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Ash Davidson Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Damnation Spring (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon

Ash Davidson is a general fiction novelist from Flagstaff, Arizona who is best known for her debut novel “Damnation Spring.”

She grew up in Klamath, California where she lived with her parents for much of her childhood. As such, it was not surprising that she set her novel in the area, even though her parents were never involved in the logging business.
During her earlier years, her father did a lot of carpentry work while her mother taught school. In this regard, her childhood was not that different from those of other children growing up in the rural areas.

She remembers that her parents used to tell all manner of stories about Klamath, which they considered the most beautiful place in the US.

They had funny stories and sometimes sad stories of a kid that impaled himself on a stick in the woods and the corpse was found a few days later and car wrecks just below their house overlooking the coastal road.
These memories were very vivid and formed a huge part of her life growing up.

While it was an idyllic place, at some point, Ash Davidson’s parents became so concerned about the contamination in the water from herbicides that the entire family began drinking only bottled water.

Three decades later, all of the Davidson family only drinks bottled water. As such, “Damnation Spring” her debut novel got its inspiration from questions about the safety of drinking water.

Davidson was interested in knowing what got her parents so afraid over three decades earlier. This would then transform into a question of what would happen to a family, a community, and geography, when what has sustained them for centuries turns toxic.
It was a question that she spent more than a decade thinking about before she set out to pen a novel about herbicides and how they had altered the life of the small community in Klamath over the years.

The two herbicides she initially concentrated on were what would be found in Agent Orange known as 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D.

On the first research trip that Ash Davidson took to her hometown, she found it very difficult to find anyone who would speak to her.

Desperate to get anything, she decided to attend a community dinner alongside her mother. The dinner she attended was for the most part for seniors and hence many stared when she entered the room.

Davidson had a real high school moment with her mother as they wondered where they would sit. Out of nowhere, someone recognized her mother since they had both been employed three decades earlier at the Margaret Keating Elementary School.
It was that woman who took them to her table where she got introduced to a man who was involved in the logging of old growth. Leaning against his old truck in the parking lot, they had a conversation that lasted for two hours.
The next time they met, he had brought with him a stack of photographs of him and his men cutting down giant cedar trees a few decades earlier. Since they were getting very familiar, she finally gathered enough courage to start asking about herbicides.
He told her about how he used to work with herbicides and how this had impacted his life.

The man’s story changed the narrative in her mind in which she had always believed that loggers never gave a hoot about the consequences of logging or cared about the forest.

After learning a lot from the visit to Klamath, Ash Davidson got even more interested in logging. She set out to learn all she could about logging, the terminology, herbicides and, and how they ultimately impact human health.
Over several years, Ash made flashcards, studied, read newspaper articles and memoirs, and interviewed retired millworkers and loggers in Klamath.

Even though her novel “Damnation Spring” is a fictional work, she learned that the concern about herbicides in the water was very real during the 1970s. Major stories about herbicides were published in the Washington Post and the New Times.
Davidson also read A Bitter Fog the seminal nonfiction work by Carol Van Strum. She found much inspiration from elements such as birth defects as a result of herbicide poisoning from the novel.
One very interesting story in the work is that of Bonnie Hill, the schoolteacher who drafted a letter that she then sent to the United States Environmental Protection Agency in 1978.

The latter was signed by a bunch of women who lived in Alsea, Oregon that had been heavily sprayed resulting in multiple miscarriages.

It was the letter that resulted in the Alsea studies whose results resulted in the suspension of several herbicides in the forest.
In honor of the community, the daughter of the leading characters in the novel is named Alsea.

Ash Davidson’s “Damnation Spring” is a stunning novel about marriage, work, and love that asks the question of how far a community and one family are willing to go to protect their future.

Rich and Collen Gundersen are raising Chub their young son on the rugged coasts of California in 1977, where life is nothing like what it used to be in the small Northwest Pacific logging town.
For decades the community has breathed and lived timber but now their livelihoods and ways of life are under threat.

Rich is a tree topper while Colleen is an amateur midwife. Rich’s profession is a dangerous one as he often has to climb trees tens of meters tall just like his grandfather and father before him had done before him.
All Rich and Colleen want for their son is a better life and hence they are taking steps to assure his future.

Secretly, Rich has bought a swath of ancient cedars even as Colleen fights the logging company over the use of herbicides, which she believes have caused all manner of misery in the community.
She also strongly believes most miscarriages in the community including hers are as a result of those very hrbicides.

It is not long before Rich and Collen find themselves on opposite sides of a fledgling conflict that could threaten their family – the very thing they are attempting to protect.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Ash Davidson

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