Troylyn Ball and her husband, Charlie, an engineer and real estate investor, had spent their entire lives in Texas. But after a near fatal trip to the emergency room with their mute, wheelchair-bound son Coulton, they admitted the dust and the heat were too dangerous. To save their boys, the Balls cashed out, sold their beloved farm, and moved to Asheville, North Carolina.
Nearing fifty, Troy thought her chance at adventure had passed. But in this booming little Appalachian Mountain city of hippies, farmers, artisans, and retirees, she unexpectedly discovered a support network and something she’d never had in twenty-five years of providing round-the-clock care for her special needs boys: the freedom to pursue her own dreams. She struck up a friendship with a legendary eighty-year-old raconteur from the mountains, met his friends, and soon found herself in a rickety country shack with an ingeniously inventive retired farmer trying to create the best recipe ever for traditional mountain moonshine.
But when the real estate bubble burst and the collapse of her husband Charlie’s new venture in Asheville left them deeply in debt, Troy realized her ten-year business plan for Troy & Sons Platinum Whiskey wasn’t enough. If she was going to save her family—and she was definitely going to save her family—she needed to become the most successful woman in the legal whiskey business. And she needed to do it fast, before the bank took her house, her business, and everything she’d worked so hard to achieve.
Full of eccentric characters and charming locations—from a "haunted" cabin in the mountains to the last farm in the world to grow heritage Crooked Creek corn—Pure Heart is an inspiring story of a woman who set out to find a purpose in the most unexpected of places, and ended up finding happiness, contentment, and a community of love and respect.
FROM THE AUTHOR:
What could be more challenging than being a woman and an entrepreneur in a male-dominated profession, creating my own moonshine whiskey distillery from scratch, perfecting my own moonshine recipes, and becoming the first woman in the USA to be granted a legal whiskey distilling license? Surely not writing a memoir about it!
Of course, writing a book hadn’t ever occurred to me when I went to a Variety magazine event…which led to a New York City film event…where I met a Syrian immigrant who introduced me to my literary agent…who introduced me to the amazing writer Bret Witter and my publisher at Dey Street Books/HarperCollins. I love the way our lives fall like dominos if we let them. My son Marshall is right. “To love is to live.” And that loving opens all kinds of doors.
PURE HEART is the title of my memoir, A Spirited Tale of Grace, Grit, and Whiskey. “Pure heart” is a whiskey-making term. The center of a whiskey distillation or run is the “heart,” where the temperature is perfect and the spirit is pure and clear. My heirloom moonshine whiskey, Troy & Sons, is all pure heart, every drop. I also strive to incorporate this concept into my daily life, so that every decision, whether for my business or my family, I try to make with a pure heart and do what’s right.
This book is about my life, my devotion to my family -- my remarkable special needs sons and my amazing husband -- and my ever-supportive friends. It chronicles the unexpected opportunities and urgent necessities which led me in my late 40s – at last! -- to fulfill my entrepreneurial dreams and save both my family and my own soul.
And yes – it’s about making moonshine, too, which – like life itself – takes a lot of passion and practice if you want to learn to be the very best.
I’m so happy to introduce you, my readers, to my great friend Forrest Jarrett, Appalachian mountain “nobility” with a thousand stories to tell and some mighty fine homemade moonshine to share. Without Forrest, I certainly wouldn’t be distilling moonshine at all! And if I’d tried, it wouldn’t have been any good without the traditions and lore of the mountain “hollers” to back it up.
And there would be no Troy & Sons whiskey without farmer John McEntire, the sole source in the world of the Crooked Creek corn I needed for my recipe. John wasn’t on board right away,though. He didn’t want to get arrested for making illegal moonshine, no matter how fine an old Appalachian tradition it was……..
“What if I applied for a permit,” I said, “and we make it legal?”
I had no idea how hard getting legal would prove to be, but the most important thing in business and in life is to clear the obstacle directly in front of you before you worry about the ones down the road. And I knew I had cleared the last obstacle with John McEntire because of the way he smiled. I could tell he wanted to make a little mischief, more than he cared about making a little money.
“All right, Troy,” he said. “Why don’t we give it a try and see how it goes.”
The creation of my signature whiskey and Asheville Distilling Company has been quite an adventure, as you’ll see from my book! But this is really just one piece of my story. I’m not only an entrepreneur with lots of new ideas “distilling” in my mind every day. I’m the fiercely loving mother of extraordinary sons; the wife, daughter, and partner of men who’ve been there for me throughout my life; as I’ve been for them; and the true-blue friend for life of the friends of who’ve always got my back.
I hope you’ll read my memoir for both the entertainment and inspiration I’ve tried to offer, whether whiskey-making, business ownership, or family challenges are the focus. I love to hear from my readers around the country, and I especially enjoy meeting and talking in person with business and civic groups, entrepreneurs, women’s interest groups, and book clubs.
As my wise son Marshall says, “ANSWERS COME WHEN WE ARE IN OUR RIGHT PLACE.” I’ve found my right place, my “pure heart.” Thank you for letting me share my story with you.
Troy Ball welcomes opportunities to visit in person with book clubs and reading groups, particularly those in the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Deep South. She speaks frequently around the country to business, entrepreneurial, and civic groups, as well as to families, caregivers, and organizations working with special needs children.
For more information, go to http://troyball.com/ or contact Troy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 828-337-2364. For events and book clubs, contact Susan Walker, email@example.com or 612-382-5868.
Troy Ball is the founder and principal owner of Asheville Distilling Company in Asheville, North Carolina, makers of Troy & Sons Platinum whiskey, Troy & Sons Oak Reserve, and Blonde whiskey. Troy & Sons Platinum recently received a gold medal for moonshine, the highest possible rating. In 2004, Troy cofounded the Thoughtful House Center for Children in Austin, Texas, which has recently changed its name to the Johnson Center for Child Health and Development. Today, the center sees over 2,500 children with autism and spectrum disorders and coordinates international medical research studies. Troy lives outside Asheville, North Carolina, with her husband, Charlie, and two of their three grown sons, Marshall and Coulton, who have special needs.
Bret Witter is the author of eight New York Times bestsellers, including the #1 bestsellers Dewey and The Monuments Men. He lives in Decatur, Georgia.