1000 x 90

Hope Knocking will resonate with many local families and their experiences during the pandemic that started in 2020.

Book Tour Brings East Tennessee Author Nova Mann to Watauga Library on Saturday, Jan. 21

By Sherrie Norris

East Tennessee author Nova Mann is currently making her rounds on a book tour promoting her first novel, Hope Knocking. She will be at Watauga County Library in Boone at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 21, with her book and accompanying music CD of 13 songs.

What started as a journal  in March, 2020, for the retired teacher/ accomplished musician in documenting the challenges of the pandemic, her written words turned into a compelling and realistic story of how a family of three faced the challenges of lockdowns, isolation and related anxiety and misplaced feelings, in addition to social unrest and political turmoil.

A world traveler who had just returned from a trip to Hawaii as the pandemic set its course, Mann admitted that her book was therapeutic — and as she began writing, she couldn’t stop.

Hope Knocking quickly morphed into a book about the struggles of an Appalachian family during this unsettling time, loosely based on myself, my husband and my elderly mother,” Mann shared. “I gave myself permission to be as authentic as possible, and to show vulnerabilities and flaws in each character. I hope this made the characters more believable.”

She explained that Amantha is a nature-loving Democrat living in Trump country who has recently found her voice; Matthew longs for the simplicity of times past, and struggles to slow down; Nancy Mae’s mind frequently goes back in time to her hardscrabble life growing up in Mavie, a mere speck on a topographical map in the corner of Carter County, Tennessee – right on the North Carolina line.

“Like all of us, they experience depression, fear and anxiety brought on by the pandemic, and each use different coping mechanisms. Quarantine brought about even more loneliness and isolation of the elderly, and I used Nancy Mae to highlight that issue. Finally, I ultimately wrote the book to offer hope, as I discovered towards the end, on a cold Winter Solstice day, to be a light in times of darkness.”

Hope Knocking is a must-read for many, especially those of us in these hills who likely experienced some of the same feelings and uncertainties brought on by Covid and its resulting pandemic that turned our lives upside down.

“The balance was great,” one reviewer shared. “Perfect amount of history, drama and even mystery. It also balanced the lives of these characters where we equally feel involved in each of them. Mann’s writing style is smooth and easy to follow. I really enjoyed the storyline, it made for a well-rounded read. From the get go, there was lots of things happening at once. It was a full ride!”

And another said, “This was an interesting read. It drew me in way more than I was expecting, which is a testament to the writing. It is compelling, while making you really contemplate things and think. There was drama and many different relationships to comb through. It was great how the author managed to keep everything straight. Great read.”

Pleased with how her first novel had turned out and is being received, Mann is working on her second, Flight of the Morning Dove.

Having settled several years ago in the area where  her mother grew up, Mann was a Fulbright Scholar in Chile and  lived in Spain for a year.

“My husband and I were married on the banks of the Diamond River, where we live today.”

Calling it a “ fictional life narrative,” Mann admits to a lot of similarities/parallels to the lives of the book’s characters and that of her own, her husband and elderly  mother, living through the year 2020 in a small mountain community.

And nature. “I use nature a lot in my book as a source of comfort, because I use it in my life to help soothe.”

Nancy Mae in the book is much like her mother,  she said, “My mother adds a lot of cultural flair and remembers so much about history, like the TB epidemic when she was young.”

Also with reference to 13 songs in the book,  Mann produced an accompanying  CD, “which helps me tell the stories in the book.”

Plan now to meet Mann and take home a signed copy of her new book and a copy of her CD on Sat. January 20 (rescheduled from Jan. 14 due to weather forecast.)

She will be reading passages from the book, signing books, answering questions and hopefully performing some of her songs from the CD.

Watauga County Library is located at 140 Queen St. in Boone.

Hope Knocking was published in 2022 by Jan-Carol Publishing, Inc. and is also available on Amazon.

More About the Author

Having published her first novel in 2022, Nova Mann is already working on a sequel to Hope Knocking, which is scheduled to be released later this year. Mann is a former high school teacher who began her career in North Carolina and retired in Tennessee. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia and her graduate degree from Appalachian State University. As a lifelong learner, she continues to explore the world through hiking, sustainable gardening, writing and playing old-time mountain music. One of her life’s biggest accomplishments was spent as a Fulbright scholar in South America, teaching English at a public high school. She later led many American students on trips throughout Latin America and Europe, believing that travel is the best way to uproot intolerance and replace it with respect for all cultures. She lives with her husband in the mountains of Tennessee, embraced by the Cherokee Forest.

For more information, look for her on Facebook: @NovaMann20