True Stories at the Smoky View




THE BOOK: “True Stories at the Smoky View.”

PUBLISHED IN: April, 2016

THE AUTHOR: Jill McCroskey Coupe

THE EDITOR: (NA – I had worked with a respected editor prior to submitting my manuscript, so I did the final editing myself.)

THE PUBLISHER:  She Writes Press

Jill McCroskey CoupeSUMMARY: After attending the funeral of her estranged friend Skip in Knoxville, Tennessee, Vrai (short for Vraiment), a forty-something art history librarian with sons of her own, rescues ten-year-old Jonathan, who has been abandoned in the funeral home parking lot. The Blizzard of 1993 strands this unlikely duo at the Smoky View Motel, where they join forces in a very personal search for justice, eventually confronting the tyrant responsible for two deaths.

Containing elements of mystery and intrigue, True Stories at the Smoky View is a literary novel about family, friendship, tyranny, and the elusiveness of justice. For Vrai and Jonathan, it’s a story of mutual rescue, resulting in new lives for them both.

THE BACK STORY: My life was in turmoil when I began this novel, back in 1995, and although I had nearly all my characters then, it took me a while to figure out exactly what the story was. Discouraged, I put this novel aside and began another one, which I took to several writers’ conferences. The feedback I received for that novel made me realize what this novel needed: more pages, more story, a satisfying ending.

WHY THIS TITLE: I’ve taken several workshops from John Dufresne, whose guide to writing fiction is titled The Lie That Tells a Truth. At the Smoky View Motel, Vrai and Jonathan come across some short stories on Skip’s computer. These stories hint at the identity of the culprit responsible for Skip’s death.

WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT: Readers have told me it kept them guessing. And that Jonathan, whose parents were assassinated by Pinochet’s henchmen, is an especially memorable character. It’s also a book about a librarian, written by librarian, and may I say that Vrai hardly fits the stereotype?


From Library Journal: “With intricate story lines involving murder, library research, road trips, and [a] quest for justice, and motifs including motherhood, love, betrayal, and true friendship, there is something for everyone in this light/dark Southern novel by a writer to watch.”

From Booklist: “This debut author has a knack for storytelling and great characters.”

From John Dufresne, whose latest novel (a sequel to No Regrets, Coyote) is I Don’t Like Where This Is Going:True Stories at the Smoky View is a riveting literary mystery you won’t soon forget. Jill McCroskey Coupe handles this complex tale of troubled romance, broken families, redeeming friendship, and inexplicable evil with intelligence, grace, and grit. This exhilarating debut novel brims with honesty, charm, heart, and good humor.”

From Jane Brox, whose latest book is Brilliant: The Evolution of Artificial Light: “ Intrigue abounds in True Stories at the Smoky View . . . but Jill McCroskey Coupe’s wonderful first novel is above all testament to Eudora Welty’s observation that “all serious daring starts from within.” With an abundance of wit and accuracy of feeling, Coupe beautifully charts both the complexities of loyalty and the internal growth of her central character, and she does so in clear, precise prose.”

From Teddy Jones, author of Jackson’s Pond, Texas and Well Tended: “Skillfully written, with a librarian’s careful attention to detail and a liberal sprinkling of humor, True Stories at the Smoky View combines mystery and suspense with a woman’s journey toward fulfillment in middle age. This well-wrought tale secures a place for Jill Coupe among the ranks of librarians who have created excellent fiction.”

From Maureen Beck, former Director of Library Services, Stevenson University: “Jill Coupe has created a compelling narrative about a smart and feisty librarian named Vraiment, whose colleague, Skip, may or may not have been the victim of foul play. . . This is a thoroughly absorbing book that I found difficult to put down. The personalities Coupe conjured stayed with me long after I finished reading. The writing is beautiful: spare and funny. A most enjoyable read.”

AUTHOR PROFILE: Jill Coupe’s first job was gathering (collating) in her father’s printing plant in Knoxville, Tennessee, in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. A former librarian at Johns Hopkins University, she has an MFA in Fiction from Warren Wilson College, in the heart of the Blue Ridge. The Southern Appalachians always feel like home to her, but so does Baltimore, where she’s hard at work on her next novel.

SAMPLE CHAPTER: (Provide link).   The “Look inside the book” feature is available on Amazon —

LOCAL OUTLETS: Available in libraries and wherever books are sold. If a library or bookstore doesn’t have it, they can order it.

PRICE: In most bookstores: $16.95; on Amazon: $10.67; for Kindle: $8.69. Also at Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, etc.



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Recently retired after 35 years with the News & Advance newspaper in Lynchburg, VA, now re-inventing myself as a novelist/nonfiction writer and writing coach in Lake George, NY.

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