You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘DruAnna Overbay’ tag.

firstpresbyterianChristy and I were guest speakers at the kick-off of the Women’s Bible Study group of First Presbyterian Church in Morristown, Tennessee last Sunday evening. I hope they will forgive me for stealing this picture from their website since I didn’t remember to get one of the church itself.

20160918_175626We had a great time meeting all the members, enjoyed a delicious meal (really wish I’d gotten the recipe for the chicken), heard some beautiful music by young Chloe Atkins, a really interesting Bible lesson from DruAnna Overbay,  and when it came our turn, I stumbled my way through the speech (I hate public speaking!).  I was able to get a few pictures, too. The one to your left is of the place settings for all the members. That’s the program resting on the plates along with some gorgeous note cards one of the members made.

20160918_174414And here we have a picture of some of the members chatting before dinner. It was raining for the first time in weeks and we were afraid no one would come, but they really surprised us – almost every seat was taken! If you look closely, you can see Christy walking toward the camera carrying some books for our table. You can also see (just barely!) the beautiful centerpieces which included one of my favorite flowers, zinnias–and thank you, Phyllis for telling me they used to be called “Old Maids.” I never knew that!

20160918_174501And this is our table with our books. At the end of the night we were sold out of Whistling Woman and almost sold out of the other 3 books. And that was with some of the ladies bringing in their copies from home so we could sign them. I thought I had a picture of that but it, along with several other pictures I took, seems to have disappeared somewhere during the transfer from my tablet to my computer.

As I said, we had a wonderful time and would like to extend our deepest gratitude to all the members of the Women’s Bible Study group of the First Presbyterian Church in Morristown. We really appreciate you inviting us!

I’ve been trying for almost two weeks now to get this post up and just kept getting sidetracked–I’m happy to say writing got in the way. We’re about 2/3’s of the way through the first book in our Brown Mountain Lights Series. Yay! And yes, you know superstitious me, my fingers are tightly crossed against the jinx–and I’m knocking furiously on wood!

Our table Christy, me, DruAnnaAnyway, we had a lovely time at the East Tennessee Historical Society History Fair in downtown Knoxville. That’s our table to the left. We shared it with DruAnna Overbay who was there for Vardy Community Historical Society.

 

amanda campbellWe enjoyed meeting new readers along with a few who’d already read our books (that’s always a pleasure for us!). The young lady in the picture is Amber or Amanda (Sorry. there were so many people around us we’re not sure we got her name right) Campbell, who came to the fair specifically to see us. She goes to A. L. Lotts Elementary School in Knoxville and one of her teachers has been using Beloved Woman in her class. The teacher (I wish we’d gotten her name, too!) had a question about Beloved Woman on a test and told her students if they came to the fair and met us they would get extra credit in her class. Hands down, that was the most exciting thing that happened all day! Imagine, our books being used to teach a class. Amanda made our day when she told us that!

music music,periodWe also heard some beautiful music, both from the bands who performed on the stage (picture on left) and the quartet in period dress that strolled around playing (picture on right). Don’t know how they survived in those uniforms!

 

 

reader in period dressAnd, of course, we loved selling and signing our books and are grateful to everyone who came by–whether they bought a book or not!

Again, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to DruAnna Williams Overbay and the Vardy Community Historical Society for inviting us to share their table. We had a great time and loved spending the day with you!

 

ETHistFair booths

Here are a few long views of the festival–it was huge. Don’t know why we didn’t take more pictures–we always mean to but never do.

Okay, time to get back to writing!

 

Wow, it’s been a super long time since we’ve posted anything on here. Sorry! We’ve been busy researching and writing the first book in our new Brown Mountain Lights series. We don’t have a title yet and are hoping one will come to us as we’re writing. This one doesn’t have Southern sayings as the chapter headings. Instead, we’re using lines from 60’s songs–mostly Bob Dylan–but we’re only about 8 chapters in and who knows who we’ll throw in there.

But that’s not what we’re here to tell you about today. This requires a little bit of backstory–or I should say a lot of backstory so I hope you’ll bear with me.

First, remember the Melungeon character from Whistling Woman? Her name was Druanna. We got the name from a newspaper article in the September 2, 2007 Living Section of the Asheville Citizen-Times newspaper written by Rick McDaniel and titled “Melungeon Mystery”. I happened to see the article and found it so interesting that I cut it out of the newspaper and held on to it.

The next month (October 2007), Christy and I were in Florida on our annual visit to see our dad. One night we went to his house to have dinner and he told us some family stories while we were eating. After we got back to the house we had rented for the week, Christy and I were sitting out on the screened-in porch and that was when we decided to write Whistling Woman to honor our dad and to keep the many stories he’d shared with us throughout our lives from being lost forever.

We met in Hot Springs a few times, talked and plotted the book, and somewhere in there I happened to come across the article again and showed it to Christy. We decided we would try to put a Melungeon character in the book and the next time we talked to Daddy we asked him if he’d ever heard of them. That’s when he told us the story of how Bessie’s mama used to say, “You better behave or the Melungeon boogie-man will get you.” We took it as a sign that we had to include a Melungeon character in the book. DruAnna Williams Overbay is quoted in the article and since we both found the name unique and beautiful, we decided to use it for our character.

Fast forward to earlier this year. Christy heard about a fundraiser for a young girl who had terminal cancer and decided to put together a basket and contribute it to the auction. Among a bunch of other things, she put in the four Appalachian Journey books.

Steve WilliamsThat basket was bought by Steve Williams.

As it turned out, Steve is the sister of DruAnna Williams Overbay whose name we chose for our Melungeon character. When Steve unpacked the basket and opened the book, it fell open to page 151 and the first thing he noticed was his sister’s name. So he started reading and found out the Druanna in the book was Melungeon. He immediately called his sister and told her about it.Druanna and husband

In May 2007, DruAnna was invited to speak at the Henderson County Public Library and met Brenda, the woman who asked Christy and I to speak at the first author’s night at the library. While DruAnna was here, Brenda happened to mention our book and the Melungeon character named Druanna and later she sent us DruAnna’s contact information. That’s DruAnna and her husband Fred in the picture.

DruAnna, me, ChristyOkay, long story short (I know, I know, it’s much too late for that but I’m almost finished, I promise!) we met DruAnna for lunch a few weeks ago in Knoxville and she asked us to attend the Melungion Heritage Association’s 20th Union and give a presentation which we did last Friday.

We spent the afternoon meeting a lot of very nice and interesting people who are members of the association and learning more about the Melungeon people. The Union took place in the Vardy Community Historical Museum in Vardy, Tennessee, which is sort of a birthplace of the Melungeon people–not a  birthplace really but the place they all went to get away from the bias and unfair treatment back in the late 19th and early 20th century.

ChurchThe museum is housed in the Vardy Presbyterian Church and the cabin of legendary Melungeon moonshiner Mahala Mullins is across the street. The church is filled with intriguing artifacts and pictures of Melungeons throughout the years and the cabin in beautifully restored. Both are open with a guide to the public each Saturday, 11:00 to 3:00 P.M. from May to September and on the third Saturday from October to April.

Moonshiner's cabinFair warning: getting there can be harrowing if you follow Google Maps but if you stick to the major highways it’s beautiful mountain scenery all the way.

We had a wonderful time meeting all the people and signing books in Vardy and want to thank DruAnna for inviting us. There areAntique piano much better pictures on the Melungeon Heritage Association website if you’d like to take a look. Also, DruAnna has a great book about the history of the Melungeons in East Tennessee, Windows on the Past, available on Amazon.

Chasing the Brown Mountain Lights

Into the Brown Mountain Lights

Seeking the Brown Mountain Lights

Through the Brown Mountain Lightss

Brown Mountain Lights Book 1

Wise Woman

Appalachian Journey Book 4

Beloved Woman

Appalachian Journey Book 3

Moonfixer

Appalachian Journey Book 2

Whistling Woman

Appalachian Journey Book 1

Madchen, die pfeifen

Whistling Woman (German)

Les deces arrivant toujours par trois

Whistling Woman (French)

Christy Tillery French Cynthia Tillery Hodges