The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

August 19, 2009

African adventure

Author tells doctor’s story in first book

(Continued)

DANVILLE —

Then, Thomas worked at the Center for Children’s Services in Danville for about a year and taught English as a Second Language at Danville Area Community College.

He joined the Peace Corps in 2002, and requested to be placed in Morocco. While at Wabash, he had met two Moroccans and was intrigued by their culture and country.

After less than a year with the Peace Corps, Hollowell decided to stay in the country. He worked in Rabat as a language instructor and later moved to Ifrane — where he lives now — and taught English at a high school. He speaks French and Arabic.

In 2003, one of his students invited him home to meet a man who had been a POW for 25 years; the student thought Hollowell could write a magazine article about the man’s life.

“I became enthralled with this guy’s story,” he said, referring to the doctor known as Azeddine. He interviewed the doctor at various times over the next year, and began writing the story.

“I wanted the book to be something that would read like a novel, but also read like nonfiction,” he said.

Hollowell talked to several authors and publishers before he settled upon the book’s present format. He spent more than three years writing and editing it.

Trip to Morocco

During this time, Hollowell left teaching and started a travel Web site called Journey Beyond Travel. The company offers customized tours of Morocco. He still owns it, but other people run it.

Because of that connection, he and the publisher are offering a free 10-night trip to Morocco in west Africa to two people whose names are chosen in a drawing. People who have bought the book are eligible for the drawing, with the winner announced in January.

“It’s a very secure country, very modern and Western in their thought,” he said. The people are friendly and hospitable, and rely on tourism. It’s also a diverse country, with coasts, mountains, forests and deserts.

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