Saturday, February 27, 2010

Howard Frank Mosher

From a Q & A with Howard Frank Mosher, author of the new novel, Walking to Gatlinburg:

Q: Walking to Gatlinburg has been described as a “Civil War thriller.” This is your tenth novel. Is it your first thriller?

A: Yes. My 1989 novel A Stranger in the Kingdom has some of the elements of a mystery, but Walking to Gatlinburg is the story of a young man whose life is in constant danger from the moment he decides to track down his older brother, who has gone missing in the Civil War. Morgan Kinneson, just 17 years old, walks from northern Vermont to the Great Smokies in search of his brother Pilgrim. At the same time, he is being pursued by a gang of psychopathic terrorists. To find Pilgrim, he has to eliminate them, one by one, while solving the mystery of a secret, runic stone in his possession. Most of my earlier books are high-action novels, but Walking to Gatlinburg is my first “non-stop thriller.” It was a great deal of fun to write.

Q: Is Morgan’s trek south to find his brother based on a true event?

A: It is, but ideas for novels come from strange and mysterious places, often deep in the writer’s imagination. Several years ago, a bookseller friend told me the story of her Confederate ancestor, a young soldier from North Carolina with the wonderful name of Jasper Memory. Jasper was captured and sent to the infamous Union prison at Elmira, N. Y. – known as the “Andersonville of the North.” While he was there, a fellow prisoner, a dentist in civilian life, made him, from a gold uniform button, a wedding ring for his fiancé. At the end of the war, Jasper walked home, all the way from Elmira to the mountains of North Carolina, to present the ring to his beloved. I couldn’t stop thinking about his journey. Eventually, in the very mysterious way that ideas for my novels have always come to me, I asked myself the “what if” question. What if...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue