I love exploring my birthplace in my writings; the beautiful, brutal and mysterious Kentucky land and its people. I have traveled to mostly every corner and nook of Kentucky and am always searching for another cranny to discover.
I impart my novels with my fierce love for the land, showcase its intriguing people, history, forgotten folksong, comforting food and the unusual and cherished traditions, myths and legends of the region.
More than anything, I write human stories set in a unique landscape. Knowing one small piece of this world, the earth, the sky, the plants, the people and the very air of it, helps us know every place — ourselves. And isn’t that what Eudora Welty meant when she wrote, “One place understood helps us understand all places better."
I visited the backwoods and rural areas of Western Kentucky in Liar’s Bench with a town's bench made from the 100-year-old gallows of a female slave. Then in GodPretty I explored Appalachia, its darkly coal rich mountains and the hardscrabble people of Eastern Kentucky.
Spanning the 30s to present-day, The Sisters of Glass Ferry, is a haunting tale of love and loss, redemption and atonement that travels to the South Central regions, the dirty south of this land, exploring the Kentucky River Palisades and soaking up the ‘angels' share’ breezes — caused by the strong evaporation of sleeping bourbon aging in barrels. We’ll glimpse the powerful Kentucky bourbon distilleries in the regions where there have always been more barrels than people in this new novel that will be in bookstores December, 2017.
I am currently working on my next novel The Borrowing Branch, and have spent countless hours researching and exploring the Pack Horse Library Project of 1935. It is a fascinating tale of tribute about the fearsome librarians who traveled on horseback and mule to provide books to the poor and isolated communities in Kentucky.”