The Pines at Davidson will host author best-selling author Wiley Cash on Oct. 24, one of the many stops he has made since publishing his first novel, “A Land More Kind Than Home.”Cash is a North Carolina native who graduated from UNC Asheville and received a master’s degree from UNC Greensboro. “A Land More Kind Than Home,” set in the mountains of western North Carolina, won the Crime Writers Association’s John Creasey New Blood Dagger award in England last year and spent several weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.The book also was selected by the Book Clubs of Davidson and the ReadDavidson committee, which partnered to encourage Davidson to read Cash’s book and participate in events. ReadDavidson is a town-wide initiative that chooses books for the community to read each year and holds book-related events.“An Evening with Wiley Cash” will be held at 7 p.m. at the Pines.Barbara Freund of Davidson’s Main Street Books, a committee member of ReadDavidson since it started in 2007, said the book was selected as a community read because it explores a variety of topics that could engage the community. Other events related to the book also have been scheduled. On Oct. 15, Davidson police Detective Steve Ingram will give a presentation on how the Police Department solves crimes. It will be held at Davidson Public Library.Here, Cash answers questions about growing up in North Carolina, being honored as the ReadDavidson pick, and what inspired the book. Q. What parts of North Carolina did you grow up in? Have you ever been to Davidson? According to your website, you currently split your time between Wilmington and West Virginia. A. I was raised in Gastonia and left for college in Asheville when I was 18. I pretty much stayed in Asheville until I left the state altogether to go to graduate school in Louisiana. I’ve only been to Davidson one time, when I was on tour for the paperback of “A Land More Kind Than Home” in February 2013. Whenever I travel, I always stop at bookstores and meet booksellers. On the way to Charlotte from Greensboro, I stopped by Main Street Books in Davidson and met Barbara, the owner. She asked if I wanted to be considered for ReadDavidson. I said, “You bet.” Q. Did you want to be a writer while growing up? A. I either wanted to be a writer or an NBA basketball player. I’ve been the same height since about the sixth grade, so, as you can imagine, that choice was made for me. Q. Why do you think North Carolina is so dear to people who grew up here? A. North Carolina is just such a distinct place that is home to diverse people and comprised of such a diverse topography. Everything you want is here: the ocean, the forests, the mountains, small towns, big cities, several different kinds of barbecue. Whenever I tell people I’m from North Carolina, I can always see a little jealousy in their eyes. I don’t blame them for feeling that way. Q. “A Land More Kind Than Home” was presented as a book that the entire town was encouraged – through the public library, local bookstore and Facebook – to read. How does it feel to have your book selected for an entire town’s reading project? A. It feels amazing. When you write a book, you’re not sure it’ll be published, and if it’s published you’re not sure anyone is ever going to read it. So, to have an entire town read your book is really surprising. Q. What inspired you to write “A Land More Kind Than Home,” with its themes of religion-gone-wrong and finding hope and faith afterward? Do you have personal experience with the kind of religion practiced by character Carson Chambliss? Does your novel, “This Dark Road to Mercy,” also have religious themes? A. I got the idea for the novel after learning of a tragedy in Milwaukee where an autistic child was smothered during a healing service. I wanted to tell that story, but I didn’t know Milwaukee. But I knew the North Carolina mountains, so that’s where I set the story. I was raised Southern Baptist, and I never saw things like that, although it wasn’t uncommon to see folks lay hands on each other and pray. My new novel doesn’t have the same themes as “A Land More Kind Than Home”; it’s about fathers and daughters, revenge and baseball. Q. As a Southern writer, what do you consider important to communicate about the South in your stories? What would you want someone who had never lived in North Carolina to understand about the region from reading your work? A. I want people to understand that the South is just like any other place in the world. The same things happen in North Carolina that happen everywhere else: the same struggles, the same tragedies, the same dreams. Q. Are you currently working on a third novel, or do you have plans to? A. I’m working on a novel about Gastonia’s 1929 Loray Mill strike and the legacy of one of its leaders, Ella May Wiggins.
Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013
Novelist Cash speaks in Davidson Oct. 24
Want to go? “An Evening with Wiley Cash” is free and will be held at 7 p.m. Oct. 24 at the Pines at Davidson, 400 Avinger Lane, Davidson. For information about the event and ReadDavidson, go to http://nc-davidson2.civicplus.com/index.aspx?nid=459
Marjorie Dana is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Marjorie? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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