Vicki Lane

Respect Must Be Paid

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Vicki Lane
Vicki Lane is the author of the Elizabeth Goodweather mysteries from Bantam Dell. The first two books of the series, SIGNS IN THE BLOOD (2005) and ART'S BLOOD (coming June 27, 2006),will be followed by OLD WOUNDS (working title) in 2007 and a fourth Goodweather tale, still untitled, in 2008. These novels of dark-toned psychological suspense follow Elizabeth Goodweather, a self-reliant widow and herb  farmer in her fifties, as she strives to come to terms with her life in a beautiful land where she will always be an outsider.

Vicki draws her inspiration from the past and present of the rural North Carolina mountains where she and her family have tended a mountainside farm since 1975.

"Change is coming to the mountains (my family is part of it) and many of the old ways are disappearing. The ubiquitous television threatens to substitute Valley Girl or hip-hop patois for the indigenous twang. Hand-hewn log houses give way to double-wides and ranch houses (or factory-made log home kits, purchased by Florida people.) Tractors have replaced mules; biscuits in a can have replaced homemade. A Florida person (me) is hired by the local community college to teach quilting. Most of my students are local women. 'Mamaw always quilted but I never got interested till she was gone.'

I'm not deploring change; might as well deplore a river as it grinds out deeper channels in one place, silts up in another. I know that change is inevitable and brings with it both good and bad. But I want to capture something of the gift that the past thirty years in these mountains has given to me. The images, the stories, the particular turn of a phrase. ('I wouldn't trust that man in my meathouse with a muzzle!' Clifford said of Richard Nixon, back in 1974.)

So I write about the mountains and their people, both natives and newcomers. 'Respect must be paid,' as Willy Loman's wife said in "Death of a Salesman." I want to remember and respect the stories and the ways that are fading fast, as well as to celebrate the mountains as they are today."

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