Saturday, September 29, 2012


Recently I received word from a publisher that a novel which I've always considered one of my finest has been remaindered--that is, the publication rights have reverted to me and the house that issued the book in 2003 has washed its hands of it.  Now I know how Caesar felt when Brutus shivved him.  If this had been one of my earliest and perhaps less expertly written efforts, possibly I wouldn't have felt the pain so keenly; though now that I think about it, that can't be true because I love all my books, which are--as many authors say--like children, in that one dotes on them all, even the clumsiest.

The novel is Where the Water-Dogs Laughed.  At its debut it received many plaudits from readers and reviewers, some of which may be found on my website under the heading of Books/Fiction and others on (five stars all).  It received the Historical Fiction Award of the North Carolina Society of Historians.  It was a finalist for the national Independent Publisher Award for Outstanding Book of the Year.  It was nominated for a Sir Walter Raleigh Award for the best historical fiction of that year (a second nomination, my first being a winner for Freedom's Altar).  It ran a close second for Western North Carolina's "Together We Read" pick.  I could go on but won't--it hurts too much.

Till now it has been a matter of pride to me that all my books have remained in print since my first, Hiwassee, in 1996.  Of course it isn't fair or even correct to say that Water-Dogs isn't still in print.  It is.  It still exists in many copies and may be had--and at a cut rate too, without my receiving any royalty--on the remainder table in many bookstores and online at bargain prices. There's nothing I can do about that.  If you want a cheap hardback copy of the culminating novel of my four-book Hiwassee series--the one that ties up all the loose ends of the first three and concludes with the apotheosis of my personally favorite character, Hamby McFee--you can pick one up for a song.

OR.  Or you can pay a bit more and order it from my website and receive directly from my hands a specially autographed, pristine first edition and earn my fervent thanks for keeping this good book alive.  This is the book that tells of the love story between my grandfather Will Price and my grandmother Lillie Carter; of the possibly mythic bear Yan-eg'wa who strives to redeem the ancient but now lapsed compact between bears and their human ancestors which, according to Cherokee tradition, has kept the world in balance; of the entwined fates of Yane-'gwa and Hamby McFee; of the ruthless timber baron G.G.M. Weatherby obsessed by eugenics and of his beloved, Swarthmore-educated daughter Cassandra and of her own prohibited love for the guileless yet dangerous son of the highlands Absalom Middleton; of sprightly ex-Confederate Captain Irish Bill Moore who battles not a mortal enemy as before but the terrible typhoid epidemic that ravages Clay County, North Carolina, in 1898, threatening to destroy human life as if nature itself has turned on those who are ravaging its virgin forests.

If you wish to keep these stories alive, go to the Books/Fiction section of my website and order a copy.  I hope you'll love it as much as I do.

1 comment:

  1. Hamby in Where the Water-Dogs Laughed is one of the most unique characters in literature. He says and does just what he wants to despite the many boundaries placed in his life from the time period and from the color of his skin. He knows how to insult people without them knowing it and shows his love in unexpected, often silent ways. This book should stay alive for the story it tells of believable people surviving in the most difficult of times.