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Article from the Dahlonega Nugget

Back in March, Auraria was featured in an article in the Dahlonega Nugget, which would be Auraria’s hometown newspaper. The text of the article is reprinted below with the kind permission of The Nugget.

Area’s history, legends featured in new novel
By Sharon Hall
The Nugget

The gold history, dark valleys and misty mountains of North Georgia have always held a fascination for author Tim Westover. And those misty mountains are the setting for his first American publication, Auraria: A Novel.

Westover takes large literary license with Auraria’s geography. The town is much further from Dahlonega in the novel than it is in reality. It is also set in a deep valley in the crook of a river, and it’s mining is done for the most part underground rather than in streams. But the changes were made to facilitate the story’s plot, and Westover incorporates several local landmarks and legends in Auraria.
“The biggest connection is the gold history,” he said, “and Auraria’s status as a place that was passed over, sort-of the forgotten older sister to Dahlonega.”

The fantastical tale is set in the late 19th century, after the focus of the gold rush has moved from Georgia to California. One of its main characters is H.E. Shadburn, an Auraria native attempting to revive the failing town by buying it up and building a man-made lake and resort hotel—patterned after the old Porter Springs Hotel.

The idea for the lake and resort are a combination of the Tallulah Gorge project and Lake Toxaway Resort, at the intersection of Georgia, North and South Carolina.

Lake Toxaway also gave Westover the idea for the novel’s ending. In 1916, after severe flooding of the Toxaway River that fed the lake, the dam gave way and sent more than five billion gallons of water crashing down into South Carolina. But in Westover’s book, the dam is destroyed by the greed one of the characters and the efforts of another to remedy the situation.

But like the Toxaway disaster, there is no great loss of life. “It’s more of a mud-flood, like the aftermath of the Toxaway dam burst,” Westover said. When Toxaway’s dam broke the only casualty was a mule.

There are “hard-scrabble farmers, tavern keepers, a patent medicine seller and other Auraria residents featured in the novel, along with some supernatural characters.

“Whether they are ghosts, headless plat-eyes, singing trees or semi-sentient fruit, they cluster around Princess Trahlyta, the spirit and caretaker for the valley and host to a peculiar kind of supernatural tourist—moon maidens, who use the rivers of Auraria as their own healing resort,” Westover said.
Westover decided to use Auraria and some of the area’s legends after discovering the town in travel and hiking books. He then visited the area several times.

“I took pictures and poked around, and read books on the Gold Rush history,” he said.
Westover said he found it interesting to see people still panning for gold in the Etowah but so little of the actual town left.

“It started out with so much promise, both as a community and socially. When you go there now, you wouldn’t know there was a hotel, a newspaper, a tavern.”

Westover has been writing since he was in high school. He lived in England for three years and studied in Russia for a summer, visiting Germany during his stay. He used that experience to write and publish a collection of short stories in Europe.

“It’s an historic approach to the fantastic,”he said. “I find more room for my imagination to become unstuck from reality, and it’s easy and inexpensive to write and explore more than what’s possible.”

Auraria: A Novel is due out in July 2012, published by QW Publishers. It will be available in both hard copy and as an online book.

Written by timwestover

October 15th, 2012 at 6:31 pm

Posted in auraria

Auraria and Deep South Magazine

Deep South Magazine has been very kind to me and my novel over the last few weeks, and I truly appreciate it!

First, Auraria was included among excellent company on Deep South’s Fall / Winter 2012 Reading List. There’s lots of great Southern reads on the list, so take a look.

Second, Deep South published a splendid review of Auraria and interview with me.

Third, Deep South hosted a live Twitter chat with me on Friday 10/11/12. This isn’t as easy to link to, but you can follow me on Twitter to find out about other similar events in the future.

Many thanks to editor Erin Z. Bass for her support!

Written by timwestover

October 15th, 2012 at 6:27 pm

Posted in auraria

Auraria is free through September 8th

My novel Auraria is free on Amazon through Saturday, September 8th, 2012. Download your copy!

I’ve been posting pictures and reviews and other information on Auraria‘s Facebook page. It’s easier for me to put up little tidbits there. Please stop by and visit!

Written by timwestover

September 5th, 2012 at 6:01 pm

Posted in auraria

Reviews so far for Auraria

Written by timwestover

July 31st, 2012 at 9:29 am

Posted in auraria

Guest Post on Ann Hite’s Website

I have a guest post today about the origins of Auraria on the website of Ann Hite, an award-winning Georgia writer. Read the post »

Hite is the Georgia Writers Association 2012 Georgia Author of the Year (First Novel) and a finalist for the 2012 Townsend Prize.

Written by timwestover

July 23rd, 2012 at 12:07 pm

Posted in auraria

Day 2 Winner: Victoria

Congratulations to Victoria, the second winner of the book-and-gold Auraria giveaway! There’s still five days to enter. Find out all the details here:

Written by timwestover

July 12th, 2012 at 6:59 am

Posted in auraria

Day 1 Winner: Chaarlotte

Congratulations to commentor Chaarlotte, the first winner of the book-and-gold Auraria giveaway! There’s still six days to enter. Find out all the details here:

Written by timwestover

July 11th, 2012 at 5:17 am

Posted in auraria

Auraria Now Available! Release Giveaway

with 29 comments

At long last, Auraria: A Novel is now available wherever books are sold. Here’s the official publisher’s page with links to online stores, or visit your local indie bookstore — many throughout the Southeast are stocking copies of the novel.

Learn more about Auraria and get your copy today!

Celebration & Giveaway

I’m giving away seven (7) signed paperback copies of Auraria, fresh off the presses. But with the economy in flux, what’s ever better than free books? How about free gold?

Auraria and Gold

Auraria is based on a real Georgia ghost town, born out of the Georgia gold rush of the 1830’s. Gold plays an important role in the novel, too. Before you get too excited, this is only a souvenir bottle, so there’s not a lot of metal weight; you probably won’t be able to retire on it. But it is real gold — I bought the bottles at the Dahlonega Gold Museum Historic Site, which is just a few miles from where Auraria used to be.

So, if you win one of the seven prizes, you’ll not only get a signed paperback copy of Auraria, but you’ll get your very own vial of pure Georgia gold!

Georgia Gold

The Rules

How to Enter: Spread the word about Auraria! Tweet it, Facebook it, pin it, blog it, review it, YouTube it, post on Google+, Reddit, Digg, Tumblr — anything is fine. Then, post a comment on this page with what you did and a link, if possible. You can post a comment down where it says “Leave a Reply.” Every time you spread the word in a different way, please post another comment, so you’ll get an extra chance to win. If you post on Facebook and post on Twitter, that’s two entries, thus two chances to win.

You can also enter by requesting Auraria through your local library. Most library websites have a “materials request” / “suggest a book” link that’s available to card holders. This doesn’t cost you, the patron, anything, and your library might order a copy of Auraria for you and others to read. Make sure to post below so I know you’ve entered in the drawing.

The contest is open from today (Tuesday, July 10th) until the end of the day on Monday, July 16th. Every day, I’ll pick a winner at random from the comments / entries on this page. The earlier you make your posts, the more chances you have to win.

The Fine Print

Only one entry per social networking site / method per day. A thousand tweets on Thursday doesn’t equal a thousand entries, but you can tweet on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday for three entries.

Alas, this contest is open to US residents only. I think there are laws about mailing gold out of the country.

Comments must be posted on this page by 11:59:59 PM EDT on Monday, July 16th.

What Else?

You can read the first chapter of the book. You can read the reviews that are already on Goodreads or Amazon. You can borrow the book from Kindle Prime or buy the e-book. You can send me an e-mail. And, of course, you can follow me on Twitter or follow QW Publishers on Facebook or Twitter.

Thank you for spreading the word about Auraria!

Written by timwestover

July 9th, 2012 at 6:33 pm

Posted in auraria

Auraria Novel News Roundup – 4/18/2012

What’s new with Auraria as of 4/18/2012?

1) Hereward L.M. Proops at Booksquawk posted a nice review of Auraria: “Westover’s English language debut is beautifully written and manages to bring to life the rich folklore of the Appalachians.”

2) Nicki J Markus posted an author interview with me. And here’s her review from back in March.

3) If you’re a LibraryThing user, you can enter to win an advance review copy as part of their Early Reviewers program.

4) Advance review copies are still available on NetGalley, too.

Written by timwestover

April 18th, 2012 at 1:43 pm

Posted in auraria

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