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Author Lynn York explores scandal in a small southern town

Posted Monday, August 2, 2004

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Author Lynn York Explores Scandal in a Small Southern Town On North Carolina Bookwatch, Sunday, August 8, at 5 PM With a bevy of characters who have their share of mistakes and losses haunting them, author Lynn York's debut novel The Piano Teacher captures North Carolina small-town life with depth, quirky humor and intrigue.

Sunday, August 8, at 5 PM, on UNC-TV's North Carolina Bookwatch, the native North Carolinian shares her fictional exploration of scandal in a Southern town with her first endeavor in the Swan's Knob series. York reveals how she returned to the Tar Heel State to create a heroine that author Lee Smith called "Eudora Welty meets Miss Marple in this sweet, sexy Southern tour de force."

"I really enjoyed returning to Pilot Mountain, NC, where I spent much of my childhood, to write my debut novel in that great setting, says York. "I really wanted to write about what it was like to live in Pilot Mountain in a certain place in time."

The protagonist of York's debut book, piano teacher Miss Wilma, lives in this place in time-days away from a spring piano recital when her prodigal daughter Sarah arrives unannounced with 10-year-old daughter Starling in tow. When Sarah's husband Harper shows up on Miss Wilma's front porch a few short hours after a murder is committed in the small town-and just steps ahead of Jonah Branch, a long-haired Native American stranger whom the men of the town have pegged as murder suspect number one-things start to get out of hand for Miss Wilma and the fictional inhabitants of Swan Knob.

"Miss Wilma was the first person who came to me," Admits York. "I began writing some character sketches of people that I actually knew in Pilot Mountain and Miss Wilma was modeled on my own piano teacher in Pilot Mountain. Three-quarters down the first page, it was no longer my piano teacher anymore-it was Miss Wilma Mabry and she had invaded my imagination."

For the first-time novelist, adding some hometown help to her healthy imagination kept The Piano Teacher in tune. "I think North Carolina is a really good place to be an author. In this area it was very easy, because you can barely go to the grocery store without bumping into a writer," muses York.

Lynn York was born and raised in North Carolina. Educated at Duke University and the University of Texas at Austin, she lived in Washington D.C., working in the international telecommunications industry until small children and the promise of decent vegetables and a yard with grass brought her back to North Carolina in 1995. She lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with her two children, Anna Lee and Will.

During this season of North Carolina Bookwatch, guests will also include: J. Peder Zane (Remarkable Reads), Sharyn McCrumb (Ghost Riders), Clyde Edgerton (Lunch at the Piccadilly), Jim Early (Tar Heel Barbecue), John Dalton (Heaven Lake), Chuck Stone (Squizzy the Black Squirrel), Bart Ehrman (Lost Christianities), Sheila Kay Adams (My Old True Love), Bill Thompson (Sweet Tea, Fried Chicken, and Lazy Dogs), Joe May (Poe & Fanny), Orin Starn (Ishi's Brain), Karen Barker (Sweet Stuff), Dr. Gerald Bell (The Carolina Way), B.J. Mountford (Bloodlines of Shackleford Banks), John Shelton Reed (Minding the South), Steven Sherrill (Visits from the Drowned Girl), Carl Ernst (Following Muhammad), Orrin Pilkey (How to Read a North Carolina Beach) and Walter Turner (Paving Tobacco Road).


Funding for North Carolina Bookwatch is provided by UNC-TV members and by Quail Ridge Books and Music, Raleigh's independent, full service bookstore, bringing readers and writers together since 1984. North Carolina Bookwatch is part of UNC-TV's ongoing commitment to produce programs for and about North Carolina. UNC-TV is the statewide 11-station broadcast network of the University of North Carolina.

Related info:
NC Bookwatch

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Author Lynn York explores scandal in a small southern town
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