Steamboat Celebration Events

Authors Thom, Dark Rain
to sign, read books in Madison

They will appear Oct. 16
at Village Lights Bookstore

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

(October 2011) – Best-selling author James Alexander Thom knows his history. And he knows his geography, having woven a river throughout all of his novels as a central theme.
Thom, who lives west of Bloomington, Ind., is “very much in demand” as an author and speaker, said Nathan Montoya, owner of Village Lights Bookstore in Madison, Ind. Thom is known for his national historical fiction bestsellers “Follow the River” and “From Sea to Shining Sea.”

James Alexander Thom

Photo provided

James Alexander
Thom and wife, Dark
Rain, will appear in
Madison in October as
part of the Steamboat Celebration, organized
by the RIvers Institute.

Montoya said “Follow the River” remains a “common community read. We have to constantly try to keep his books on our shelves.”
“Follow the River” is in its 37th printing and sells 30,000 to 40,000 copies a year.
Thom will appear from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 16, at Village Light Bookstore, 110 E. Main St., for a book signing and to present a talk titled, “Of Times and Rivers: Downstream in History.” This presentation will focus on “rivers and the currents of continuity they have provided throughout his life and work,” said Montoya.
Thom will be accompanied by his wife, Dark Rain Thom, co-author with her husband of “Warrior Woman.” Dark Rain is also the Water Panther Clan Mother of the East of the River Shawnee.
This appearance by Thom and his wife occurs as part of the 2011 Steamboat Bicentennial Celebration. Montoya said he had worked with the Rivers Institute at Hanover College on organizing a cultural film series and was looking for some other event to tie into it for the Steamboat Celebration weekend. “I thought Thom would be perfect to add to the event.”
The talk will not focus on a specific book by Thom, said Montoya, since he has one in the works but not completed or published yet. But it will include information about an ancestor of Thom’s who came from Scotland and settled in Saluda Township, Jefferson County, Ind.
The author “lives like someone out of his historical novels,” said Montoya. To gather information for “Follow the River,” a book depicting the July 1755 capture of Mary Draper Ingles in Virginia by the Shawnee Indians and her subsequent 1,000-mile journey home following the routes of the Ohio, Kanawha and New Rivers, Thom actually “walked the path of Mary Ingles as much as he possibly could. He didn’t just read about it,” said Montoya.

From Sea to Shining Sea

“He is a very conscientious writer of historical fiction,” he said. “He is faithful to history through his research and works from that research.” Not having much regard for the computer, Thom writes his books out by longhand.
Montoya said that for anyone who might not be interested in picking up a historical fiction novel, Thom’s novels “educate the reader with regard to history.”

• For more information on Thom’s presentation and book signing please contact the Village Lights Bookstore at (812) 265-1800.

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