ASHEVILLE NC – On June 28 from 1-4pm, ten renowned authors who have written about Appalachia will gather at Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park to autograph books, give presentations and be available for one-on-one chats with fans. A range of books by each author will be available for sale at a table manned by event sponsor Fountainhead Bookstore of Hendersonville. Writers on the Rock is included with Park admission, which is $15 for adults, $7 for youth ages 5-15 and free for children ages 4 and under.
“Writers on the Rock give guests a unique opportunity to see their favorite authors in person and to meet new ones,” says Shannon Quinn-Tucker, Public Relations and Promotions Manager. “Appalachia is rich with history and culture, and we’ve invited authors who have made their mark in the literary world, using Appalachia as a backdrop for their stories. We’re excited to be able to offer this event to the public and give folks the chance to meet some of the authors they’ve read and loved for years.”
Bibliophiles can view the soaring cliffs and stunning valleys of Chimney Rock and the surrounding Hickory Nut Gorge as they browse dozens of titles; they can also purchase books the authors have signed. Genres ranging from memoirs to cookbooks, suspense to poetry will be available.
Fans are encouraged to come early, as authors will begin speaking shortly after 1pm.
Ken was born in Washington DC and grew up mostly in Ohio. His father was an avid reader of science fiction and would pass along stories to Ken. Ken went to Ohio State University, where he majored in engineering. In 1988, he and his wife moved to Hendersonville NC where they raised their two sons. The Middle of the Air is Ken’s first novel and is intended to be the first of a trilogy about the Colebrook family. He’s currently working on the second novel in the series with a working title of The Face of the Water. Ken’s family has been involved in many local projects, including baking the world’s largest cookie (chocolate chip, 100 feet in diameter) and hosting the Olympic swim team from New Zealand for the 1996 Olympic games in Atlanta.
Sheri is the author of several cookbooks, including The Southern Living Community Cookbook, released in October 2014, and The New Southern Garden Cookbook, which was named the 2012 Cookbook of the Year by the Southern Independent Booksellers Association and made the New York Times list “25 More Notable Cookbooks.” Her recipes and writing have been published in The Kitchn, Garden and Gun, Epicurious, Southern Living and My Recipes. You’ll find scrumptious southern dishes both familiar and revamped in her cookbooks, such as Ozark Pudding, Peach Iced Tea Sorbet, Real Skillet Cornbread and Chicken Stew with Fluffy Dumplings.
Julia grew up and still lives in McDowell County in Western North Carolina. Her published books include two novels, two short story collections, and three poetry collections, which have been reviewed or featured in Our State Magazine, North Carolina Literary Review, Southern Literary Review, Literary Trails of the North Carolina Mountains, and many other journals and newspapers. Her fiction books are set in a WNC textile mill town based on her home town Marion, and her poetry often explores her experiences growing up in 1960’s WNC. Awards and honors include a Blumenthal Writers & Readers Series Award in Fiction; finalist in the Novello Literary Award for her novel Drops of the Night; finalist in the Roanoke-Chowan Award for Poetry for her collection An Endless Tapestry; selected poet for Winston Salem’s POETRY IN PLAIN SIGHT program; and poetry winner in the Joyce Kilmer Poetry Contest and the Carolina Woman Magazine Writing Contest. Her short stories, essays, and poems have appeared in scores of literary journals and anthologies for the past three decades. Julia holds a B.A. in English/Education and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Warren Wilson College. She teaches English and Southern Culture at McDowell Technical Community College in Marion, NC, where she resides with her husband Steve, a wood carver, and their daughter Annie.
Tommy Hays’s first middle grade novel, What I Came to Tell You, now out in paperback, was chosen as a Fall 2013 Okra Pick by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) and was selected for the 2014 SIBA Book Award Long List as well as for the American Booksellers 2014 ABC Best Books for Children Catalog. His adult novel, The Pleasure Was Mine, was a Finalist for the SIBA Fiction Award in 2006, and has been chosen for numerous community reads, including the One City, One Book program in Greensboro and the Amazing Read in Greenville, SC. The novel was read on National Public Radio’s “Radio Reader” and South Carolina ETVRadio’s “Southern Read”. His other adult novels are Sam’s Crossing, which has been recently re-released, and In the Family Way, winner of the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award. He is Executive Director of the Great Smokies Writing Program and Lecturer in the Master of Liberal Arts program at UNC Asheville. He teaches in the MFA Creative Writing Program at Murray State University. A member of the National Book Critics Circle, he received his BA in English from Furman University and graduated from the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. He lives in Asheville with his wife, Connie, and their children, Max and Ruth.
Carol Heilman, a coal-miner’s daughter, married a farmer’s son, her high school sweetheart, over fifty years ago. She and her husband live in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Their children and grandchildren live near the east and west coasts where they often visit. Carol enjoys traveling, reading, writing, hiking, and cooking for friends. She is a recipient of two Carrie McCray Awards for writing excellence. Carol’s debut novel, Agnes Hopper Shakes Up Sweetbriar, was inspired by her mother’s spunky spirit and her dad’s Appalachian humor.
Unplanned youngest daughter of activist hippies in the turbulent South, Cindy Henry McMahon survived family violence, fire, flood, poisonous mushrooms, and an ice-cold outhouse. She now lives a decidedly normal life in Asheville, North Carolina. Cindy’s family history is a slide show of the turbulent South: a thwarted lynch mob on a Georgia preacher’s front porch; the integration of Mercer University and Macon, Georgia’s Vineville Baptist Church; Birmingham, 1963; Martin Luther King, Jr.’s march to Selma; Koinonia Farm and the germination of Habitat for Humanity; inner-city activism and counter-culture communities in the woods. After a lifetime of hearing these stories but never fully understanding them, McMahon set out with a map and tape recorder to learn three things: (1) how the Civil Rights Movement and its aftermath shaped—or misshaped—her father; (2) how growing up in a family with this embittered, violent, and then absent father shaped her; and (3) how she survived it all remarkably intact. The result is her memoir, Fresh Water from Old Wells. It weaves together the regional and national events of the volatile 1960s and 70s, her family’s tumultuous Southern saga, and the stories of her own quest, which finally allows her to unclench her fist and release years of resentment and anger.
Ann B. Ross is the author of the popular Miss Julia series, the first of which was published in 1999. The latest and 16th book in the series, Miss Julia Lays Down the Law, was released in April of this year and prompted a 12-city tour. Last year’s Miss Julia’s Marvelous Makeover was a 2014 Okra Pick and debuted on the New York Times Bestseller List at #10. Ann graduated Magna cum Laude from UNC-A in Literature and earned her Master’s degree from UNC Chapel Hill and a PhD from UNC Chapel Hill in Medieval Studies. She is the proud parent of three children and grandparent of six.
The Miss Julia series is available English, Japanese, Italian and German and is can also be found on CD, e-book and in large print editions.
Randy Russell is the Edgar-nominated author of six published novels, three books of short stories about ghosts in the South, and two volumes of southern Appalachian folklore. His most recent work, The Ghost Will See You Now, was published by John F. Blair in 2014. Randy regularly presents True Ghosts programs across the South and has conducted hundreds of interviews of people who have experienced ghost encounters. Randy also leads workshops on writing book-length fiction. He routinely provides story critiques for new authors shaping their work for the commercial marketplace. Randy’s most recent novel, Dead Rules, originally published by Harper Collins, has sold in translation to publishers in Germany and China. The novel received a starred review in Kirkus Reviews and was brought out in England, Australia and New Zealand by Quercus Books, Ltd. He is currently represented by Merrilee Heifetz at Writers House in NYC. Randy and his bride Janet Barnett live with their dog Princess Grace on a haunted cove road outside of Asheville, North Carolina. “Gracie lets us know when the ghosts are up and about,” he said. “It keeps us from walking smack into one.”
An Atlanta native, Susan Snowden moved to the mountains of western NC in 1995 to have more time to write. Since then her work—fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry—has been published in more than forty literary journals and anthologies. She has received seventeen honors and awards for her writing, including a gold medal in 2013 for her novel Southern Fried Lies (IPPY Award for Fiction, Southeast Region). Archer Hill Publishing is bringing out her novella and story collection, A Closet Full of Masks, in August 2015. Susan works as a freelance book editor, editing fiction and nonfiction for publishers and authors.
Evan’s book One Apple at a Time was born of family history which spans 240 years in the Henderson County area. His forthcoming novel, Ripples, features Chimney Rock, Lake Lure and the surrounding region as its setting. Evan still lives on the forty acres of orchard that has been home to multiple generations of his family. He often feels he grew up in a Grant Wood painting, experiencing rural America at its finest. An author, novelist and poet, Evan holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Queens University, Charlotte and currently lives a self-described schizophrenic life, torn between his two passions – writing and cultivating heirloom apple trees.
Locally owned and operated, Fountainhead Bookstore can be found at 408 North Main Street in Hendersonville, NC. Fountainhead carries an eclectic mix of books, including quality local and regional authors in both fiction and nonfiction, outdoor sports particular to the Western North Carolina region, general fiction and nonfiction, mysteries, science, history, books for tweens and children, notecards, gifts and more. Fountainhead is a member of the American Booksellers Association and the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance and reports to the New York Times Bestsellers Department. Find Fountainhead online at www.fountainheadbookstore.com.
About Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park
Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park is a developing international outdoor destination located 25 miles southeast of Asheville on Highway 64/74A in Chimney Rock, N.C. It is recognized as one of the Southeast’s most iconic sites and popular travel destinations. The Park’s 535-million-year-old monolith called Chimney Rock can be accessed via a 491-step Outcroppings Trail or a 26-story elevator and offers guests 75-mile panoramic views of Hickory Nut Gorge and Lake Lure. The Park features one of the highest waterfalls of its kind east of the Mississippi River, Hickory Nut Falls, at 404 feet. Hickory Nut Gorge, one of the state’s most significant centers of biodiversity, is home to 36 rare plant species and 14 rare animal species. The Rumbling Bald section of the greater State Park off of Boys Camp Road in Chimney Rock is the only other area of the Park that is currently open to the public. A destination for travel groups, weddings and special events, the Chimney Rock section of the Park also hosts innovative educational programs for schools, homeschoolers, scouts and summer camps. Visit Chimney Rock’s website at chimneyrockpark.com.