Eleven years ago today, my first historical novel, Keowee Valley, was published. It’s been a wild ride since, to say the least, and I want to celebrate the book which made me an author.
Looking back over long ago posts, along with the photos from my book launch, and even going over all the dates on my extremely packed (and years’ long!) book tour, one feeling rises to top all else:
I am grateful.
Grateful to the family and friends who supported me the years I was writing, who threw parties for me and asked me questions, who introduced my book to others, who watched my (at that time, one) child so I could visit book stores for signings, attend events and deliver lectures and programs all over the Carolinas and Georgia. Grateful to the many, many readers who came to love Quincy, Jack, Ridge Runner, Fire Eater, and all the rest–who took my story, characters, and the wild Carolina backcountry into their imaginations and into their hearts.
Grateful to Bell Bridge Books, who published me first; to my late agent, Henry Morrison, and to so many more folks behind the scenes who helped Keowee Valley land on book shelves and in e-readers everywhere. Grateful beyond words to the librarians and booksellers who read the novel, put it on their shelves, and shared it with their customers.
Grateful to the generous authors, who did not have to take the time to read and endorse the first novel of a nobody, but who did: Pat Conroy, Adriana Trigiani, Tommy Hays, Ron Rash, Darci Hannah, Philip Lee Williams, Beverly Swerling, Kathryn Stripling Byer, Elise Blackwell, and more. And to the reviewers, interviewers, and book bloggers who took the time, effort, and talents to write about my book and about me.
Keowee Valley was a novel I’d been dreaming about since I was a young girl running more than a bit wild in the woods of the South Carolina Upcountry. I finished the novel practically as a newlywed, before I was a mother. When the book was published, I had a 3 year-old daughter, and was pregnant with another daughter. I was a college professor, and I was a graduate student earning my MFA in Writing.
The novel was a Quarter-Finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest; I earned a North Carolina Arts Council Arts Award with it, and several artist and writer’s fellowships and residencies. My life was absolutely changed by this book–some of the best parts of it being the writer friends I made along the way.
In the 11 years since the novel was published, the world, and my own life, has seen massive change. In fact, I couldn’t list all the changes if I wanted to. But one thing is clear: Stories are the way I walk through the world. Thank you all, so very much, for letting me tell them.
I can’t wait for y’all to read my new historical novel, THE MINIATURIST’S ASSISTANT, coming in May 2025 from Regal House Publishing. I know that’s a long time to wait, so in the meantime, please follow me on Instagram at @thewritingscott, where I hang out most online, subscribe to my author newsletter, and know this:
Keowee Valley is on sale (ebook version) until Sept. 30, 2023 for only $0.99 on Amazon and Apple Books. If you like it, I also wrote a Christmas-themed Keowee Valley short story called “Evergreen and Expectations” (only $0.99 on Amazon; free on Amazon Kindle).
P.S. Here are some photos from my 2012 book launch and subsequent tour. I was very pregnant, and my now teenager was only 3 years old.