By ANGIE CARNATHAN
The Starkville Friends of the Library chapter is presenting Nancy Dorman-Hickson on Thursday as this month’s Books and Authors presentation at the Starkville Public Library. Dorman-Hickson will discuss the book she co-authored with Joanne King Herring, “Diplomacy and Diamonds: My Wars from the Ballroom to the Battlefield.” The event is free and open to the public, begins at noon and refreshments will be provided. “Diplomacy and Diamonds” will be available for sale, and Dorman-Hickson will be signing copies.
Friends of the Starkville Library Publicity Committee member Page Leftwich said the group is looking forward to hosting Dorman-Hickson.
“We know there has been a lot of interest in her book, so we’re really excited to have her,” Leftwich said. “’Diplomacy and Diamonds’ is a great book about a very interesting character and the subject matter is still very relevant. It’s always fun for us to host a local author, and I know a lot of people who will love hearing her talk about the process.”
The book tells the life story of Herring, the Texas socialite portrayed by Julia Roberts in the movie “Charlie Wilson’s War.”
A former editor at Southern Living and Progressive Farmer magazines, Dorman-Hickson graduated from Starkville Academy in 1978 and from MSU’s communications department in 1982. She worked with Herring for two years to complete “Diplomacy and Diamonds.” Dorman-Hickson said although Herring enjoyed the movie, she didn’t feel her story had fully been told, and she wanted the chance to work with an author who understood her well enough to help her tell the rest of the story.
“I had worked for Southern Living and newspapers, but I had no previous book experience,” Dorman-Hickson said. “Joanne’s agent emailed me and asked me if I’d be interested in ‘trying out’ for this opportunity, and I said sure.”
Dorman-Hickson said she later found out that Herring and her agent had actually been in talks with several well-known authors from all over the U.S., including some best sellers, but Herring had yet to find anyone with whom she wanted to work.
“The thing was these other authors just didn’t understand Joanne,” Dorman-Hickson said. “They didn’t understand the South; they just tried to turn her into a caricature. I understood her even though our backgrounds were vastly different, but I got her pride in the South, I got her strong ties to her Southern roots and most importantly, we were both Christians.”
Dorman-Hickson said her faith is strong, a tie that bound her to Herring.
“Joanne believes the people she’s met and the adventures she’s had occurred because that was the Lord’s plan for her. She says she amuses the Almighty,” Dorman-Hickson said. “My life has been much more sedate in comparison. Perhaps looking in on my humdrum day-to-day existence helps the Lord rest and relax.”
Dorman-Hickson said she always enjoys her trips back to Starkville.
“I think Southerners are much more open. We’re much more empathetic with people, and that’s why I believe I was able to find her voice,” Dorman-Hickson said. “I believe that God has given me the gift of being able to talk to people and really listen –– to have a conversation with someone and articulate what it is others want people to know about themselves. And I’m very thankful for that gift.”
Publisher’s Weekly described the book as “an account of (Herring’s) three marriages, experiences with wealth and poverty, steadfast faith, and role in America’s covert aid to Afghanistan during the Cold War … Herring, a natural storyteller, offers reminisces of a life well-lived, as well as many press clippings … A deeply fascinating woman, Herring manages to live her faith without being overbearing in her dogma. Readers interested in the rich, famous and politically influential will love every minute.”
For more information, visit http://www.nancydormanhickson.com/  or contact the Starkville Library, located at 326 University Drive, at 662-323-2766.