Here’s a guest post from long-time OVEC member Betsy Reeder:
Hi, Y’all. I’m grateful for the opportunity to introduce my first novel, Madam’s Creek. It grew out of my interest in local history and my love of the Appalachian landscape. I have some hopes for the story:
First, I hope it’s entertaining.
Second, I hope Madam’s Creek reflects the courage and optimism and generosity I find so characteristic of Appalachian culture. I see those traits all around me every day.
My third hope is that this story reminds us that we all come from ancestors—whether one or several generations back—who were poor by modern standards and had little education. But that doesn’t mean they were ignorant. They were tough, resourceful people who had skills and knowledge rapidly being lost in our technological age. They knew much about growing and preserving food. They knew how to forge iron into tools and how to build long-lasting homes and barns. They cared for their children and livestock without doctors and vets. They might look at us, their descendants, as alarmingly unskilled. I hope the dignity of our ancestors comes through.
Another hope is that the story reminds us that despite our nostalgia for ancestors and current family members who worked/work as miners or steelworkers or shopkeepers, the vast majority of our ancestors were farmers. They had a deep bond with the land that sustained them. I believe they would be horrified by the transformations to our landscape imposed by mineral extraction and wonder how their descendants could allow such damage.
Just as protagonist Marcus Lilly learns he cannot do harm to others without harming himself, it’s my conviction we are going to collectively understand, at some point, we cannot do harm to the land without harming ourselves.
But, I promise, the book isn’t preachy. It’s a celebration of Appalachian beauty (including flora and fauna), Appalachian culture, and the brave, proud people of Appalachia during the time of the Civil War. And it’s a love story, too, about two of those brave souls.
There’s more information at betsyreederwriter.com.
Happy Spring, everyone!
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