Darrell Huckaby, right, asked country music disc jockey star Moby, left, to narrate the audio version of "Need Two."
For author/educator Darrell Huckaby, "Need Two" is the gift that keeps on giving.
The Newton County native's first novel, a humorous account of two small-town friends who defy all odds to attend the 1981 Sugar Bowl -- where Huckaby's beloved Georgia Bulldogs won the national football championship -- was published in 1995, and several years later the book was re-released in paperback.
Now the longtime Heritage High teacher is moving into a different realm, offering "Need Two" as an audio book.
"We've had a lot of requests through the years as audio books have become more popular," Huckaby, who is also a sought-after speaker, said. "I did a comedy CD five or six years ago called 'Porterdale City Limits' and it turned out to be a lot of fun. When I started thinking about an audio book, I knew I wanted it to come out during the football season, with the target market being Bulldog people."
As he was making plans for creating the audio book, Huckaby was slowed by a host of ailments, including prostate cancer, and knew he was not going to be able to sufficiently hunker down enough to read the book, which is nearly 300 pages long.
"I started having health problems in the spring, and my voice just wasn't strong enough to read the whole book," he said. "So I had to find somebody to do the job for me."
Enter a gentleman named James Carney, better known to country music fans throughout the Atlanta area as Moby, the hall-of-fame disc jockey and radio personality. With his "Moby in the Morning" show syndicated on nearly a dozen Georgia radio stations, Moby and Huckaby made acquaintances several years ago via the popular "Small Town Soap Box" feature on Moby's show.
"There's a portion of the show every day called 'Small Town Soap Box' where I'll share things of various mindsets, usually contributed by listeners," Moby said. "One day I was at a radio station-sponsored Bulldog tailgate party in Athens before for a game and Darrell came up to me and said I've heard you read at least two or three things I've written on your show. And I came to find out he was right.
"So we got to talking and I asked him if he'd do a reoccurring feature on the Moby Show, which we call 'What the Huck.' We've been doing it on Wednesday mornings for the last three or four years, and Darrell has become a dear buddy of mine."
When Huckaby asked Moby about supplying the voice for "Need Two," the veteran broadcaster jumped at the invitation, although he'd never taken on such a project.
"I'd actually written the forward to one of his other books, but I hadn't read 'Need Two,'" Moby said. "So he sent me a copy and I read it right away -- it was an easy read and I found parts that made me laugh out loud and parts that made me cry. I recorded it in my home studio and would read a chapter or two at a time, and then go back and edit. So the 'Need Two' audio book has 31 well-delivered chapters and an epilogue.
"It was a chore, a major project, and I took it very seriously. I enjoyed doing it and I'll stand by this statement -- it ain't bad!"
Huckaby said he greatly enjoyed hearing Moby's take on his written words.
"I'm really pleased with the project -- Moby did a great job reading it," Huckaby said. "His vernacular matches my writing. It's a really nice combination. I'd forgotten how good that book really was. It was funny hearing it, and I think people will enjoy having 'Need Two' in all its different mediums."
Never, ever able to resist poking fun at the citizenry residing outside of the Bulldog Nation, Huckaby joked that "I tease my Auburn, Clemson and Georgia Tech friends that I've done something for them -- I've finally made 'Need Two' available for those who can't read. OK, that was meant in fun."
In audio book form, "Need Two" is contained on seven compact discs and can be heard in its entirety in a little more than five hours.
"That means you can listen to it all the way to Jacksonville," Huckaby, who earlier this year teamed up with his wife Lisa to write and release "Second Helpings: The Southern Eatin' Cookbook," said. "Or, you can listen to it twice en route to the Sugar Bowl. It's the perfect compliment to any bowl-game trip."
To celebrate the audio-book release of "Need Two," Huckaby will host a book signing event from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 5 at Conyers Pharmacy, 1179 West Ave. in Conyers.
Huckaby's health issues are the subject of his next book, "You Took Out My What?" He's considering a pair of subtitles: "One Layman's Experience With Prostate Cancer" and "Living Proof Prostate Cancer Can Kill You."
"I'm excited about it," Huckaby, who plans to retire in May after 38 years in the classroom, said. "Writing this book helped me work through the whole ordeal."
For information on the audio book of "Need Two," visit www.darrellhuckaby.net.