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Guest Blog: Laura DeNooyer--Chance for Free E-Book WINNER: Guest#844b

Updated: Jan 16, 2022

I’m Laura DeNooyer, a Michigan native who has lived in southeast Wisconsin the past few decades—teaching middle school and high school students and raising a family of four kids with my husband. Now that the kids are all grown up, I’m seizing the day for my writing. I relaunched this novel in November, and have several others completed or in the works.

What do people notice about me? I’ve been accused of asking many questions! Maybe part of that is to keep the focus off me, but I’m genuinely interested in other people’s lives. A typical author trait, I think.

Tell us about your book—title and back cover blurb.

Title: All That Is Hidden (historical fiction, Southern fiction)


Are secrets worth the price they cost to keep?

Ten-year-old Tina Hamilton finds out the hard way.

She always knew her father had a secret. But all of God’s earth to Tina are the streams for fishing, the fields for romping, a world snugly enclosed by the blue-misted Smokies. Nothing ever changed.

Until the summer of 1968. Trouble erupts when northern exploitation threatens her tiny southern Appalachian town. Some folks blame the trouble on progress, some blame the space race and men meddling with the moon’s cycles, and some blame Tina’s father.

A past he has hidden catches up to him as his secret settles in like an unwelcome guest. The clash of progressive ideas and small town values escalates the collision of a father’s past and present.

Share one thing that you found difficult or challenging about writing this book.

For starters, this is Southern fiction, and I’m a Midwesterner! My story grew out of a visit to western North Carolina decades ago—before the internet. I had to do research the old-fashioned way. Later, finding a literary consultant from the area was crucial to confirm accuracy and assure that I’d caught the Appalachian spirit.

Share an excerpt--

This excerpt is from Chapter 9, when Nick (11) and Tina (10) are up on the mountain, on their way home.

A snarling noise in the brush stopped us short. A small snout and forelegs poked from the thicket—a hog.

Nick’s protective instincts rose to the fore. His arm slung into my chest to shield me. Little good that would do with a wild boar.

But this looked like a domestic pig turned loose. “He won’t hurt us, Nick.”

“But he ain’t got no sign, no tag or anything. They ain’t supposed to let hogs run wild.”

“He’s young. And tame. Somebody feeds him by hand every week.” I walked around Nick’s arm barricade, still stuck straight out. “Don’t worry. I know how to gentle him.” I dug past rocks in my pocket, found Life Savers, and held one out. “It’s okay, piggy. We’re friends.”

The pig stepped forward. His snout nuzzled my hand and ate the candy. Running pigs loose was illegal, but some folks did and lured them back in the fall with sweets. “Now who do you belong to?” I asked the hog as if he’d reply. I checked his ears for a tag or clip. Leaves rustled behind me, probably Nick looking for nuts to feed the pig. “We should take him down the mountain. Probably escaped from the MacNeills.” Barry MacNeill would likely have a pig he never got around to clipping and didn’t notice was gone.

A deep, coarse voice blasted behind me. “What’s your plans with my hog, missy?”

Still on my knees, I swiveled. Through the veil of dusk came a big white shirt and a big long rifle. I couldn’t breathe. Manners escaped me, replaced by suffocating fear and the desire for flight.

“I asked you a question, missy. Where you be toting my hog off to?” He prodded the butt of the gun into my shoulder blade.

The heart of this story is a clash between southern Appalachian small town values and progress via northern exploitation. When have you found yourself in the middle of a clash between two cultures? Whether it’s in your neighborhood, town, or travels.

Visiting the Smoky Mountain area of North Carolina was an eye-opener for me, culture-wise, but another time, my husband and I had a crazy experience after snorkeling near Caye Caulker, an island of Belize. We had misunderstood local signs and directions and found ourselves stuck on the island. We had to haggle with a native who offered to get us back to the mainland on time—in his speedboat over miles of ocean.

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