Valerie Nieman, author of Blood Clay, a novel Netwest member Joan Howard said she “can’t put down” inspired and informed those who came to the Author Chat and Tea at Moss Memorial Library on Friday afternoon. Nieman set the casual mood by forgoing a lectern and sitting in a chair with the group of mostly poets, reading from her new novel and her poetry book, Wake Wake Wake, asking questions and answering questions.
The author told us of her experience in all forms of writing, showing the large number of books she has published, including a book of short stories, Fidelities.
"I'm just an old journalist,” Nieman told us. She received her degree in journalism from West Virginia University.
She said her years of writing for newspapers taught her to tighten up her prose, use words sparingly, no fat, just lean sharp language.
That is what we all aim for in our fiction. During a break for refreshments, each member of the audience had an opportunity to speak with Nieman personally.
Poet Maren Mitchell, said, “An accomplished author of poetry, short stories and novels, she was a delight to listen to, and so comfortable and informative to talk with. I'm so glad I went to hear and meet Valerie Nieman.”
I am reading Blood Clay on my Nook, and it is a page turner. The book tells the story of Tracy, a teacher, who has moved to the North Carolina tobacco farming country and witnesses a brutal attack by dogs belonging to her neighbor. Like anyone new in a community Tracy’s actions are questioned by the local people.
“I so enjoyed Valerie Nieman's tea on Friday--her intelligent and friendly discussions and the high lyricism of her poetry. She is an author of wide knowledge and grace.” Joan Howard commented.
Thanks to Mary Fonda, librarian at Moss Library, for opening the doors for our Author Chat and Tea. It must have been the “tea” that turned our men writers away. A new resident of Murphy said she saw the article in the newspaper and knew she had to come. “I am pleased to meet so many interesting and intelligent women.” She said.
Valerie Nieman is presently an assistant professor of English and Journalism at North Carolina A & T State University in Greensboro, NC. She is also an editor for Prime Numbers online literary journal. She teaches at John C. Council Folk School.