Katherine Scott Crawford, author of the recently published novel “Keowee Valley,” was at the Aiken County Public Library on Saturday to speak to people about her new book and the research she put into it.
The story begins in spring 1768 in Charleston and follows a young woman named Quincy McFadden. After hearing that her cousin, a man she’d long believed to be dead, is actually alive and being held captive by the Shawnee Indians, McFadden travels the rugged Cherokee Path into the South Carolina Blue Ridge, trusting a half-Cherokee tracker whose loyalties may lie elsewhere.
Crawford, who got her undergraduate at Clemson University and has also studied at College of Charleston and the Citadel, was born and raised in the upstate. She told the audience on Saturday that she wanted to be a writer from a young age.
“I wanted to tell stories and try to create worlds so vivid that when you read them, you could feel the book pulse like a living thing in your hands,” she said.
She said she was fascinated by Cherokee history and “read anything I could get my hands on.”
Much of the two years it took to write the book were spent on research and “getting the facts straight” for the story, Crawford said.
“I love when characters are tossed into strange lands, and I love a frontier story,” Crawford said of her protagonist being uprooted from Charleston and placed into the upstate.
“I knew she’d start from Charleston, because at this point it was one of the most important port cities in the British colonies,” Crawford said. “It was a tumultuous time on the South Carolina frontier for the Cherokee.”
Currently, Crawford is working on two more stories. The first is Civil War-era novel based in South Carolina.
“It’s a year before the Citadel cadets fired on Fort Sumter and started the whole mess,” she said. The main character in that book will end up being the great-great-granddaughter of McFadden in “Keowee Valley,” according to Crawford. She also plans to write a sequel to “Keowee Valley.”
Since the book was published in September 2012, Crawford has been going to cities across the Southeast to promote it. She said she enjoys doing historical research on each city she visits, and she planned to do some sightseeing in Aiken on Saturday.
“I loved finding out that Aiken started as a railroad town in the 1800s,” she said. “And I loved reading about the winter colony in Aiken. I thought that was very interesting.”
“Keowee Valley” is available at most major book stores and websites, including Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com.