“As I stared down forty, I realized that this great bright dream of being a novelist was in danger of becoming my single biggest regret. I began writing The Secret Wisdom of the Earth the very next day, with the awful death of my friend’s young brother as the tragedy that sets the story in motion,” writes author Christopher Scotton. At the time, he was living in London with his family and running the European operations of a tech company there. London was a long way from the rural Maryland where he had grown up and the Appalachian region where he’d been an avid backpacker as a young man.
Grief is explored and transformed in The Secret Wisdom of the Earth, set in the 1980s in coal-mining Kentucky. “Contemplative one minute and racing the next, it swept me to the last page and left me there with a single thought: Atticus Finch meets Deliverance. Highly recommended,” writes author John Hart.
Before coming to the Southern Festival of Books next weekend, Chris answered a few questions…
What was your favorite book as a child?
To Kill a Mockingbird and Call of the Wild
Did you ever read anything you weren’t supposed to?
Only dirty magazines I found while raiding my older brother’s room
How old were you when you decided to be a writer?
The summer of my 14th year
What is the first story you wrote?
It was called “On Eating Ice Cream” and held the premise that ice cream is best consumed with a fork
Who are some of your favorite authors (no more than 3)?
Flannery O’Connor, George Saunders, William Shakespeare
What is your favorite hobby?
Waterskiing…I still compete in tournaments on the “has been” circuit
What did you learn in college, if anything?
Never wear flip flops on Spaghetti night
Who or what makes you want to scream?
Hypocrisy and intolerance propagated in the name of God
What brings you contentment?
Watching my sons turn into fine young men
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You can hear Chris speak at the Southern Festival of Books on Friday, October 9, 3:00-4:00 pm, Room 31, Legislative Plaza.