This past weekend, I was lucky enough to be the guest of honor at two events located on the very land where my novel, Keowee Valley, is set.
The first was held at a small lake in the South Carolina Blue Ridge, a place where I grew up learning to waterski, paddle, backpack and have a general darn good time. It’s probably my favorite place in the world. Hosted by the lake’s Ladies’ Coffee Club and their spouses in a gorgeous home, and attended by so many wonderful lake residents, it was a truly special event for me. How many writers, I wonder, get to sit in the exact setting where their novel takes place, and talk about the history of the land and the people who lived there (in my case, the Cherokee)?
There was a delicious spread of breakfast and brunch food, it was a gorgeous, sunny day, and most of all, the company was superb. Sheer joy. In addition, one of the lovely ladies presented me with an arrowhead she’d found on her property: most likely Cherokee or pre-Cherokee. I’ll treasure it, and the day, always.
(Hm. Just noticing that I seem to wear this maternity turtleneck quite a bit. And I look tired. Perhaps it’s time to finally wear makeup on a regular basis.)
The second event was in Walhalla, S.C., at the Oconee Heritage Center. There I got to meet several readers, to sign books, and to talk about the novel. I love that so many folks are interested in a sequel! I promise that it’s coming. But, y’all, a baby’s coming first.
If you’re ever in the area, the OHC should be on your list of places to visit. The museum is a hidden gem worth exploring. My favorite exhibits are the two 18th century Cherokee canoes pulled out of local rivers and preserved. One, excavated from the Chattooga River back in 2002–the very same river where my characters Quinn, Jack, and Ridge Runner have a run-in with the Creek Indians–is more than 27 feet long; this is only estimated to be half its size. There’s a gift shop, with art, books, and maps for sale, and more. The wonderful folks there set me up with a great table, a comfortable chair (a must for a pregnant lady), and some gorgeous striped tulips.
These will be my last traveling events until after Baby # 2 is born in early May; until then I’ll only be meeting with (very) local book clubs, and book clubs via Skype. But I’m looking forward to picking back up my book travels in late summer and early Fall, so please keep me in mind if you’ve got a writers’ group, history group, library event or other speaking engagment you’d like me to attend. Meeting readers and talking to history lovers has truly been one of the highlights of this adventure in publishing!