- What’s the title of your book? Fiction? Nonfiction? Poetry? Who is the publisher and what’s the publication date?
And the Crows Took Their Eyes is historical fiction, published by Regal House Publishing on October 16, 2020.
- In a couple of sentences, what’s the book about?
In bitterly divided western North Carolina, Confederate troops execute thirteen men and boys suspected of Unionism. The Shelton Laurel Massacre, as it came to be known, is a microcosm of the horrors of civil war—neighbor against neighbor, violence at one’s own front door, and enduing repercussions.
- What’s the book’s genre (for fiction and nonfiction) or primary style (for poetry)?
Literary/ historical fiction.
- What’s the nicest thing anyone has said about the book so far?
“In And the Crows Took their Eyes Vicki Lane has done nothing less than commit an act of mountain sorcery. Through her the voices of the dead rise up out of the hollows of Madison County, North Carolina telling a story as tragic and urgent as it was 150 years ago.” — Tony Earley, author of Jim the Boy
- What book or books is yours comparable to or a cross between? [Is your book like Moby Dick or maybe it’s more like Frankenstein meets Peter Pan?]
Cold Mountain is the closest I can come—similar setting, a soldier coming home, a woman left behind. I purposely avoided reading novels about the Civil War while I was writing my book, not wishing to be influenced. So I can’t really point to any others.
- Why this book? Why now?
Since I live in the county where the massacre occurred, the story has been nagging at me for many years. And in 2016, as the country became more and more polarized, I realized that the story of neighbor against neighbor and the tragic consequences had a compelling relevancy.
- Other than writing this book, what’s the best job you’ve ever had?
I enjoy leading writing workshops; I even enjoy editing other folks’ novels.
- What do you want readers to take away from the book?
I hope the book makes readers reflect on the horrors of civil war—on the home front as well as the battlefield—and the dangers of demonizing “the other.”
- What food and/or music do you associate with the book?
Cornbread, cornpone, hog meat are standard fare in the novel and are still a way of life in western North Carolina. As for music, the Civil War era song “Lorena” winds its way through the novel. This haunting melody and poignant words were sung by both the Blue and the Gray.
- What book(s) are you reading currently?
Greenwitch, a YA by Susan Cooper.
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Editor’s Note: This exchange is part of a series of brief interviews with emerging writers of recent or forthcoming books. If you enjoyed it, please visit other interviews in the I’ve Got Questions feature.