Appearances: Bristol, Johnson City & Knoxville


18119635I am on the road this week. I have a couple of book events lined up in Tennessee. If you are around for either of them, I’d love to see you. Come on out. Bring your friends. Tell your librarians & book clubs.
Author Signing

Jun 22, 2014 2:00 PM

Barnes & Noble Booksellers
Johnson City
Franklin Terrace
3030 Franklin Terrace
Johnson City


Tuesday, June 24, 6 p.m.

Union Avenue Books
517 Union Ave
Knoxville Tennessee
I will also be making an appearance on WCYB in Bristol, Va on Friday’s noon show with Rebecca Pepin. You may recall that I worked with Rebecca on the Faces of the Fallen project some years back. It will be a treat to meet up with Rebecca in person!

Feel free to share the love. Tune in. Bring your friends. Come give MOTHER OF RAIN a hearty welcome back to the region that created you!



Press Release:

Novelist Karen Spears Zacharias, writer-in-residence for Lincoln Memorial University’s Cumberland Gap Writers Studio and the Mountain Heritage Literary Festival, to sign books at Barnes & Noble in Johnson City and Union Avenue Books in Knoxville


June 17, 2014


Macon, Georgia— Novelist Karen Spears Zacharias will be signing copies of her latest release at Barnes & Noble, Johnson City, on Sunday, June 22 at 2 p.m and at Union Avenue Books in Knoxville on Tuesday, June 24th at 6 p.m. Mother of Rain (Mercer University Press) was awarded the prestigious Weatherford Award for Best in Appalachian Fiction by the Appalachian Studies Association and Berea College in April. Zacharias serves as writer-in-residence for Lincoln Memorial University’s Cumberland Gap Writers Studio and the Mountain Heritage Literary Festival.

“I have so enjoyed my time at Lincoln Memorial University and am excited to be able to share the story of Maizee Hurd with the people of Tennessee who helped inspire this work of fiction,” Zacharias said.

The setting is Hawkins County. The time period is World War II. Mother of Rain is the haunting portrayal of the hardscrabble lives of Appalachian women and a tale of heartbreak and unending love.

Maizee Hurd moved upriver at the age of ten after tragedy struck, and she was sent off by her father to be raised by a childless aunt and her doctor husband. Shortly after Maizee’s ferry boat arrival in the rural mountain community of Christian Bend—carrying only a small suitcase, her mama’s Bible, and her doll Hitty—the young girl began hearing the voices that would continue to torment her. It was the tender love of her husband Zeb and their shared passion for the Appalachian hills and rivers of Tennessee that helped quiet the voices. But as World War II tears through Europe, and Zeb prepares for deployment, Maizee’s life is rocked by the ripples of war.

While conducting the research for Mother of Rain, Zacharias relied heavily on the oral archives at the Appalachian Center at East Tennessee State University and Dr. Michael Montgomery’s Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English. For the sequel, now underway, Zacharias made trips to Normandy, France. She was also able to attend a family reunion during this latest trip South. “The gathering at Christian Bend was great research for the sequel to Mother of Rain,” she said. “I come from a long-line of storytellers.”

Karen Spears Zacharias has carved a brilliant gem of a novel out of hard, uncompromising times and lives. Her remote mountain setting conceals misery, mystery, and madness—but also love, which comes in many forms. Zacharias examines these intertwined lives with great compassion and daring; she is a wonderful writer.–Lee Smith

Karen Spears Zacharias captures the humor, spirituality and language of Appalachia with stunning authenticity, through characters that leap off the page. With Mother of Rain, Zacharias has done her part to help preserve our mountain heritage for future generations.–Amy Greene


Mother of Rain (Sept 2013) 9780881464481 $17, paper — 9780881464504 $13, e-book

Karen Spears Zacharias is a daughter of Appalachia, a descendant of founding families of Hawkins County, Tennessee. She learned the craft of storytelling from her aunt Cil Christian of Christian Bend, Tennessee. She is the author of A Silence of Mockingbirds: The Memoir of Murder. Zacharias has written for Huffington Post, New York Times, CNN, and National Public Radio. Zacharias teaches at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington, and blogs at Learn more about her at

Mercer University Press, established in 1979, has published more than 1300 books in the genres of Southern Studies, History, Civil War History, African American Studies, Appalachian Studies, Biography & Memoir, Fiction, Poetry, Religion, Biblical Studies, and Philosophy. Publishing authors from across the United States and abroad, Mercer University Press focuses on topics related to the culture of the South. Visit our website at

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