Debut Novel

Abandoned farmhouse western North Carolina
Julia Franks

Eight years ago, Julia Franks and her husband bought a farm in western North Carolina. At the time, the 1800s farmhouse on the land was still standing and when they walked in the doors, they were greeted by dozens of odd artifacts, including animal bones, locks of hair, insect hives, and even a jar with a fingernail in it. Franks is a high school literature teacher and lover of writing, so it was hard for her to not let her imagination run wild.

Leon Capetanos

This show originally aired on May 27, 2016.

As a kid growing up in Raleigh Leon Capetanos never imagined that he’d spend most of his life out West. He was an aspiring poet and studied writing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After participating in a talent program in Hollywood, he got a call from Universal Studios to join their writing department, and his career took off from there.

Travis Mulhauser

Note: this program is a rebroadcast.

For a number of years, there was one particular image that continued to haunt Travis Mulhauser: a young girl in a hooded sweatshirt who comes across an abandoned baby. He eventually decided to let his imagination play out her story, and it resulted in his debut novel “Sweetgirl” (Harper Collins/2016). The book follows 16-year-old Percy James, whose search for her mother in the dead of winter takes her on an unexpected journey.

Book cover of "The One That Got Away," by Leigh Himes
Leigh Himes

Abbey Lahey is a middle-class working mom who yearns for the finer things in life. And during a trip to the mall to return a Marc Jacobs handbag that she can not afford, she gets that opportunity.

She tumbles down the escalator and wakes up in the hospital as Abbey Van Holt, married to a wealthy man who she could have married years before.

Image of 'Noah's Wife' galleys
Lindsay Starck

The story of Noah’s ark has a life that extends far beyond the pages of the Bible.

Images of animals walking two by two are ubiquitous in pop culture; the baby gift industry is filled with Noah’s ark-themed toys and decorative items. But one North Carolina author was perplexed by the fact that many of these popular images seemed to indicate that Noah’s story is cheerful and optimistic.

Michael Keenan Gutierrez
Rebecca Ames

Neal Stephens is a photographer who returned to his hometown in Colorado after World War I to find another war raging in the little coal town: a conflict between union miners and Neal's uncle, Seamus, who runs the mine.

 

In the course of the labor fight, the local sheriff is found dead, and Neal stumbles across a larger conspiracy that could end his family's mining company and land him in prison for murder.

 

Sociologist Kathy Giuffre studies creativity and social networks. Her debut novel 'The Drunken Spelunker's Guide to Plato' blends a look at dive bar culture with ancient philosophy.
Kathy Giuffre

Sociologist Kathy Giuffre has spent much of her career as an objective outsider who writes about cultures that are not her own. She studies artistic communities and creativity in the South Pacific, and eventually this work encouraged her to examine her own life and the spaces she grew up in. Her debut novel “The Drunken Spelunker’s Guide to Plato” (John F.

Image of the cover of The Story of Land and Sea, a debut novel by historian Katy Simpson Smith.
Katy Simpson Smith

    

At the end of the 18th century it was very common for women to die during childbirth. 

  

Whether or not women can have both professional success and a family is an ongoing national conversation, spurred by high-profile magazine essays, viral blogs and books like Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In.

    

In the fall of 1941, German troops killed more than 15,000 Jewish residents in a two-day massacre outside the city of Rovno in Ukraine.

What would an author write on the "thank you" page of her novel if she was telling the truth? Pittsboro author Ruth Moose wrote the acknowledgments of her debut novel, Doing It At the Dixie Dew, with a candor atypical of many authors.

    

When Beth McKenzie's grandmother passed away, she left behind a hefty nursing home bill and a dilapidated mansion, and it was up to Beth to figure out what to do. But luckily, she had a plan.