Local Author Publishes First Book
Highland County provides inspiration for creative individuals of all types, from artists to musicians to authors. Some come here to draw from that inspiration and move on – and some, like Constance Huddleston Anderson of Hightown, stay a bit longer. Ms. Anderson has just published her first book, Tethered to Wanting, and she spoke to us about it, and how she came to live in Highland.
“I’m from the mountains of Tennessee, and my husband was from South Dakota, and we were both in stressful jobs in the DC area. And one morning, I heard Charles Kuralt, on a Sunday program, On The Road, and he said, “There’s a little place in Virginia that is a secret”, and he said ‘it’s the highest mean elevation east of the Mississippi.” Well, I didn’t hear mean, and I said to my husband “Let’s just see – let’s just go down there and see, that isn’t true.” And it was instant love, when we came to Highland, since day one.”
“My book is about growing up in the mountains of Tennessee. 95% of it is true, and when I wrote it, initially, I wrote it as a true story, and at the end, I thought I would publish it as fiction. And that gave me a little more freedom to embellish and romanticize certain places in Tennessee, and it also protects my cousins from any embarrassment that they might have.
“I don’t think the story is as much about me as the characters – my grandmother, a Cherokee, and she wanted to save me from the ills of a dysfunctional family. But one thing I wanted to do, I wanted the mountains of Tennessee and the culture to be characters.
“It’s the period of my life from age six or seven to 18, and my father was a very violent man, and my mother was very evasive. My mother’s family was from the mountains – my father’s family was from the town. The other thing about my father is, we would get pulled out of bed in the middle of the night and move – you know, leave everything, dishes on the table – it was such a big secret.
“When we went back to Tennessee, my father, he was such a violent man, and we thought that he was going to seriously hurt my mother. And her brothers meant for that not to happen – so that’s really a key part of the story.
“And my feeling, when I was young, was that I needed to be away from that family. So, my goal was to go west of the Mississippi – I thought, there must be something wonderful west of the Mississippi. And the book takes me to that age – and there’s a second book that’s starting, and that takes me into another phase of my life.”
The book is available locally at Country Convenience in Blue Grass and Morning Glories and Moonflowers in Monterey. It can also be purchased at Amazon.com, or from her website, http://www.abednigohoggepress.com/. A link to the site can be found with the story on our website, alleghenymountainradio.org.