Emme McLean never imagined that in 1999 she would be living out the lyrics of the ancient murder ballads she grew up singing. But now Emme is back in Red River, Kentucky, using her skills as a journalist to prove her cousin did not kill her husband and to find out what is terrifying the town after many of its women went half-mad on the same night. But to help her hometown’s haunted women, Emme must also face the things that haunt her, things she thought she had lost when she chose to move away: the majestic music of her family’s beloved hills and hollows, the mysterious old ways of her Appalachian kin, and the memory of her remarkable first love, Evan. Through it all, she must reckon with her magical “mountain gift” is it real, or merely a unique synesthesia? And can she trust it to help heal her family and her town, a place still plagued by the social injustice that first drove her away? Can she trust it to help heal herself?
Meet the Author
Author of the novel Like Light, Like Music (West Virginia University Press, 2020), Lana K. W. Austin’s poems and short stories have recently been featured in Mid-American Review, Sou’wester, Columbia Journal, The Pinch, Appalachian Heritage, etc. Winner of the 2019 Alabama State Poetry Society Book of the Year Award, a 2019 Hackney Poetry Award & the 2018 Words & Music Poetry Award, Austin is also a 2020 Pushcart Prize nominee and has been a finalist and semi-finalist in multiple other competitions, including the James Wright Poetry Award, the Crab Orchard Review First Book Award, the Zone 3 Book Award, the American Short Fiction Award, the Still: The Journal Fiction Award, and the Machigonne Fiction Award. Born and raised in rural Kentucky, Austin studied creative writing at both Hollins University and the University of Mary Washington and has an MFA from George Mason University. Her full-length poetry collection, Blood Harmony, is from Iris Press (2018). Austin currently resides in Alabama, where she teaches writing in the English department at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. She is also a member of the Peauxdunque Writers Alliance.