Local authors, stories see success in literary world

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) - It's always cool to read about places you've been to.
And it's cool when the author either lives in or writes about a place you call home. A new local bookstore is trying to highlight local authors and books about local places and to show off their success.

Book No Futher is a tiny book store tucked into the 16 West Marketplace in downtown Roanoke. But it checks all the marks of a cozy, independent bookstore. Even the comforts of home.

"That one's set in Franklin County and set in Roanoke," said Doloris Vest, pointing to a protruding spine.

Vest, owner of Book No Futher, prominently displays books written by locals or about local places. There's fiction, non-fiction and children's fantasy, among others.

"I think there's a much bigger variety here than people would think," she said.

Vest said books with local authors or settings have been successful in her store.

"A lot of times people will be looking at a couple of different books in a genre," she said. "And when I point out, 'well we have one here and it's a local author and that,' they'll prefer that."

But some of those books also see success across the country, including "If the creek don't rise" - the debut novel by Leah Weiss, who lives in Lynchburg.

"The fact that the book is classified as historical fiction is a real big honor to me," Weiss said. "Because it shows I did my homework that made it very, very real and authentic"

Her compelling novel about women in a North Carolina holler, has been classified as an Indie Next book and supported by The southern Independent Booksellers Alliance.

"I wanted to honor not only their culture, but the people," she said of her Appalachian characters. "I was not going to talk down to or to stereotype any of the kind of more cruel type of renditions of them. I wanted to honor them for the wise people they are."

Weiss believes the literary world is rediscovering the south.

Vest is happy to support that.

“We’re a smart group of people here and we have a lot of smart writers and good writers," she said. "That’s really what we want to do. It makes the store more successful but it’s also what we can do to reach out to the community.”

That includes hosting authors. Saturday, Dec. 9, Book No Further will host Weiss at her bookstore for locals to meet the author and hear her read from it.

For now, Weiss is traveling to events just like the one scheduled for this weekend. But she said she has some more exciting work to look forward to.

"I do believe the mountains like just about any place is filled with stories just waiting to be told."