|Norman Powers, Lee Stockdale, and Suki McMinn (Photo by Corey McNabb)|
When I moved to Tryon, North Carolina, in 2011, I had no idea I was settling into a place with such a rich literary history. Yes, people talk about the fact that F. Scott Fitzgerald used to come and stay here, and that he even wrote about Tryon, allegedly scribbling a poem about Missildine’s Drug Store on a napkin while sipping something sweet. But the area’s history is also filled with many other literary types, and it continues to attract all kinds of writers.
So when I ventured into Spartanburg’s Hub City Bookshop in upstate South Carolina—the very unusual and hip indie bookstore where customers can fund the nonprofit Hub City publishing and creative writing education by merely buying books while enjoying a latte-- I hoped being a Tryon writer might give this newly published novelist some gravitas with Betsy Teter, Hub City’s founder and executive director. And I was right.
I told Betsy about my book, Drop Dead Gorgeous by Suki McMinn (my pen name), and she asked me about other Tryon writers. By the time I left the bookstore, we’d planned what I dubbed a Tryonfest at Hub City—a reading and book signing featuring three Tryon writers.
I’d offered Betsy a list of local writers I knew had books out, and she selected Norman Powers of Landrum (not exactly Tryon, but close enough!) and Lee Stockdale of Tryon to share my event.
I’d never met Norman, but had seen him speak about his latest book, Lily’s Game, at Lanier Library’s Brown Bag Lunch a few months before. I called and introduced myself, and he was happy to accept my request to be a part of Hub City’s Tryonfest.
Lee Stockdale, author of Murder of Law and already a friend, was equally enthusiastic about the idea and declared me a marketing genius. (Writers are known to exaggerate from time to time.)
I wouldn’t say I was a genius, but it did turn out to be a smart move to associate myself with other local authors. One thing I’ve learned about the community of Tryon is it is extremely generous when it comes to supporting the arts and local artists.
The Tryon Daily Bulletin ran the article I submitted to promote Hub City’s Tryonfest, and I started pimping the event all over social media—Facebook, Twitter, and various blogs. Another local writer, Pam Stone, shared my little promo with her Facebook peeps, perfectly proving my point about how special folks are around here.
And then when the time came for the actual event, nearly every seat in the bookstore was filled with a body from Tryon. Several were fellow writers, and most were at least Facebook friends if not actual friends. I was truly touched to see so much support from our little community.
Norman, Lee, and I each talked a little about our books and read a passage, and we sold and signed a respectable number of books. I honestly have no idea if it was a big event by Hub City standards, but it was a big deal to me.
I’m proud to say I’m a Tryon writer, and look forward to learning more about what that means. Thank you to Norman and Lee, and to Betsy Teter at Hub City for hosting us, and to all the writers and book lovers in this town and surrounding area who go out of their way to show their support. F. Scott Fitzgerald was right. This place is special.
|Yes, we're proud of our books. Hey, those things don't write themselves, you know. (Photo by Corey McNabb)|