Welcome to Laura DeNooyer-Moore, whose novel about Appalachia comes out of her own experience in Appalachia. Laura is offering an e-book giveaway to one fortunate commenter.
Throw 22 Midwestern education students in a bus and drive them to western North Carolina to help in the mountain schools, and you’ve got a culture clash. Turns out the teacher aids have the most to learn.
Such was my first introduction to southern Appalachia.
Enter Mr. Woody. He lived forty percent of his life covered in sawdust. He spent half the week in the forest seeking the right wood—the way his family did for generations. His chairs were so solid he could balance each on one leg with all of his weight on it. No doubt he could make a fortune with his chair-building skills.
Yet he couldn’t tell you how long it took to make one.
Meet the blacksmith who never advertised. Though he was booked solid with orders, he took his time with 22 college kids. He demonstrated how to forge a fanciful leaf from a hunk of iron, then preached a sermon from Revelation 2 about how the attributes of iron compared to Christ.
Though blacksmithing provided a livelihood, his lifeblood wasn’t from any exchange of money. It came from the instruments of his trade, and the personal exchanges between him and anybody who entered his shop.
To put it in mountain terms, Mr. Woody and the blacksmith cared no more for money than a crow cared for a holiday.
We students also learned mountain clogging, hiked the Appalachian trail, and were captivated by the storytelling magic of Richard Chase, resident folklorist. I was struck by the number of people who created meaningful lives by a route much different than those seeking the prosperity of the American Dream.
With little money, few possessions, and no races up the ladder of success, these folks still enjoyed rich lives—a foreign concept to me then. No fancy homes, expensive cars, or Caribbean cruises. But they were wealthy with things they could never lose: a richness in spirit, a deep contentment, a joy in daily life, work, and family.
That primed the creative juices: “What would happen with a clash between big-city northern values and southern Appalachian culture?” I wrote a prize-winning short story about it when I got home.
I tucked the tale away but it wouldn’t rest in peace. Over the years, those characters beckoned me back to their hills until I succumbed and wrote their story in novel form.
Are secrets worth the price they cost to keep? Ten-year-old Tina Hamilton finds out the hard way.
She always knew her father had a secret. But all of God’s earth to Tina are the streams for fishing, the fields for romping, a world snugly enclosed by the blue-misted Smokies. Nothing ever changed.
Until the summer of 1968. Trouble erupts when northern exploitation threatens her tiny southern Appalachian town. Some folks blame the trouble on progress, some blame the space race and men meddling with the moon’s cycles, and some blame Tina’s father.
A past he has hidden catches up to him as his secret settles in like an unwelcome guest. The clash of progressive ideas and small town values escalates the collision of a father’s past and present.
Purchase here or on my website: https://amzn.to/2HF4UB9
Laura DeNooyer, a Calvin College alumni, thrives on creativity and encouraging it in others. She teaches writing in SE Wisconsin. She and her husband raised four children as she penned her first novel, All That Is Hidden. An award-winning author of heart-warming historical and contemporary fiction, she is president of her American Christian Fiction Writers chapter. Her new Standout Stories blog features novel reviews and author interviews. https://lauradenooyer-author.com
My website (with book trailer): https://lauradenooyer-author.com/books/all-that-is-hidden/
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