Thursday, March 5, 2015

Rose Glen 2015 was Saturday last

The sixth annual Rose Glen Literary Festival was held last Saturday in Sevierville at the Convention Center on Gists Creek Road off Hwy 66.

Rose Glen is designed as a vehicle for local authors to come together once a year and talk about and sell their books. I've been a part of Rose Glen since the beginning, even serving as the initial keynote speaker at the luncheon. Since then, local authors Dr. Bill Bass, Fred Brown, Bill Landry and News Sentinel columnist Sam Venable have keynoted. This year's keynoters were a married duo, author Wendy Welch and her husband Scottish folk singer Jack Beck.

Special thanks to Carroll McMahan and Brenda McCroskey and the rest of the staff of the Sevierville Chamber of Commerce for organizing Rose Glen.

One of my favorite aspects of the festival is getting to meet and talk to other writers. Three years ago, I met Luke Copas, promoted as the youngest author there. He penned and illustrated a book about the tragic sinking of the world's most famous ocean liner called, "Facts for Kids about the Titanic." Luke is well on his way of becoming a Titanic historian; he's now working on his third book about the 1912 disaster.
Wendy Welch author of "The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap: A Memoir of Friendship, Community, and the Uncommon Pleasure of a Good Book" served as keynote speaker. The title says it all. Welch spoke of her book and the perils of starting your life over, opening a bookstore without any books in a town of only 5,000 people and succeeding against all odds. But, heck, who pays attention to the odds?

Event organizer and historian Carroll McMahan has a book of his own, "Elkmont's Uncle Lem Ownby: Sage of the Smokies." Growing up in Gatlinburg, I remember when everyone's Uncle Lem still lived upstream from the Elkmont Campground. He had sold his land to the national park movement in the early 1900s but with the agreement that he got to live on it until his death. And Uncle Lem lived a long time. 

"Jellybeans for Breakfast?" The author, Shawn Cline, wrote the story and paired up with illustrator Teresa Glaze to produce this beautiful children's book. This book is educational in a fun way. Shawn's love of children and animals inspired her to write about animals and nutrition. Teresa Glaze, with her love and artistic talent has beautifully illustrated this story. Together Teresa and Shawn bring the story to life. 

When asked how many books he has written, everyone's favorite Sam Venable usually replies "a bunch." He isn't being glib, he probably doesn't know off the top of his head. I have several on my shelves and I'm lucky that he wrote the introduction for my first book. Sam's "A Handful of Thumbs and Two Left Feet" is a collection of his outdoor stories.

Multitalented Elyse Bruce is a musician, composer, singer-songwriter, visual artist, illustrator, playwright and the author of the “The Missy Barrett Adventures” book series, “The Missy Barrett Conversations” book series and the “Idiomation” book series. "The Secret Ingredient" is the third book in Bruce's Missy Barrett Adventures. In it, Missy visits Grandma and makes Nôhkom’s Artisan bread and chocolate chip cookies and learns what's Grandma's secret ingredient.

Since I also illustrate my books, I generally spend time at Rose Glen talking to young people about drawing. All kids draw, some, like me, do it all their lives. I met Jordan Roberts several years ago at the festival (she's gotten taller, I grayer) and enjoy seeing her every year to talk about art. She likes to draw animals, as I do.

And to all of the dozens of authors I didn't get to meet and talk to this year, there's always next year's Rose Glen set for February, 2016.

Author Wendy Welch

with Faye and Glen Cardwell author of
"The Greenbrier Cove Story" and "A Dream Fulfilled: A Story about Pittman Center."

Annetta, budding young artist
Sam Venable with my high school friend Ruth Carr Miller
Artist Jordan Roberts
Author Shawne Cline
Scottish folk singer Jack Beck
Author Elyse Bruce
with authors Luke Copas and Carroll McMahan

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