PUBLISHED IN: 2014.
THE AUTHOR: Mary Howard Wright
THE EDITOR: Jamie Rand, Virginia Tech.
THE PUBLISHER: Xlibris
SUMMARY: Adventure and necessity calls to Fletcher Broce. He heeds and leaves his familiar homeland, Germany, to go to Virginia to work in the coal mines. A farmer by trade, he has much to learn. He leaves behind his beautiful bride, Rachel and their two young sons, his parents and a brother and sister-in-law. He hopes to earn enough to bring his wife and children to America. He realizes this move might mean he’ll never see his mother, father and brother again. He goes with everyone’s blessing. Fletcher manages to secure a job on a merchant ship to earn his passage. He longs to be reunited with his family. The few letters to and from his homeland keep him going. Finally, the big day comes when he is able to return to Ellis Island to welcome his family to the beautiful New River Valley that has stolen his heart. What should have been a wonderful reunion turns tragic when he learns of his wife’s dark journey to America.
THE BACK STORY: On June 29, 2012 a powerful Derecho storm hit our church in Dublin VA. It tore off the roof of the fellowship hall, ripped loose the gas line to the HVAC and dumped water into the building, causing much damage. The building was so severely damaged, services couldn’t be held there much of the time. About half the congregation and the Pastor left in the next six months. A decades old church body was on the brink of extinction with eroded finances, ensuing mold issues, a slow response by the insurer, etc.
And, in the midst of it all, I was given this book, an inspirational, historic fiction to write. It had nothing to do with the church storm, but I dedicated half of any profit from my book sales to the church building fund. I never had writer’s block. The story was a gift.
While the book is a work of fiction, I wanted to keep the vibrant Appalachian culture and rich history of the area authentic. The research took about 4 months and the story about 5 months. I talked to living history books, people who related their family recollections. I pored over historical register information. This may sound unusual, but I looked at thousands of pictures from various archives. The pictures brought the backdrop to life for me. I studied the faces of immigrants stepping off the ferry at Ellis Island. I observed their attire, their belongings they toted, the children, the elderly. I saw despair and fear in many, but in others that little glimmer of hope…hope for something more.
WHY THIS TITLE? This book is the first in a series that will be 4 or more books. I see this family’s life and struggles as a part of a Tapestry which is the name of the series. The essential raw material is thread, so Threads became the title for Book 1. Once I got started, I needed a pattern or a design for their story, thus Designs is the upcoming book. From the design begins a pattern or highlights begin to emerge, book 3 will be called Brocade. In the course of anyone’s life, certain events or times stand out and are immediately apparent to both others and ourselves. Those events in and of themselves may overshadow the background. What essential values do we cling to? Who were our ancestors? How did they influence the people we are today? The 4th book in the series will be called Heirloom. All the stories, the rich ancestry, the culture make us an heirloom to future generations. Something precious passed down from one family and cherished by the next.
WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? Readers have told me that they can see their own family in the pages of my book, can relate to the local area references and are intrigued by the little known historical nuggets the book reveals. Some have even asked if I wrote about their family home or family member.
“Fletcher and Rachel’s love spans from Germany to Blacksburg, VA where they move. This first book describes when they fell in love, their journeys on the ship from Germany, and Fletcher getting things together in Blacksburg to have his family come over later. He works in the Big Vein coal mine in Montgomery County, VA in order to save enough money to be able to afford to bring his family over from Germany to be with him. The trials they face, the hardships they endure, and their growing love for each other are realistically portrayed. I enjoyed this glimpse into life in Germany before coming to America and how their life started here in Montgomery County, VA. Fletcher and Rachel’s story is about life, love, sickness, death, faith, and hope.”
“I look forward to reading the other books in the series. Wright drew me in with her story and her life-like characters. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series to see what happens. Each chapter is preceded by a scripture reference. I would recommend this book to anyone who is curious about their ancestors from Germany and what they went through to come to America, has ties to the Montgomery County area of Va, or those who enjoy a great story about the early settlers. — “Must Love to Read,” on Amazon.
“I finished reading the novel “Threads,” last night, just could not put it down. I must say I loved it. Mary has written one of the best books; I rank it to be equal to the first book I ever read and loved; that kept me reading, “The Covered Bridge over Madison County.” What a masterpiece Mary; so much heart and soul you put into this 1st series. I thought of it all day, you really surpassed talent on this one. The story was so faithful and heartening, it felt real, and surreal. I don’t know how Mary got all those episodes in one book, but she did. She poured out so much of how things were, I could feel it! It was kept so clean in such a Godly manner, even through the hard moments. How Clyde made himself a better life; and the rape assault. How wonderful you turned ugly into something so special. And even managed to get in some Real Estate moments; that was nice. And what the value of a dollar was then. Wow, I sometimes wish it still were. Such a caring wonderful family setting; even though I knew the mother knew; made me smile. It ended so beautiful; I was thrilled they found a home just right. The book touches me also, because my Grandfather worked the mines back then. What a struggle of a life it had to be. And for us who live so well now and don’t even know it; well, they should read this book. Oh how technology has softened us. I found myself feeling like your characters; how they felt; how they hurt; how they kept moving forward. How family had the real meaning “family,” together all the way. I fell in love with the characters and I will always treasure this book! Anticipating reading Series 2. It ended so well, makes you want to follow the dreams of these people and watch them grow. A definite wake up story. Thank You Mary for sharing such a wonderful story. — Deborah Cruise.
AUTHOR PROFILE: I grew up poor in Montgomery County VA, the first of 8 children in 12 years for my mother. With a step-father who was always on the road driving tractor trailers cross country and a mother working long hours to support us, tensions escalated on the home front. All children were removed from the home and placed in either foster care or up for adoption in the late 1960’s. I had the blessing of a loving foster family who nurtured me and made me feel like I could do anything my heart desired. I loved to read and read every book I could get my hands on. Necessity made me a banker and a Realtor but passion drove me to write. I run a real estate company, NRV Gateway Realty and write whenever time and inspiration meet up.
AUTHOR COMMENTS: My book is a “good, clean” read. A child could read it and delight in knowing what and approaching snowstorm smells like, a teen could pick it up and appreciate the love story between the pages, an adult or a senior could find themselves reminiscing about bygone times. I think my book manages to evoke nearly every emotion at one time or another. The characters are real to me, and I hope I bring them alive for my readers.
SAMPLE CHAPTER: https://books.google.com/books?id=3PAuBQAAQBAJ&pg=PP1&lpg=PP1&dq=threads+by+mary+howard+wright&source=bl&ots=jNkbWYqFRJ&sig=UTfWTWDkCTG0P9eBBvhVoN7DK6I&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjP8sGGpd7JAhXCYyYKHSRSAdAQ6AEIQDAF#v=onepage&q=threads%20by%20mary%20howard%20wright&f=false
LOCAL OUTLETS: Directly from the Author, iane’s Hair Care in Christiansburg, Chapters Bookstore in Galax
WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Amazon, Barnes & Noble.
PRICE: $19.99 – Paperback
$ 3.99 E-Book
CONTACT THE AUTHOR: Mary@NRVGateway.com; 540 392-8908.