EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - Retired Physicist, Charles Hayes has always loved writing, but it wasn't until his retirement to Tyler in 2000 that he could indulge his talent.
"The first two books are histories and those books are wheat earned me that award," says Hayes.
'That award' is the Jefferson Davis Historic Gold Medal by United Daughters of the Confederacy, which has recently been presented to Hayes.
"They're different because the first is primarily for children and it is drawn. It's drawn as a comic book," adds Hayes.
Hayes second history book is also creative in its approach.
"The second history book is a series, there's over 90 little vignettes, little anecdotes about people who were important or active during that period," says Hayes.
Ironically, Hayes first grabbed the attention of the art world through his sculptures.
"I didn't learn to sculpt. It's that I started sculpting. I know how. I've been an artist all my life," says Hayes.
Hayes bronzes, which were mostly created in the 1980s are now on display at Tyler's Vaslerosa Art Gallery.
They are all limited editions since Hayes success in writing, which he says is much less physically demanding than sculpting.
"This is more for adults," says Hayes.
Even though heh's been widely recognized for his first two books, The Gray and the Blue, and Civil War Limericks, the plot for Hayes two mysteries comes from a real life experience.
"I had a friend in Huntsville, he lay dying in the hospital of cancer," says Hayes.
The friend gave Hayes an envelope that was not to be opened until after he died. A note inside asked Hayes to secure a black valise from his home.
"Do not open...take it somewhere and burn it, completely destroy it without looking at it," the note said.
Hayes did as asked but of course, has always wondered what secret the black valise held.
"Finally, after I retired I thought I'm going to write that novel that I've been thinking about so that was the first novel," says Hayes.
The Briefcase was Hayes third book and first novel.
"The second novel is a sequel to the first one," says Hayes.
Charles Hayes describes himself as a retired physicist and sculptor, who now writes histories and mysteries.
But it does seem that whatever Hayes sets his mind on, he's successful at it.