Buzzing at the Southern Festival of BooksPosted: October 21, 2007
I hung out all last weekend on Nashville’s Legislative Plaza, in the shadow of the State Capitol Building, feeling the creative mojo of readers and writers there for the 19th annual Southern Festival of Books. I was in Booth #2, selling books with others who are members of the same organization as I. I sold 21 of my own books.
One of the highlights of the weekend was meeting Casey Clabough, who just published The Warrior’s Path. A year ago, he submitted an excerpt from the book to the online journal I edit, Muscadine Lines. Casey read selections from the book (nice voice, Southern steeped with a pinch of Virginia), an account of the old trace spanning the Iroquois lands of New York down the Appalachian Valley into the Cherokee country of Tennessee and North Georgia … the trail his ancestors traversed en route to the Smoky Mountains in the late 1790s. Casey set out himself to hike more than 500 miles of the route, connecting history, culture, and nature to his own people who followed the trail. The awesome thing about this is that after researching my own family a few years ago, I wanted to do the same thing. My Mahaffeys and Boones were migrating from Pennsylvania to Kentucky in 1799, and the Hardys were migrating from North Carolina to Alabama in 1819. I, too, studied the routes and wanted to walk on the same trails they did, connect with them, connect history to them, and get a sense of my own significant spot in the forming of this great nation. I wasn’t brave enough to set out and do it alone, though.
One of the disappointments of the weekend was that Elizabeth Edwards canceled her session. I truly wanted to meet her and buy her book.
It was great to catch up with Darnell Arnoult (Sufficient Grace), Tennessee Writers Alliance 2007 Writer of the Year, and to visit with Kristin Tubb, Kory Wells, Kay Heck, Jennifer Dix, Nelda Rachels, and Roy Birkhead, all Muscadine Lines writers. Kristin will be at the 2008 SFB with her youth novel set to be released next year. Awesome to be in a group that buzzes with energy!