by Katherine Scott Crawford
When I dreamed of my first historical novel, Keowee Valley, being published, I had vague, far-away hopes of books clubs choosing it to read. But I didn’t think about it too much; certainly, I never imagined what fun I’d have meeting and getting to know so many fabulous groups of readers (and writers, too)!
I’ve been the author guest at book clubs in peoples’ homes, in libraries, in convention centers, in lake houses, via Skype, and—possibly my favorite venue—in a gelato shop. I’ve been fed great cheeses and fruit, chocolate, pastries and whole meals, wine I’d happily have consumed were I not pregnant with my second child. Best of all, I’ve been asked the funniest, smartest, most interesting questions about my novel and about the writing life.
Some of my favorites:
“Where’d you do your research?”
(Answer: Everywhere! Online, in libraries, in museums, hiking/backpacking/paddling through more National Forests and rivers than I can count.)
“How did the Cherokee feel about the role of women in their society?”
(Answer: Pretty darn great. They were incredibly egalitarian and held women in high esteem. Totally different from white cultures of the time.)
“What’s going to happen with Ridge Runner and Rebekah?”
(Answer: Can’t tell you yet, because I’m planning a sequel. But these are two of my most mysterious characters, so there’ll be all kinds of trouble and adventure ahead.)
“How do you find the time to write?”
(Answer, when I finish laughing: Whenever the heck I can. These days, it’s usually when my 3 year-old’s in preschool and when I should be doing graduate school work, since I’m still a student. Mostly it’s when the heavens open up and the sun shines down and angelic music plays. Okay, seriously—these days, any time I can find is in snippets. But by goodness I’m determined to make it happen!)
“Where can I find me a Jack Wolf?”
(Answer: Not sure if there are any men like Jack out there. But if I were you, I’d go hunting around the Southern Appalachian mountains!)
And, of course, everyone wants to know about the sex scenes. The boys I grew up with, who are like brothers to me, call them the novel’s “special parts.” Well, the answer to that one’s a little more complicated: I started reading romance novels when I was in the 6th grade. I have a very, very vivid imagination. (And a great husband. But that’s probably more than you want to know.)
Quite simply, book clubs rock.
There’s nothing like sitting around with writerly and readerly folks, talking about something you love. And there’s no greater joy than seeing that something you’ve written has touched someone else, whether it’s gotten them hooked on history, given them the travel bug, or simply just provided a few hours of entertainment and escape. Book club members are smart, curious, witty, and unafraid. Most of all, they’re incredibly generous with their time—and as an author who knows they have millions of books to choose from, I’m so grateful for that.
Katherine Scott Crawford was born and raised in the blue hills of the South Carolina Upcountry, the history and setting of which inspired Keowee Valley. Winner of a North Carolina Arts Award, she is a former newspaper reporter and outdoor educator, a college English teacher, and an avid hiker. She lives with her family in the mountains of Western North Carolina, where she tries to resist the siren call of her passport as she works on her next novel. Visit her at: www.katherinescottcrawford.com.
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