William Neikirk is an award-winning journalist with more than 40 years’ experience as a Washington correspondent, columnist, and editor. Noted for his coverage of political and economic issues, he was chief economics correspondent, White House correspondent during the Carter administration, and Washington Bureau news editor for the Chicago Tribune in the 1970s and early 1980s. He later served as the newspaper’s assistant managing editor for business news in Chicago and then returned to Washington to cover the Clinton White House. Before joining the Tribune, he worked as a reporter for the Associated Press in Lexington and Frankfort, Kentucky; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and Washington, D.C. His numerous awards include the Merriman Smith Award for presidential reporting. He was a runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize for a series on the impact of foreign trade. His two previous books, both non-fiction, were “Volcker: Portrait of the Money Man” and “The Work Revolution: How High-Tech Is Sweeping Away Old Jobs and Industries and Creating New Ones in New Places.” Now retired, he and his wife, Ruth, both born and raised in Kentucky, live in Northern Virginia.
A letter from bill
I began this book when I was covering the Clinton White House as a reporter in the late 1990’s. As the subway sped down its track from Arlington, Virginia to Washington D.C. , I wrote something every day on my yellow legal pad. I don’t remember how or why I thought of Stella as a character for a story, but she holds qualities of various women I met over the years. As the days went by, her predicament became my predicament on my subway rides.
I spent my first 18 years in rural Kentucky. My boyhood years never left me, and are an integral part of the landscapes and people dotting the Copperhead Club.
I continued writing the story for fun until September 11, 2001. After the horror of that day, it took a long reprieve before its revival from its yellow pad burial ground.
In 2009 my wife was recovering from knee surgery. She asked me about the story I had started 10 years prior. She had not seen it. I transcribed the notes and handed her a packet of 8x 11papers. She read them, said she was hooked. I told her there were no more pages and that I had no idea how the story would develop. She insisted that I should finish it. So, now, seven years later, I’m offering The Copperhead Club to you.
A word from bill
High School class reunion, Irvin, Kentucky