Victoria Lyall, who grew up in Auto and Frankford, has published her first novel about the struggle to preserve ginseng, family, and the future of Appalachia. In the story, a young woman from the mountains befriends a Mexican woman who has come to town looking for her brother, who has disappeared. The two of them play detective while trying to manage meddling strangers, ginseng poachers, and federal marshals.
“Although Hunt Your Own is set in a fictional mountain town, the people and places of Greenbrier County were the inspiration for many scenes and events,” she said. “I had to dig deep in my memories of my grandparents and their neighbors, and the church picnics and coves where I spent my childhood. The book is my little answer to how Appalachia can adjust to the modern world without giving up our traditions and identity, which are precious to us – as they should be.”
Victoria interviewed ginseng hunters and buyers in her research for the book, although she says plenty of them stubbornly avoided her when they heard she was writing a book. “I didn’t give away any secrets,” she laughed. “There may be a few white lies involved.”
Victoria lives in the mountains of western North Carolina now. She is the granddaughter of the late Jeffery and Arbutus Lyall.
The book, Hunt Your Own, is available on Amazon.com.