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Best-selling Novelist Says Americans Hungry

081400morgan_dl.jpgBOONE — Americans’ hunger to connect with a calmer past is spurring the popularity of Appalachian fiction, best-selling novelist Robert Morgan says on “Appalachian Perspective” cable television show.

And he doesn’t see that trend dissipating soon.

“At this time in American culture when we’re so immersed in the digital world, we have lost touch with the world that came before ours. Fiction such as ‘Gap Creek’ and (Charles Frazier’s) ‘Cold Mountain’ provides a window on the past.

“I have no doubt that interest in Appalachian culture is in part stimulated by the fact that it’s gone.”

Morgan is the guest on “Connecting with Mountains Past,” the December episode of “Appalachian Perspective.” The 30-minute cable television program of Appalachian State University is hosted by Chancellor Francis T. Borkowski.

Morgan’s novel “Gap Creek” has sold more than a million copies since being selected for Oprah’s Book Club in early 2000. Its characters Julie and Hank are based loosely on Morgan’s maternal grandparents who moved to Gap Creek, S.C., as young newlyweds. The novel chronicles the couple’s struggle with fire, flood and childbirth in their first year of marriage in the late 1890s.

“My life has been the research for books like ‘Gap Creek,'” says Morgan, who grew up without indoor plumbing and plowed his family’s farm with a horse until the early 1960s.

His other works include “The Truest Pleasure” and “The Hinterlands.”

In the interview, Morgan also discusses what sparked his love for fiction writing and his mixed emotions about over-development of the North Carolina mountains.

“Appalachian Perspective” is produced by the Department of Communication and the Office of Public Affairs.

In Watauga County, the show airs on Charter Communication’s cable Channel 39 at 6 p.m. Dec. 11-15, and Tuesdays throughout December at 7:30 p.m. on Charter Communication’s cable Channel 2. The program also airs in Raleigh, Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Asheville, Kannapolis and Newport.

For more information, contact producer Linda Coutant at (828) 262-2342.