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Author of feud novel to appear at Morgantown Barnes and Noble
LOGAN, W.Va. - You think you know who they were, why they fought, why they died. You know only the legend—now experience the real feud.
Along with all the statewide coverage being given the Hatfield and McCoy feud this month, mostly due to the History Channel's upcoming programming centered around the famous vendetta, Morgantown Barnes and Noble will host a special booksigning with Los Angeles author and Hatfield and McCoy Feud expert, Anne Black Gray, on Wed., May 16th, from 6-8 p.m. Anne, who is promoting the launch of her new book, “The Devil’s Son: Cap Hatfield and the End of the Hatfield and McCoy Feud,” will be greeting the public and discussing the life of Cap Hatfield and the feud with visitors.
“I want to encourage the public—including local students, history buffs, and writing groups—to join us for this very special occasion with a nationally-recognized author and historian,” said Keith Davis, CEO of Woodland Press, publisher of the novel. “Anne's book puts flesh and blood to the various feud participants, and has also been used as background historical material for the upcoming History Channel documentary.”
Anne's book is already being described as a vast historical epic that breathes life into the individuals and families on either side of the Tug River. At the center of the tale is Cap Hatfield, son of Anderson “Devil Anse” Hatfield, the seminal figure in the feud. While the battle rages, Cap wrestles with coming of age in the shadow of his father, the Devil. The novel takes the reader on a journey alongside Cap, son of the feared Devil Anse, who raises his children illiterate and unguided in an isolated region of late nineteenth century southern West Virginia.
“The Devil’s Son: Cap Hatfield and the End of the Hatfield and McCoy Feud,” along with several other Mountain State book titles, has been used as source material in the making of the History Channel documentary on the Hatfield and McCoy Feud, by Emmy®-nominated Director Mark Cowen, to air nationwide on Saturday, June 2 at 4 pm ET—after the debut of the Kevin Costner mini-series that shows on May 28-30th. Anne was also interviewed for the documentary.
In addition to the documentary and mini-series, there are other nationally televised programs that will be focusing on the famous vendetta. For example, History Channel's popular "American Pickers" hosts Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz recently visited and filmed an episode in Mingo County, checking out feud memorabilia in the Matewan and Williamson area.
Likewise, "Pawn Stars" also has an upcoming show that includes a possible Winchester rifle once-owned by Cap Hatfield. The weapon came into the possession of Alex Boone Preece, of Mingo County, in the early 1900s and was later handed down to his descendants. Preece supposedly obtained the rifle in a "horse trade" with Hatfield, while the feudist was on the run.
"How the States Got Their Shapes" will also tape a show of its own this June that will focus on the state and discuss the feud.
AnneBlack Gray grew up in Parkersburg. She graduated with a degree in physics from Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, then went on to spend thirty-five years as an engineer and manager in the aerospace industry in Los Angeles.
She has now added a writing career to her engineering experience.
"When I was a child, my mother and her sisters often spoke fondly of their Uncle Cap," Anne explained. "One Easter, when they were children, he gave my aunts baby ducks and my mother a baby rabbit, by far the nicer gift in her estimation. Mother told me Cap was 'your Granddaddy’s friend.' Since Granddaddy was a reserved, well-spoken man, a West Virginia mayor, state senator, and judge of the circuit court at one time or another, I pictured my mother’s uncle as a man with similar traits and disposition. Cap died six years before I was born, denying me any opportunity to know him personally."
Years later, as an adult, Anne came to learn that “Uncle Cap” was Cap Hatfield, notorious killer and right hand man to his father Devil Anse Hatfield, during the infamous Hatfield-McCoy feuds. It seemed altogether impossible to her that Uncle Cap and Cap the killer could be one and the same. The book, The Devil’s Son, is the result of her efforts, long after her mother’s and aunts’ deaths, to discover how Cap made the great transition he seemed to have made and, concomitantly, how the Hatfield-McCoy feud ended.
"After reading histories, memoirs, two master’s degree theses, and numerous old newspaper articles, I began to put a story together, a story that was never totally clear because information was sparse about many of Cap’s adventures, sources conflicted concerning names of sparring parties and dates of events, and very little was written about motives and interpersonal relationships. In fact, some tales and films portrayed the Hatfields and McCoys as cartoonish, irrational figures. To put together a coherent story, I had to re-create motives and conversations and provide scenes of life inside the Hatfield family. When data were sparse or conflicting, I chose words and actions that fit the flow of lives and the changes in them. That is, I have written a novel, not a history. The characters, events, and settings in southern West Virginia and northern Kentucky in the 1880s are actual, but conversations and details of some events are fictional.
"I have traced the flow of Cap’s life as though mapping the course of a river I have never seen and never can see. There are good, detailed maps of some portions of the river and stretches where no information at all is available or where sources conflict. Because a river is prevented from excursions that defy physical laws, such as gravity, one can draw a reasonable likeness of its course between known points. I have mapped some of Cap’s life in just such a way, making informed guesses about its flow between known events," she said.
Anne Black Gray is married, lives in Los Angeles, and has two grown daughters and two baby grandsons.
In addition to her appearance in Logan, she is also scheduled to be at book events in Charleston, Huntington, Parkersburg, Williamson and Morgantown over the next week.
For additional information about Anne Black Gray or about Barnes and Nobel, 3000 University Towne Centre, Dr., call 304-599-1294.
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