Robert Morgan visits Floyd

Best-selling author Robert Morgan is a man of many parts; poet, celebrated author, and Professor of English at Cornell University, so it was a treat to meet him recently at a Friends of the Library event in Floyd, VA. Here you see him chatting with local writer and blogger, Fred First.

Morgan is a master storyteller. He had the audience hanging on every word as he described the process of creating Brave Enemies: A Novel of the American Revolution which covers the events leading up to the battle of Cowpens, which took place on January 17, 1781, near Spartanburg, South Carolina.

He explained why he chose to tell the story of this decisive battle through the eyes of Josie Summers, a young woman who is serving as a soldier with the company of the North Carolina militia. Josie is passing herself off as a man and has joined the war in order to find her husband, John Trethman, who has been captured by British soldiers.

He read a few selections from Brave Enemies and it is easy to see why he is such a celebrated author. He transforms the results of his extensive historical research into living, breathing characters with stories that touch the heart.

Interestingly enough, I found his accounts of creating the book to be more gripping than the book itself. His research is a story all on its own, and every word was an inspiration to the would-be authors who were in attendance at this event. It was a fine opportunity to learn from one of the best and I saw many of them taking notes.

In spite of his fame, Morgan is a warm and approachable person who took time to answer questions and chat with everyone who attended the event. I got a much better appreciation of the work that goes into writing and promoting a book after seeing him in action.

He was on the return leg of an exhausting week-long research and promotion tour and would be driving to Ithaca, NY on the following morning, but he remained unfailingly gracious while answering questions and signing books. He sets a great example for aspiring authors to follow and deserves all of the fame that comes to him.

The Friends of the Library are to be congratulated for inviting a writer of his caliber to speak in Floyd. I understand that they have more fine authors to follow in subsequent months. Take advantage of the opportunity to meet these authors and attend the rest of these events.

UPDATE: Fred First’s upcoming book Slow Road Home will be available in June 2006 and is already getting marvelous pre-publication reviews. Way to go, Fred!

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