Sponsor Spotlight - January 2019
-story by Lisa Monti
Michael Warner describes his publishing venture, Cultured Oak Press, as “kind of an experiment” that strikes “an unusual chord.” His website features Warner’s writings about art, culture and food along the Mississippi and Louisiana coastlines, with the goal letting the voices of under published writers be heard through blog posts and books.
In Warner’s view, finding good material to publish shouldn’t be a problem in this creative region that is known for its embrace of colorful characters and devotion to good food, family and the past.
Warner unexpectedly set out on the path to publishing while putting together a work of his own. “I was working on a project that turned into a book and I thought a good way to approach it would be to set up a publishing company and make it the first project out the door.”
Warner, a native of New Orleans, started working on the anthology back in November 2017.
“A lot had been written by and about Saxon but his early works were largely ignored,” Warner said.
“My mother, Jeanne Warner, knew him quite well. She was a longtime Bay St. Louis resident and she introduced me to him many years ago. I have almost 20 hours of taped interviews with him. His life was just fascinating.”
The research led Warner to Alberta Kinsey, an early French Quarter artist who painted scenes of local courtyards, patios and buildings. “I was researching her life and it turns out she was a close friend of Lyle Saxon,” Warner said.
He then accepted a position in San Francisco, heading legal work at a Pfizer Pharmaceuticals research site. He retired from Pfizer a few years ago and now works as an attorney for a small biotech startup in San Francisco. Warner and his wife, Connie, divide their time among Bay St. Louis, the St. Louis area and San Francisco.
Warner said his choice of The Cultured Oak name for his publishing effort is another bit of creative experimentation, tying the iconic Live oak with the South’s literary tradition.
“It’s evocative of the region here and I wanted it to be evocative of literature.”
“I’m hoping to find some neophyte writers along the Coast who might have an interest in submitting their writings for publication.”
If you would like to be considered as a guest blogger, send your ideas to info@CulturedOak.com along with some information about yourself. No experience is needed, just a good idea.