In Feb. 20 IssueBy Derek AaronRussell County News Editor
Retired insurance and real estate business owner Larry Wills has written an inspirational tell-all book about his life.
His story took shape in 1972 when he was involved in a horrific automobile accident, a moment that changed his life forever.
Wills, who is originally from Carlisle in Nicholas County, now makes his home overlooking Lake Cumberland but it took many twists and turns for him to end up in Russell County.
His book, Please Don't Worry: A True Story of Faith, Hope, and Love, details that journey and encompasses the hardships and highlights that he has experienced in his life.
He began writing the book at his Russell County home in February 2008 and completed the rough draft of the book in November that year.
The book was funded solely by Wills and was published earlier this month by Wingspan Press in Livermore, Calif. and was edited by Susan Owens of Lexington with Tales for Telling.
“My main objective was to be able to help someone in some way,” he said of the purpose of his book.
“I had been to the top of the mountain, you might say, and I've also been to the lowest point that a person could be in life also.”
Wills' book takes you through his life as he grew up on a farm in Carlisle, married his high school sweetheart, joined the National Guard, was involved in a devastating crash that left him a quadriplegic, his subsequent recovery, then his wife's death in 2007, a hip replacement surgery and his latest battle, a bout of lung cancer later that same year.
“I realized the book had something for everyone in life,” he said.
“One might say that the book would hopefully inspire and motivate a person that is having troubles of their own, whether it be a physical disability of some kind or emotional in nature.”
He said after his automobile accident in 1972, when he was laying in the hospital bed, his future looked bleak.
He had been told by three physicians at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C. that he would likely not walk again and may only live to be 45 years old, at the most.
“Things got really dark, I mean darker than black as black,” he said. “But as sure as I'm sitting here, I saw a terrific bright light and I heard a voice and when I had no strength to carry on myself the voice told me not to worry, that I was going to be okay and that they weren't ready for me yet.”
Wills, who will also be featured in the May issue of Kentucky Living magazine, is slated to have an official book release event at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 28 at the Russell County Schools' Auditorium.
Both paperback and hardback copies of his book will also be for sale that day with paperbacks selling for $13.95 and the hardbacks selling for $27.95, plus sales tax.
Wills, who will be giving a short talk at the beginning of the event, will also be personalizing copies for attendees who purchase a book.
He said he also expects many of his out-of-town family members and his editor to make the trek to Russell County for the event as well to go along with his family that already live here.
His book can also be purchased on Amazon.com and hopefully soon at other retail bookstores and outlets, he said.
Wills credits his love for and faith in God as a key reason why he was able to keep the strength to move on with his life and eventually even walk again after suffering a broken neck in the accident.
“With that assurance from what I considered to be God or a representative of God, an angel, I knew that everything was going to be okay,” he said. “But it was quite frightening.”
Wills, who has attended a church most of his life and currently attends Welfare Baptist Church in Jamestown, said through some of his trials he even questioned God's plan for his life and was mad at Him for some time.
He said he thought the trials he and his family had gone through were unfair, but that began to change.
Per a promise he made to his wife, Diana, before she passed, he made things right again with the Lord and promised her he would get back in church. And he did.
“At times, there was no one else to turn to but God,” Wills said.
“We know each other on a very one-on-one, personal basis.”
Writing the book also allowed Wills to free himself of pent-up emotions and memories, some he had even held for more than 30 years.
“If nothing else, I probably got $500,000 worth of therapy out of writing the book,” he said.
“I talk about things that I have never spoken to anyone before now.”
But Wills hopes the book can become an inspiration for others looking for help in their lives who may be going through similar instances.
“My book was written to help other people,” he said.
Indeed, Larry Wills' story will do just that.