One of my favorite writers of Appalachian literature is launching a new book in September. I absolutely love Sharyn McCrumb’s ballad series, especially The Ballad of Frankie Silver and The Songcatcher, but I also used to have fun with Saint Dale (a “retake” of Canterbury Tales, but based on the death of Dale Earnhart). McCrumb is earning money for the Wilkes Community College (Wilkes, NC) with the book’s launch.
The Truth About Tom Dooley
Noted Appalachian Writer Sharyn McCrumb Launches New Book in Wilkes September 12
Story by Anna Oakes
The publisher of The Ballad of Tom Dooley used a photo McCrumb took of the site where Laura Foster was killed in creating the backdrop for the novel’s cover. McCrumb views the high mountains in the background—which cannot realistically be seen from the Wilkes County locale—as symbolic of Foster’s optimistic thoughts about her future just before she was murdered.
“The stories people have been telling all these years wouldn’t stand up to cross examination from a Siamese cat.”
—Sharyn McCrumb, author of the forthcoming The Ballad of Tom Dooley
Author Sharyn McCrumb took this photograph at the site of Laura Foster’s 1866 stabbing in Wilkes County.
McCrumb To Visit Black Bear Books September 13
For those who cannot make the trip to Wilkes County for the offical book launch of Sharyn McCrumb’s newest novel The Ballad of Tom Dooley on September 12, you’re in luck. The author will visit Black Bear Books in the Boone Mall for a book signing on Tuesday, September 13, at 7:00 p.m.
Author Sharyn McCrumb holds the fiddle that belonged to Tom Dula at the Tom Dooley Museum of the Whippoorwill Academy in Ferguson.
A historical marker indicates the site of Tom Dula’s grave. Both Dula and Laura Foster’s burial sites are located off of N.C. 268.
This map was used in the trial of Tom Dula, indicating locations related to the murder of Laura Foster with the Yadkin River serving as the most prominent landmark. Courtesy of Sharyn McCrumb
Ann did it. That’s on page 1. But that’s not the point.
“I didn’t really set out to see who killed Laura Foster,” said Sharyn McCrumb, author of the forthcoming novel The Ballad of Tom Dooley. “What I wanted to know were all the little things that didn’t make sense.”
The celebrated, award-winning Southern writer, author of New York Times bestsellers The Ballad of Frankie Silver and She Walks These Hills, lends her reputation for crafting narratives true to Appalachian culture and history to the most famous mountain murder legend of them all—that of Tom Dula of Wilkes County, hung in 1868 for the stabbing of Foster although many suspected his lover, Ann Melton, of the crime.
It’s fitting, then, that the official book launch will take place on Monday, September 12, at Wilkes Community College, only 15 miles away from the site of Foster’s death. One of the most event-filled releases of any of her books, McCrumb noted, the day will include a seminar, a guided tour of local sites related to the murder story, a banquet, talk and book signing.
For more information, visit http://www.highcountrypress.com/weekly/2011/07-28-11/the-truth-about-tom.htm