The Original Rednecks

King Carswell Road

Unincorporated Carswell, West Virginia.

Originally, the term “redneck” referred to striking coal miners. In 1920, coal operators raised a private army to attack the miners. The miners fought back. They raised an army ten thousand strong and wore red bandannas around their necks so they could identify each other. Out-of-state journalists started calling them “rednecks.” About a third of the original rednecks were immigrants. Another third of the original rednecks were African American.

The original rednecks were part of the largest armed conflict in the US since the Civil War, an incident known as the Battle of Blair Mountain. I’m fascinated with this part of American history. I went to West Virginia this past summer to research the Battle of Blair Mountain and the general labor tensions. Hopefully, this research will develop into a book project.

Another writer who was fascinated by this stuff is James M. Cain. Before Cain became one of the greatest crime writers of all time, he was a journalist for the Baltimore Sun. He covered the West Virginia Mine Wars.

If you want to learn more about all this, skip Wikipedia and check out my article¬† “James M. Cain and the West Virginia Mine Wars” on Los Angeles Review of Books.

Publishing News

This showed up on the Publisher’s Marketplace newsletter today. You gotta love the author who got top billing!

 

Publishers Marketplace
New deals for May 22, 2018
FICTION
Mystery/Crime
Author of MADHOUSE FOG and OCCUPY PYNCHON Sean Carswell’s DEAD EXTRA, a classic 1940s L.A. noir novel involving dirty cops, B-movie script girls, alcoholic screenwriters, a women’s mental hospital, blackmailing dirty-movie-makers, and a lousy former cop who was presumed dead in WWII but is very much alive, to Colleen Dunn Bates at Prospect Park Books, in a nice deal, for publication in Spring 2019 (world).

Author of HEAVEN’S CROOKED FINGER Hank Early’s next PI Earl Marcus mystery, to Faith Black Ross at Crooked Lane, by Alec Shane at Writers House (world).

General/Other
Author of the forthcoming Bogota 39 Juan Cardenas’s ORNAMENT, about the delusions of art, science, and love, and a drug trial gone wrong, to Lizzie Davis at Coffee House Press, in a nice deal, by Andrea Montejo at Indent Literary Agency on behalf of Editorial Periferica (NA).

Author of ME, MYSELF AND THEM Dan Mooney’s THE GREAT UNEXPECTED, in which two men in a nursing home strike up an unlikely friendship and plan an epic escape, pitched in the spirit of A MAN CALLED OVE, exploring themes of friendship, aging, finding oneself later in life, and experiencing newfound joy, again to Park Row Books, by David Forrer at Inkwell Management on behalf of Legend Press (NA).

Author of The Solitude of Prime Numbers, Paolo Giordano’s DEVOURING THE SKY, an epic story of male friendship, the enduring love between men and women, and the all-too-human search for meaning as it follows four Italian friends from youth to adulthood, to Pamela Dorman at Pamela Dorman Books, for publication in early 2020, by Andrew Wylie at The Wylie Agency (NA). The original Italian edition is published by Einaudi. Rights sold to Shanghai Translation in China, Le Seuil in France, Rowohlt in Germany, Slovart in Slovakia, Keter in Israel, and De Bezige Bij in the Netherlands.

UK
Author of THE HERBALIST Niamh Boyce’s HER KIND, based on the true 14th-century story of Alice Kytler and her maid, the only person to be burnt as a witch in Ireland, to Patricia Deevy at Penguin Ireland, for publication in spring 2019, by Nicola Barr at The Bent Agency.

Winner of The Guardian’s travel writing prize Matt Stanley’s A COLLAR FOR CERBERUS, telling the story of a callow young graduate who chauffeurs an irascible old writer on an epic trip around Greece, to David Haviland at Thistle.

Amy Patricia Meade’s COOKIN’ THE BOOKS and a sequel, featuring a literary cafe and catering company in a quaint southern town, to Kate Lyall-Grant at Severn House, in a two-book deal, by Jessica Faust at BookEnds.