Nightwoods (Frazier)

Author Bio
Where—Asheville, North Carolina, USA
Education—B.A., University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill;
   M.A., Ph.D., Appalachian State University
Awards—National Book Award for Fiction, 1997
Currently—lives in Raleigh, North Carolina

Charles Frazier grew up in the mountains of North Carolina. Cold Mountain, his highly acclaimed first novel, was an international bestseller, and won the National Book Award in 1997. In 2006 Mr. Frazier published Thirteen Moons.

Frazier had been teaching University-level literature part-time when he first became spellbound by the story of his great-great uncle W. P. Inman. Inman was a confederate soldier during the Civil War who took a harrowing foot-journey from the ravaged battle fields back to his home in the mountains of North Carolina. The specifics of Inman's history were sketchy, indeed, but Frazier's father spun his tale with such enticing drama that Frazier began filling in the gaps, himself. Bits of the life of Frazier's grandfather, who also fought in the Civil War, helped flesh out the journey of William Pinkney Inman.

He also looked toward the legendary epic poem The Odyssey for inspiration. Slowly, a gripping tale of devotion, faith, redemption, and love coalesced in Frazier's mind. For six or seven years, he toiled away on the story that would ultimately become Cold Mountain, and with the novel's publication in 1997, the first-time author had a modern classic of American literature on his hands.

In Cold Mountain, Inman is a wounded confederate soldier who abandons the war to venture home to his beloved Ada. Along the way, he is confronted by various obstacles, but he journeys on valiantly, regardless. Frazier cleverly divides the narrative between Inman's trek and Ada's story as she struggles to make due in the wake of her father's death and the absence of her love.

When Frazier was only half finished with the book, he passed it along to friend and novelist Kaye Gibbons (Ellen Foster; A Virtuous Woman), who then got it into the hands of her agent. Much to his disbelief, Frazier's novel went on to become the smash sensation of the late-‘90s. Winning countless laudatory reviews from publications throughout the nation, Cold Mountain also became a must-read commercial smash. The novel ultimately won the coveted National Book Award for fiction and was adapted into an Oscar-winning motion picture starring Jude Law, Nicole Kidman and best supporting actress Renee Zellweger.

Nearly ten years after the publication of Cold Mountain, Frazier published Thirteen Moons. While Thirteen Moons returns to a 19th century setting, 12-year old Will is quite a different protagonist from Inman. With only a horse, a key, and a map, the boy is prodded into Indian country with the mission of running a trading post. In this dangerous environment, Will learns to empathize with the Cherokees, who open his mind to a much broader world than he had ever seen before.

In 2011 Frazier published Nightwoods, the story of a young woman living alone in the Appalachians who takes on the care of her murdered sisters young children, traumatized, violent and mute.

• Frazier grew up not far from the mountain he immortalized in Cold Mountain in the Blue Ridge of North Carolina. Although the actual Cold Mountain exists, the town after which it is named in the novel is entirely fictional.

• Reportedly, Frazier was offered a whopping $8 million advance for Thirteen Moons. Sadly, the book never reached the sales potential Random House had expected.  (From Widkipedia.)

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