In This Historical Fiction Novel, The Strangest Parts Are True

Sep 21, 2017

Daren Wang grew up in an old farmhouse in Town Line, New York, a place that was notable for being the only town north of the Mason-Dixon Line to secede from the Union. 

The town’s strange history became even more intriguing to Wang when he started investigating the Civil War-era occupants of his childhood home: the Willis family, which included the abolitionist and feminist college graduate Mary Willis. Wang weaves these historical facts and fiction together in his debut novel “The Hidden Light of Northern Fires” (St. Martin’s Press/2017). The dramatic tale is one of escape, both for a slave trying to make it to Canada and for Mary herself, who rails against the expectations of her family and community.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Daren Wang about the novel, and his years spent interviewing authors and promoting literature. Wang will read from his book on Sept. 26 at Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill; on Sept. 27 at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh; on Sept. 28 at The Regulator in Durham; on Oct. 2 at Park Road Books in Charlotte; and on Oct. 4 at Scuppernong Books in Greensboro.