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Sandy and Wayne

In the hard-scrabbled Ozark Mountains that border Arkansas and Missouri, Sandy Coker is used to standing her ground as the only women lead inspector in state highway construction.

In the early 1990's, she's a fierce woman in a world of concrete who has worked long and difficult hours earning the respect of her mostly male colleagues and employees.

Now, she is face with a new challenge— Wayne Sheridan, who is the dirt foreman on one of the biggest heavy construction projects of her career.

Author Steve Yates

Yates writes:

"When he finished he pushed the mic back on the clean desk and faced her. The whole of the trailer, its linoleum and countertops, metal file cabinets, its plans rolled neatly on heavy wooden dowels, everything was more spic and span than any headquarters she could recall. But she chalked this up to Maurer just beginning on AR 4005.

'What's this you do in your sleep?' Sandy asked him.

He grinned more broadly, and she noted that his straight teeth were not too yellow. His hair was peppered gray, but thick and wavy. He seemed mischievous and appealing to her, more than was safe for him to be.

'Better not say.' He flicked the cigarette on the linoleum and pressed it out quickly and efficiently with the heel of his work boot. 'So, you must be the Arkansas Highway Department's idea of a lead inspector?'

Here was the attitude she expected. 'Idea? I'm the fact buster.'"

Will Sandy and Wayne be able to face the challenges, tragedies, and violence that surround them? Or, will their relationship be the greatest victim of all?

The novella, Sandy and Wayne, was the winner of the inaugural Knickerbocker Prize and is published by Dock Street Press.

Steve Yates is the author of five works of fiction including The Legend of the Albino Farm: A Novel from Unbridled Books. He is the author of the Juniper Prize-winning Some Kinds of Love: Stories, and the novels Morkan's Quarry and its sequel, The Teeth of the Souls.

His fiction has been anthologized in Yonder Mountain: An Ozarks Anthology and The Literature of the Ozarks. He is associate director / marketing director at University Press of Mississippi, and lives in Flowood with his wife Tammy.

Music for this episode was written and performed by The Snake Sutras, Donavan Suitt and The Madley Children, and singer songwriter Ashtyn Barbaree.

Theme song by Brandon Markin, Louisa Rook, Katy Elliott, and Trevor Bates.

Thank you to actor Brandon Markin and V. Wirges, and Louisa Rook for voicing Sandy.

Generous funding for Arts & Letters Radio was provided by the Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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Contact Arts & Letters Radio at artsletters@kuar.org or via phone at 501-916-6400.

Our mailing address is: Arts & Letters Radio | KUAR 89.1 | 5820 Asher Avenue, Suite 400 | Little Rock, AR 72204.

Executive Producer and Host: J. Bradley Minnick
Producer & Story Editor: Mary Ellen Kubit
Sound Effects, Mix and Mastering: Christopher Hickey

Arts & Letters Radio is a production of Living the Dream Media, Inc.

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