For remote learners! a reading guide

At my publisher’s website are links and downloads.

Preview a chapter of the book as well as a reader’s guide. Guide includes:
Q&A with the author, info on  Appalachia and Iran, plus discussion questions, a bibliography, and recommended reading

Here is a small taste:

Q: Your story is set in Appalachia. What is your interest in that region?
A: I grew up in southwestern Ohio, outside of Dayton. As a kid I rode my bike
everywhere. It must have been disconcerting for my mother to wake up and discover
me gone, then later in the afternoon receive a call from me from a pay phone saying
I was a hundred miles away and too tired to cycle home. Thus, I explored much of
backroads Ohio.
The rural Ohio landscape is in my bones. Even with my eyes closed I can see the
gentle rolling hills, sun-bleached barns leaning toward ruin, abandoned railroad
tracks leading nowhere, small towns with only crossroads. When I went to Ohio
University in Athens, Ohio, in the foothills of the Appalachians, I found the hills
challenging, but managed to bike up into some remote places where dogs chased
me for what seemed like miles. Passing tin-can trailers with tractor-tire flower beds,
I always wondered what it must be like to live there. It was a time in my life when I
wanted more, yet was afraid of what the future might hold – just like Roland.

My father came from Paris, Kentucky, the Bluegrass region, which shares Appalachian
traditions. He remembers coming home from college, hitchhiking to visit his granny,
and finding her in the front yard making soap in a big pot over an open fire.
When I was ready to embark on my college student teaching assignment, an
instructor told me that some of the rural schools refrained from assigning homework
because students didn’t have access to electricity and would have to study by
kerosene lamp.

There is nothing prettier than southeastern Ohio in the fall with the fires of colored
leaves blazing among the hills. The image is burned into my memory.

Q: Why did you include an Iranian boy and the Iranian Hostage Crisis of 1979
in your book?
A: When I was a sophomore in high school, I met a girl from Iran. She was living with
her aunt and uncle so that she could receive medical treatment because she had
crashed through a glass window in an accident. Other than wearing a headscarf, she
dressed much like the rest of us. I wish I could remember her name.
I think what struck me the most was that she seemed so much like me – except she
was quieter.A few years later, I attended Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, graduating in 1982.
During those years, I clearly remember the Revolution, the Hostage Takeover, and
the 444-day Hostage Crisis. It seemed a veil had come down over Iran as the United
States severed diplomatic relations

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