release of his debut novel, A LAND MORE KIND THAN HOME—an absorbing tale about
the bond between two brothers and the evil they face in a small North Carolina
town. Since then, the novel has received a great deal of recognition appearing
on several “Best of 2012” lists including The
New York Times. Wiley has also gone on to win the CWA’s Dagger Award for best
new crime author of 2012.
Now, A Land More Kind
Than Home is available in paperback and we are thrilled. The Richmond Times-Dispatch call’s Wiley’s
novel “a powerfully moving debut that reads as if Cormac McCarthy decided to
rewrite Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mocking
Bird.” You need only read a few pages to see just how true this is.
Book Clubs will rejoice, as this book is filled with all
sorts of great fodder for discussion—family secrets, betrayal, and redemption.
But who better to give you the top 10 reasons why you’ll love this book than
the author himself. Click here to watch the video and view
the reading group guide.
have a book club and are interested in having Wiley Skype or call in, click here to submit your request.
Wiley will be doing a featured author chat on Goodreads.com
this Thurs. 1/24, be sure to stop by.
author Adriana Trigiani (The Shoemaker's
Wife) talked to Wiley Cash about why he loves book clubs, his inspiration
for his bestselling novel, and more!
1. Adriana Trigiani: First and foremost I’d like
to congratulate you on the success of your debut novel, A Land More Kind Than Home.
As a writer, I know that inspiration can come from many different
places— a quote, a childhood experience, the sky’s the limit. What inspired you
to write this novel?
Wiley Cash: Thanks,
Adriana. I’d like to congratulate you on the success of The Shoemaker’s Wife.
The inspiration for this novel kind of found
me. In the fall of 2003 I left North Carolina and moved to Lafayette,
Louisiana, to attend graduate school. One night, in a class on African-American
literature, my professor brought in a news story about a young African-American
boy with autism who was smothered in a healing service on the south side of
Chicago. I found the story incredibly tragic, but I was also interested in a
community of believers that would literally believe something to death. I felt
compelled to tell this boy’s story and the story of the community that
2. AT: In my opinion,
the setting of a novel is often as important as the characters themselves
in helping a writer tell the story. You do an excellent job here of using
your setting—the mountains of North Carolina—to do just that. What drew
you to write about this particular region and culture?
WC: After moving to Louisiana I found myself
immediately and incredibly homesick for western North Carolina. I grew to love
Lafayette, and I still do; it’s a second home to me, but I never feel more at
home than when I’m in the mountains of North Carolina.
As I mentioned, I wanted to tell the story of
this young boy in Chicago, but I’d never visited the city and I couldn’t
portray the South Side’s African-American community. But I realized that if I
took this tragedy and set it in the mountains of North Carolina I could do two
things: I could tell this story, and I could go home again.
3. AT: One of the things I love most about this
novel is that it’s told from very different perspectives—ranging from a young
boy to a woman in her eighties to a middle-aged sheriff. As readers can see
from your author photo you don’t fit any of these criteria. Did you find it
difficult to write from different viewpoints?
WC: At first it was difficult to imagine the
role each of these narrators would play in the novel, but as I grew to know
them better I realized that each narrator possessed a particular knowledge
about the tragedy involving the young boy, and I understood that each of them
viewed it from a very different perspective. This story belongs to the
community, and I had to let the community tell it.
4. AT: A lot of writers believe that a story tells
itself. Did you know the ending of A Land
More Kind Than Home from the beginning or did it unfold as you wrote? And
do you view the ending as a tragedy or a new beginning?
WC: This is a tragic story, and I knew that
another tragedy would take place toward the end of the novel, but I never
imagined that it would close on such a positive, hopeful note. Adelaide’s coda
really caught me by surprise; it made her seem and feel even more real to me
because she is the only one who could bring the community together again and
start the healing process. That being said, I suppose I view the tragedy at the
end of the novel as a new beginning. That’s having it both ways, isn’t it? Oh
5. AT: I’m a huge fan
of book clubs. In my mind, there’s nothing better than getting together to
discuss your favorite book over a glass of wine. Are there any particular
themes that book clubs might enjoy exploring in your book?
WC: I think book clubs are wonderful too, and
there are a lot of issues in A Land More
Kind Than Home for book clubs to discuss: the power of faith, community
responsibility, family secrets, marriage and infidelity. A lot of book clubs
have wanted to talk about the role of the boys’ mother in the novel: Was she a
good mother who believed her son could be healed, or was she a bad mother who
invited tragedy upon her family?
6. AT: Most writers are big readers, including
myself. What are some of your all-time favorite books and/or writers?
WC: There are three books I’m always reading
for different reasons: Thomas Wolfe’s Look
Homeward, Angel because of its evocation of the city of Asheville, North Carolina,
a place I love; Jean Toomer’s Cane
because of its beautiful prose; and Ernest J. Gaines’s Of Love and Dust because of how much it’s taught me about dialogue,
brevity, and character development.
Some more contemporary books I’ve really
enjoyed are by friends of mine: Jess Walter’s Beautiful Ruins, Ben Fountain’s Billy
Lynn’s Long Halftime, Lydia Netzer’s Shine,
Shine, Shine, Matt Bondurant’s The
Night Swimmer, and Michael Kardos’s The
Three-Day Affair. One of the best things about having my novel published
has been the opportunity to meet so many talented writers who also happen to be
super cool. I love to tell readers about good books that I know have been
written by good people. That being said, folks should pick up a copy of The Shoemaker’s Wife!