Kingsport native Patricia Ledford will soon release her debut novel, “Strings – The Story of Hope,” set in the mountains of East Tennessee and western North Carolina. She will return to the Model City this Sunday for a book launch and signing.
What’s your background?
Though she now lives in North Carolina, Ledford was born in Kingsport and attended East Tennessee State University and the University of Tennessee.
She spent many years working in the entertainment industry and in marketing, advertising and public relations. While writing was a common task in her career field, Ledford had long hoped for a chance to write a novel.
“I can remember back to when I was 12 years old and I wanted to write. … I was praying for that opportunity when the Lord brought me to North Carolina to a secluded cabin,” Ledford said.
Talk about the book and the writing process.
Ledford said she began writing the novel after she got settled in at her new home in North Carolina. Because the story takes place in the late 1700s and early 1800s, Ledford did extensive research to make it come to life.
“(I learned) everything down to what people wore during that timeframe and weapons – how to fire a musket, how to load a musket, that kind of thing,” Ledford said. “So I have done a lot of research, just to be sure the story was historically accurate.”
The story begins in 1776, when Dragging Canoe – a Cherokee war chief – and his warriors attacked a white settlement somewhere between Kingsport and Elizabethton, Ledford said. The settlers reciprocated by wiping out a Cherokee settlement.
“The story begins with actual events and then goes into its impact on a 15-year-old girl (named Hope), who is extremely naïve and has lived in absolute security with her family,” Ledford said. “Her home is burned and she flees the home on horseback, and things get worse before they get better.”
According to the official book description, “Strings of hurtful events quickly destroy Hope’s innocence, wrapping her heart in deeply buried memories. She resists relationships of any kind. That is, until her search for her father leads to an unexpected friendship.”
When is the book signing?
Ledford will hold a book launch and signing at the Netherland Inn schoolhouse this Sunday, June 23, from 2-4 p.m. Books will be available for purchase at the event, and no tickets are required.
For those who can’t come to the book launch, the book will also be available online through Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
“I have the sequel to this book in my head, and as soon as I can get this book launched and on its way, I hope I can get back to writing,” Ledford said. “It is my passion, and it’s just been a real blessing to be able to actually sit and write every day. I had a crazy career of 100-hour weeks for many, many years and no time to write. Now I’ve got time.”