth Siciliano, Shivers’ daughter.
Shivers penned A Whistling Woman in 1993, and her memoir, My Shining Hour, in January 2012.
“She was just so young at heart,” Siciliano said.
Shivers had been working on a novel set in Civil War-era North Carolina titled Leaving Cold Harbor.
According to The Augusta Chronicle archives, Shivers wrote her works longhand on legal pads in the morning, when her thoughts flowed best. In a September interview, she said she would later make her edits on a computer.
Tom Turner, who was a longtime friend of Shivers, called her “invaluable.” He said they acted as each other’s “first reader,” a person who is trusted with critiquing works in progress.
“We were very honest with each other,” he said. “We knew that we were good. I could turn anything over to her and she could see the merit, but she wouldn’t bat an eye to tell you something didn’t seem right.”
Turner said he admired Shivers for her seriousness toward her work, which had earned her fans across the globe.
“She had the strongest life force of anybody I had known,” he said.
Shivers is survived by her husband of 55 years, Quentin Shivers; two daughters, Siciliano, of Augusta, and Sherrill Cook, of Phoenix; one son, Mark Shivers, of Augusta; and two grandsons.
Funeral arrangements are incomplete, but Sicliano said services will be held sometime this week at Thomas Poteet & Son Funeral Home at 214 Davis Road. Shivers will be buried in a family cemetery in North Carolina.