As Corey Stultz is talking, the conversation makes the hairs on his arms raise, despite the muggy July heat and the bland music in the background of the coffee shop.
The topic of conversation is his novel “Teachings of a Shaman: A Story of Deliverance & Redemption,” which will be released July 13. He is describing the first time he got feedback from a reviewer.
“This happens all the time when I talk about my book. I get chills all over my body,” he said.
The Taneytown author’s first book, which he self-published, follows a thoughtful young man with one “fatal flaw” — a heroin addiction that developed after the death of his father. On the way to court-ordered rehab center, an accident leaves him stranded in the desert without his memories until he is found by a Navajo shaman.
It’s not autobiographical, but Stultz has an eventful story of his own. After spending what he describes as 25 years as a high-functioning alcoholic, he was sentenced to serve time in the Carroll County Detention Center in 2013 after being found guilty of driving while impaired by alcohol.
It was there that he wrote the first draft of “Teachings” as well as several other works. Before that, he had never really considered writing.
“I don’t like playing cards. I’m not a huge TV person … so I found something else,” he said.
On the fourth day, I started writing and I didn’t stop the whole way through.”
His pace was frenzied.
“It’s not really like I was coming up with the words. I was writing down what I was hearing the characters say, as crazy as that sounds. I can tell you to this day how that woman was sitting on the couch when that couple was arguing,” he said.
Stultz recalls that when Kimmel asked what he’d been writing about, “I realized that I was kind of tripping over my own words when I was trying to explain to him what they were all about because it was the exact opposite of what I was being taught in his classes,” Stultz said.
Kimmel, who has been volunteering at the Detention Center for around 30 years, said he remembers Stultz as an inmate who was receptive to the message of Good News Jail & Prison Ministry of Carroll County.
Their volunteers are at CCDC seven days a week to provide church services, Bible studies and other programs for the incarcerated. He said it is important for hope and faith to be a part of other services too like health care and resources for reintegrating into the community.
“We work on the heart. We work on the soul,” he said.