CHARLESTON, W.Va. — One of the oft-repeated adages of great writing is to write what you know.
Here in the Mountain State, it seems an awful lot of skilled writers have taken that to heart, as evidenced by an abundance of credible and acclaimed books written either by West Virginia authors or written about West Virginia — or both.
Rooted in the hills of Appalachia, there is a long and rich tradition of storytelling here that has given way to a thriving, modern-day community of writers and readers, authors and fans.
The trouble is, they don’t always connect with each other or with the rest of us, their potential audience.
That’s why the Sunday Gazette-Mail has decided to launch a new team of literary experts — the WV Book Team — who will take turns each week offering reviews on books worthy of attention, introducing new authors, offering writing tips and interviews with accomplished writers, and identifying upcoming events of interest to readers and writers alike.
Among the knowledgeable folks you’ll hear from in the coming weeks and months are:
n Writer, editor, educator and publisher Cat Pleska. She is an essayist for West Virginia Public Radio, teaches writing and literature at West Virginia State University and is the president of Mountain State Press.
n Bill Clements, a longtime Charleston resident who sells books all over the state — and the world — often about West Virginia, as owner-operator of the West Virginia Book Co.
n Ann Saville, also a longtime Charleston resident, a prominent businesswoman, owner of the independent bookstore Taylor Books.
We will kick things off today with the Kanawha County Public Library, which houses a collection of more than 625,000 items, including books, audiotapes and DVDs, and saw more than 822,000 visitors check out well over a million items in the 2012-13 fiscal year.
We hope you enjoy this new feature of the Sunday Gazette-Mail. Comments, questions and suggestions are always welcome and can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.