Monday, January 22, 2024

DAUGHTERS OF GREEN MOUNTAIN GAP, by author TERI M. BROWN (out January 23rd!)

 An Appalachian granny woman. A daughter on a crusade. A granddaughter caught between the two.

Maggie McCoury, a generational healer woman, relies on family traditions, folklore, and beliefs gleaned from a local Cherokee tribe. Her daughter, Carrie Ann, believes her university training holds the answers. As they clash over the use of roots, herbs, and a dash of mountain magic versus the medicine available in the town's apothecary, Josie Mae doesn't know whom to follow. But what happens when neither family traditions nor science can save the ones you love most?

Daughters of Green Mountain Gap weaves a compelling tale of Maggie, Carrie Ann, and Josie Mae, three generations of remarkable North Carolina women living at the turn of the twentieth century, shedding light on racism, fear of change, loss of traditions, and the intricate dynamics within a family. Author Teri M. Brown skillfully navigates the complexities of their lives, revealing that some questions are not as easy to answer as one might think.

Author interview with Teri ~

Tell us a little about yourself and how you started writing.

As a kid, I used to say that I wanted to be an author, but I also wanted to be a brain surgeon and an Olympic ice skater. I think I wanted to be an author because I loved to read. However, when it came time to pick a career path in college, writer was not on the list because my parents didn’t see it as something viable.

I began writing for small businesses in 2000. Although I wanted to try my hand at fiction, I was in an emotionally abusive relationship and to afraid to give it a try. I left that relationship after fourteen long years and began writing, but was still too afraid to let my work be seen.

I met my now husband, Bruce, in 2018, and we went on an adventure of a lifetime during the summer of 2020. We rode 3102 miles across the US on a tandem bicycle. When we finished, I realized I could do anything I wanted to do, and I wanted to be an author. Fourteen months later, Sunflowers Beneath the Snow launched. One year later, An Enemy Like Me launched. And now, one year later, Daughters of Green Mountain Gap is launching!


Is your writing world anything like what you imagined it would be?


Although aspects of my writing world are like I imagined, there is so much more to being an author than I thought. I don’t just get to sit and write. I have to learn the craft. Edit. Choose covers. Write blurbs. Be interviewed. Talk up my books. Market. Keep up with my website. And recently, I’ve added podcast host to my list when I took over Online for Authors. It isn’t what I expected, but I’m loving the whole experience!


What was the original title of this book?


Daughters of Green Mountain Gap has had a multitude of names. I’m terrible at picking out a title. How is an author supposed to distill down a book into three to five words? I saved it in my computer as Maggie, who is one of the main characters, though I never really thought I’d call it that. I considered titles with Granny Woman but decided I didn’t want to fight against the non-fiction things out there about granny women. I considered things with the words healing, healer, mountain woman, hands, rivers, moons, and more. I finally put it to my readers and many liked the idea of Daughters of the Mountain, but that just didn’t seem good enough. Then a reader suggested that many of the mountains have a local name. So, I searched for the names of hills around Burnsville, NC where the book is set and found Green Mountain Gap – and I knew I had found my title!


What inspired this book plot?

Believe it or not, I was inspired by a wart on the pad of my thumb. I was complaining to my brother that my primary care physician wouldn’t remove the wart on my thumb stating that I needed to see a hand specialist. Instead, I went to CVS and got one of those patches. My brother said, “Why didn’t you get someone to talk it off?” I had never heard of such a thing and figured he was pulling my leg. After our phone conversation, I did my normal #researchjunkie thing and looked it up. Amazingly, there are people who claim to have the ability to talk off warts, blow in a person’s mouth to get rid of thrush, talk breech babies into turning the right way, and more. This led me to learning of the Granny Women in the Appalachian Mountains of NC, and Maggie McCroury was born.


What are some things you enjoy when not writing?

 I could easily write a small manuscript on this topic! I have many, many pasttimes I enjoy. In particular, I love going to the beach and collecting shells, especially at sunrise. Other things include playing bridge, bicycling, kayaking, thriftstore shopping, reading, photography, family history, playing with my grandchildren, baking, trying new recipes, playing the piano, eating out with friends, podcasting, and mentoring others.

Is there anything major that changed in this novel from when you first plotted it out?

I’m a pantser, so I didn’t have it plotted out. However, there is a difficult scene that I didn’t want to write. I really wanted something else to happen. So, I didn’t write for almost two months, willing a new path to open up. During this time, I not only couldn’t come up with a different scene, but I also couldn’t come up with anything at all about the book. I had no idea how to wrap everything up.

I finally wrote the difficult scene and put away my writing for the day. When I woke the next morning, the entire book opened up before my eyes. Not only did I know where to go next, I knew how everything would come together!

If I had to spend a week on a deserted island, I would need…

My computer so I could write, several books, and a comfy mattress. I can’t do anything without a good night’s sleep!


How do you market your work? 

I’m still working on the marketing process. When I first published, I didn’t even know I needed to market! I now have a website, a twice-monthly newsletter, social media, and a podcast. Additionally, I have been a guest on several dozen podcasts, held local in-person events, attend book clubs, and set up at outdoor markets.


What are you working on now?


When I was growing up, I loved the book Are You There God It’s Me Margaret by Judy Blume. One day, I was wondering what happened to Margaret. Instantly, she appeared and began talking to me. She now goes by Peg, she’s recently separated, and she’s going through menopause. My latest manuscript is her story, a humorous look at what women go through in their 50s.


Do you have a favorite character?

I definitely love Maggie, the grandmother in the story. She is well-grounded and understands her healing art. However, I love Carrie Ann fiercely because she needs my love the most. It takes her years – and years – to figure out her why, and she makes all kinds of mistakes while doing so.


What was some unique research you had to do for a book?


I did a lot of research about Cherokee healing traditions. The information I gathered is truly fascinating. I also had to do a lot of research about healing herbs. I had no idea that different parts of the same plant could be used for different remedies, or that plants picked at the wrong season could be harmful. I’m grateful to herbalists who are keeping this information alive and well.


Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers and fans?

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for being a reader. Without you, what I love to do would be for nothing. I love hearing from readers, so feel free to head to my website and send me a note – and definitely sign up for my newsletter! 

To connect with Teri ~

Teri M Brown

Threads: @terimbrown_author