When did you fist realize your calling to write?
I’ve wanted to write since in elementary school. I didn’t have any idea how to go about it until I met a friend who was an author. She showed me I could write, and helped me with the process of getting started.
What inspired you to write Callie’s Mountain? The story of the Melungeon people has been dear to me for a long time. They were so mistreated by the white people. I guess I feel for the downtrodden people. I’d much rather write about people who are lifted up from the depths of hurt.
We were researching our family tree, along with my cousin’s husband. He found information about our family that we had not heard of before. Believe me, it was a wild family. With his discovery, we realized we had Melungeon blood in our veins, from my father’s mother. My father and his siblings bore distinct characteristics of the Melungeon race. I tried to use native Melungeon names in the book, but it isn’t about anyone in particular.
Writing Callie’s Mountain has been quite a journey for you. Do you care to talk about it?Callie’s Mountain has had a lot of starts and stops. The book has been with me, and a part of my life, for seven years. I started writing for therapy after my father’s death. I wrote off and on while caring for my mother. Callie wouldn’t let me alone, and I continued to write.
There have been a lot of discouragements, mostly from agents and publishers. We all have them if we desire to write. I have persevered. It’s made me a better person and a better writer.
What is Callie’s Mountain about? What time period is it set in? What makes it stand out?Callie’s Mountain is set in the hills of Tennessee, around Rogersville, in 1798. It is a love and hate story. Callie’s father tells her he has arranged a marriage for her with Jacob McGinnis. She’s never met him, and she rebels. First on her agenda is to teach school. Then she wants to find her “own true love.” The wagon train they are traveling across the mountains in is attacked by three strange men, the first introduction of the Melungeons. Jacob runs them off, but it doesn’t impress Callie.
She becomes close to one Melungeon family, and teaches them to read and write. The store owner raised prices when he sells anything to the Melungeon. He is killed by Indians, who he also cheated, before they have a chance to approach him with their knowledge.
There are Indian attacks, Callie likes Jacob, then doesn’t. I think there’s a lot of action.
To me the story of the Lost Race, the Melungeons, makes it stand out. Very few books have been written about these people and I want them to be portrayed as the sweet, wonderful people they are.
What about your new publishing company Mantle Rock?
When I was having trouble being published, my dear friend and author, Sandi Rog, encouraged me to start my own company and self-publish. My husband, Jerry, and I decided this was the way publication was going. It’s hard to be published in a large publishing company. It takes years to see your book in print. Mantle Rock Publishing can publish your book for you with no cost to you, and in months instead of years. The only thing we ask is you have it edited before it comes to us. We want a perfect manuscript. We can then have it printed on Kindle and in paperback. You will receive a commission when the book is sold. We will also help you market your book by helping you with blogs, interviews, and other ways of marketing. Of course, you have to do a lot of the leg work. Callie’s Mountain is being printed now in paperback. If anyone has other questions, they can contact me at kathycret at yahoo dot com.
What other releases do you have coming out?Susannah’s Hope is scheduled to be released in January, 2013. Susannah is a brat in Callie’s Mountain. She goes through a lot of changes in the beginning of the story. She takes a complete 360 turn when her father dies and she is left to manage the store. Dr. Val Minor befriends her. There are no Indian attacks, but a smallpox epidemic. This book also involves mixed marriages between Melungeon and Caucasian. It really happened in that time.
After that is Emily’s Faith. Emily is the daughter of Callie and Jacob McGinnis. This will involve the Trail of Tears and be set in Hopkinsville, KY. After all, I live in Kentucky now and the Trail of Tears is part of our area. It is also a love story between Emily and a part Melungeon man. I think it will be a sad book to write because of all the things that happened to the Cherokee Indians. I am enjoying the research.
In the fall, I hope to finish Gilded Winter. I may change the name to Golden Winter. Haven’t decided yet. It’s set in 1908 on Jekyll Island. It’s the end of the Gilded Era, and Jekyll was a winter haven for the rich. It’s about four employees on the island. It’s a little lighter book than the Melungeon stories.
After that, I have several running around in my head. I pray God lets me live long enough to tell them.
A lot of the process of my writing is on my blog, www.kattscribbles.blogspot.com. My website should be up soon. It will be www.kattanderson.com. I also write another blog for teen girls. I invite you to stop by www.forchristiangirls.org. You may also check out Mantel Rock Publishing at www.mantlerockpublishing.com. Thanks Brooke for having me on your blog. I’ve enjoyed being here. Thank you to the readers who have taken time to read the blog. I pray you will enjoy my humble endeavors to tell my story.