Peggy Poe Stern, Mountain Author: Ever so common, ever so uncommon


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Excerpt from #01, Heaven-high & Hell-deep
Excerpt from #16, Blind Faith
Excerpt from #17, Served Cold
Excerpt from #18, Better Off Dead
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"Peggy was born, I know that for a fact ," said one of her friends. "I just don't know the details."


Here are a few details.
Peggy was born at the end of a narrow mountain hollow called Sugar Tree in Ashe County, North Carolina. She had one older sister and one younger brother.
Peggy's father was Glen Poe, a black-dirt mountain farmer. Her mother was Lois Jones Poe, a factory worker.
Her sister's boy friend brought his friend, David Stern, by the Poe house. David's eye was caught. Being that David was older and in college, the feisty fourteen-year-old forced every one, including her parents, to promise never to tell her correct age to him. All went well until David's friend discovered that David was falling for the little chit and told, but it was too late. David was already hooked, but managed to wait until after her seventeenth birthday to marry her.
All David's life he planned on having an even dozen children, but Peggy corrected his plan. She agreed to have six.

On Writing:
I started trying to write at a young and tender age. An age where I knew nothing about nothing, but there was this thing sitting on my shoulder that made me do it. I called the thing the little devil because it continually slapped me up the side of the head and said, "Write, write!" "Now, how is a dumb slip-of-a-child supposed to write?" I asked the little devil.
He didn't care what I said or what excuses I came up with. He didn't care that I got married, had six children, worked night and day, and only prayed for a good night's sleep. He kept slapping me up the side of my head until I was finally addled enough to give up and start writing full time.
It only took thirty-eight years of married life, six grown children, eight grandchildren, one great grandson. forty-two years of practice writing, a pile of classes and a pile of writing instructors, along with a truck load of discarded sheets of paper, and ten attempted novels stashed under my bed before I published my first book. I can hardly wait until someone calls me an 'over-night success.' 

Some more details:


Peggy has always lived in the mountains. This gives her a unique perspective to portray her heritage. She grew up in a remote mountain hollow in Ashe County, North Carolina. Her dad grew beans and raised livestock. Her mother worked at a local factory to supplement the farming income. Relatives, extended family, and church provided a unique atmosphere for living and learning the old mountain traditions. She married at 17, finished high school, and started a family.

She furthered her education at Appalachian State, but the responsibilities of six children (her husband wanted an even dozen) quickly made formal study impossible. She did manage to write a few manuscripts on an old portable typewriter. Her stories were good, but her husband laughed at her spelling and sentence structure. Becoming reticent and disillusioned with writing, she turned to crafts to assist in the struggle for survival. Her crafts were marketed through Blue Ridge Hearthside Crafts Cooperative and she became a board member of the organization.

Moving to her own farm at Foscoe-Grandfather community in Watauga County, she continued to raise her own food, adding a milk cow and other livestock. Tobacco was raised as the main cash crop. Christmas trees were planted to assist the children through college. Being active in agriculture, Peggy became a board member of Farm Bureau Insurance, the local Christmas Tree Association, NC Agricultural Extension Advisory Council and a board member at NC State University. Through these positions she was able to get out and see some of the world beyond the mountains.

For more than thirty years, Peggy assisted her husband, a land surveyor, with the field and office work. Through contacts made with a developer client, she started selling her Christmas trees on a lot in Naples, Florida, becoming known there as the “The Christmas Tree Lady”. The survey business gave Peggy additional insight on the impacts, good and adverse, to the community as the mountains became a tourist and second home destination.

Peggy has an affinity for growing things and raising animals. After phasing out tobacco, she converted the barn to a kennel and began raising small breed dogs. As the children grew up, went to college, married and had families of their own, there became time for writing. Wanting to know if she was good enough to write seriously, she attended many classes and joined the local High Country Writers group. Terry Kay did one the group’s presentations and told her “All words are the same, it's how you put them to that makes the difference”. He also advised her to write something that wasn’t personal that she would be comfortable with being critiqued. Her first novel, Heaven-High and Hell-deep, resonates with the cadence of Peggy’s strong mountain voice and storytelling ability.

Always resourceful, Peggy decided she would not only write books, but she'd make and market them herself too. Consequently, every book is uniquely hers: she writes the stories, paints the cover picture, and prints and binds each one at her farm. Currently she has produced a fair-sized "heirloom collection" of twelve novels steeped with Appalachian mountain characters and settings in addition to two non-fiction works on planting in harmony with the moon and on mountain speech.

Peggy prints and binds free introductory excerpts of Heaven-high and Hell-deep – providing just enough intrigue to send readers to the library or bookstore to find out what happens next. Newland, NC news-paper, The Avery Post uses the novel as a serial – keeping readers anxious for the next issue. Peggy also likes to do "story chuckings" – get-togethers to enjoy exchanging tales with readers.

For more information on Peggy and her books, call 828-963-5331 or e-mail her at the link below.

"Click" to e-mail Peggy

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