Friday, October 14, 2011

How to discover new authors

How do you discover new authors? Do you go to bookstores? To libraries? Do you read reviews? Do you subscribe to a newsletter? Or do you go to an outdoor store? Yes, I did say "outdoor store." While it seems an unlikely place to look, we've done very well at one outdoor store.
Bluff Mountain Outfitters in Hot Springs, North Carolina, caters mainly to area hikers and thru-hikers on the Appalachian Trail, which conveniently follows the sidewalk in front of the store. They carry trail foods, clothing, maps, souvenirs, and all the usual outdoor store stuff. But they also have a small but excellent selection of books by regional authors.  You'll find the well-established writers such as Lee Smith, Robert Morgan, and Sharyn McCrumb. But we've also found writers that were new to us. First it was Vicki Lane, I believe sometime before her second book came out. Her fifth Elizabeth Goodweather novel is due out this coming Tuesday, October 18, and she has long since joined the ranks of "established" writers.
You can find out more about it here. We've read every one up to this point and have enjoyed them all. We're looking forward to the latest.

Our latest find was Rachel Keener.
We discovered her and her first novel last month returning home from visiting our son and his family. My wife read it first and assured me I would like it. I'm not quite finished with it, but I can say, this young woman can write. If her second and subsequent novels can maintain the quality of the first, she will eventually join the pantheon of Appalachian writers. Her second novel is out and we plan to order it, just as soon as we finish reading Sharyn McCrumb's Ballad of Tom Dooley and Vicki Lane's Under the Skin.


  1. Hi Jim, I've not read either of these authors, so will now have a look out for them and give them a go. Jane x

  2. Jim you won't be disappointed by Vicki's newest Under the Skin! I was fortunate to receive one of her gallery copies and it's so good! Definitely going to read The Killing Tree as soon as I can find it.

  3. Ron Rash is another excellent NC writer. And Charles Frazier (Cold Mountain, Thirteen Moons) has a new novel, "Nightwoods" which I have bought but haven't read yet.

  4. I discovered Vicki Lane through her blog and ordered and read The Day of Small Things - enjoyed it very much. But usually I just pick a book up for its cover or get a recommendation from friends.

  5. Vicki Lane is a great author – I love her books, the characters are so genuine. I do not know Rachel Keener. We buy books in stores, on line, at book sales (this week at one of Atlanta’s major shopping mall) and today at our county, Cobb, Library book sale. We have too many books – by that I mean we won’t be able to read them all unless we live to 130 or more – but it does not matter, we love books.

  6. Thank you so much, Jim, for the kind words! I'm just getting back to blog visiting after some busy, busy days.

    Rachel Keener is new to me -- shall check her out!

    And I'm really enjoying your tour along the Parkway!