Ronald Kidd - August 2018

Lord of the Mountain
Where Did It Come From?

Where do you get your ideas?
How do you make them into books?

I frequently get these questions, as if writing books were some arcane magic trick. The answer is really pretty simple, though not necessarily easy. Here’s how I did it in my new book Lord of the Mountain.

In Search of a Subject

First I explore history—read books and watch documentaries—in order to pick a historical setting or event that fascinates and compels me.

With Lord of the Mountain, I was given a Christmas present one year by my editor, who knew I loved history and music. It was a wonderful book about the Carter Family called Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? The Carter Family and Their Legacy in American Music. I tore through it, and by the end I knew I wanted to write a story about them.

Why 13?

Once I’ve picked a historical setting, I imagine what it would have been like to be there if I were 13 years old.

Why 13? I think for a lot of people, 13 is an important age, when you begin to change from a child into an adult. For a lot of us, an event at that time helped shape our lives.

In Lord of the Mountain, the event is a series of recording sessions which in 1927 came to the little town of Bristol, Tennessee, and which some people believe was the birth—the so-called “big bang”—of country music. These sessions were where the Carter Family was first discovered and recorded. And my 13-year-old protagonist, Nate Owens, is a boy who might have lived in Bristol at that time.

The Link Is Music

Now I have an event and a character. The trick is to come up with a story that links the two and plays them off each other.

In Lord of the Mountain, the link is music. For the Carters, music is their lives. For Nate, music is strictly forbidden by his father, an eccentric preacher who believes in old-time religion.

But Nate’s family has a secret, and the secret is wrapped around music. Lord of the Mountain is the story of how Nate stumbles onto this family mystery during the Bristol Sessions, then joins up with the Carter Family and goes off to the hills in search of answers.

More about Lord of the Mountain

New and Upcoming

  • Lord of the Mountain (Fall 2018)
    The “big bang” of country music in 1927 at Bristol, Tennessee. Read more.
  • On Beale Street (Summer 2018)
    Paperback Edition
    Race meets rock ’n’ roll in 1954 Memphis. Read more.
  • Room of Shadows (Now available)
    Edgar Allan Poe returns and gets the glorious death he deserved. Read more.
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