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Vicki Lane

 

Vicki Lane
The Elizabeth Goodweather Appalachian Mysteries


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About the Author

Vicki Lane is the author of the Elizabeth Goodweather Appalachian Mysteries, which include Signs in the Blood (Dell 2005), Art's Blood (Dell 2006), Old Wounds (Dell 2007) and In A Dark Season (Dell, May 20, 2008.) Vicki lives with her family on a mountain farm in North Carolina where she is at work on a fifth Appalachian Mystery, The Day of Small Things, to be published by Bantam Dell in 2009.

Vicki and her husband moved to the mountains in 1975 -- which makes them "new people" in a county where farms still in the same family after seven generations are not unusual. Though both had been teachers in Florida, they immersed themselves in the rural life, learning from their neighbors how to milk cows, churn butter, plow with mules, butcher pigs, raise tobacco and beef cattle, as well as the hundreds of other minutiae of a farm life that had changed little in a hundred years.

She no longer keeps pigs or a milk cow but Vicki still tends a large garden, a smaller salad and herb garden, and is continually adding to the flowers and ornamentals that threaten someday to get totally out of hand. She cans, freezes, and dries garden produce for family use. A family flock of fourteen Aurucana chickens provide lovely blue-green eggs. Six dogs, two cats, and several fish ponds add to the general merriment.

The farm, the woods, and the people of Vicki's adopted county are all reflected in the world of Elizabeth Goodweather. "I think that, as an outsider, I sometimes see more clearly the wonderful things that people who grew up here take for granted," Vicki says.

Vicki is a quilter and has co-authored two books on quilting under her married name. She paints when she has time and reads, no matter what.

"We were so lucky to be able to make a choice about where and how we would live. I know there were those who thought we were crazy for choosing to live as we did. For the first several years, we didn't have indoor plumbing (gasp!). And I felt a little bad one dark night as I handed my four year old a flashlight and sent him out the door to the outhouse. But when he came back, his eyes were wide with wonder and he said, 'City kids don't get to hear owls when they go to the outhouse.' I knew then we'd made the right decision. And I know it today because that same boy and his wife, after a five year stint working for a publishing company in Atlanta, moved back to one of two rental houses on our farm, from which they telecommute to the Atlanta jobs. And my younger son, with his honors degree in philosophy, lives in the other house and supports himself by carpentry and beautiful artistic rock work. My husband takes care of the farm in the summer and does woodworking in the winter. For us, this is the good life."

About the Book

Elizabeth Goodweather and her husband built a rewarding life in the hills and hollows of their adopted Appalachian home. But now Elizabeth is alone, her husband tragically killed, her children grown, the land around her filled with customs and beliefs she cannot share. It's still a good life-tending the small herb and flower business-but Elizabeth's fragile peace is about to be shattered.

Cletus Gentry vanished while hunting ginseng in the hills-and his mother is sure the childlike man was murdered. As Elizabeth retraces Cletus's last wanderings, she will discover that a killer has been waiting all the while in the coves and hollows near her farm for her to see the light and then come willingly to her own death.

Such is the beginning of Signs of Blood, Vicki Lane's first novel. Since that story, she has brought us three more in the series, gaining industry and reader recognition with each new effort. Nominated for a 2008 SIBA Book Award for Fiction this year hot on the heels of being named a BookSense Notable in 2007, she is certainly a talent to be aware of.



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