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Christopher Scotton Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Secret Wisdom of the Earth (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon

Christopher Scotton is an American author. He is also a father, husband, carpenter, hiker, former CEO of technology companies, kite flyer, and more. His first novel came out in 2015, a fictional novel set in the remote and rural Appalachia area of Kentucky and focusing on themes that have inspired Scotton over the years.

Christopher Scotton grew up in the undeveloped country some thirty miles outside of Washington, D.C. He describes it as having creeks, secret swimming holes, corn fields, and tree houses. He remembers playing with his brothers in the summer, running out in the morning and returning in time for dinner in the evening. Scotton says it was a ‘magical place’ to be a kid and he wanted to capture that wonder of discovery through the eyes of his protagonist in The Secret Wisdom of the Earth.

He describes how the idyllic lands of his childhood were changed as developers bought up that land and the creeks changed, the swimming holes running to mud, and all of the local children feeling a sense of loss at the destruction of the woods that they loved to play in. By the time Scotton was old enough to go to college, the landscape had changed to wild and country to suburban and developed lots with buildings and settlements in them. He says that he fell in love with the beauty and music of Appalachia in college that held a similar place in his heart as the country adventures of his youth and of his original love for nature.

Scotton met the mother of a friend around that time who was a beautiful woman but filled with a deep sadness. His friend explained to him that his brother had died in a horrible home accident at the age of three years old. Even after thirty years, this woman had clearly never healed from the wound. Scotton was so affected by the story for years after that he was inspired to write a novel about the effect of a death of one of their own on a family and decided Appalachia was the perfect setting to write a novel like that.

As the years went on, he graduated, worked in tech marketing, got married, moved to London, began a company, and had kids. It was when he was approaching the age of forty that Scotton realized that his dream of being a writer was close to becoming his largest unrealized regret. So he began to write his first novel the next day, which ended up being his first novel, The Secret Wisdom of the Earth.

The novel was published in 2015 by Grand Central Publishing. He recalls rising up early to write before work and revise and edit in evenings, finishing half the novel and watching the characters, their relationships, and their lives take shape.

However, with writer’s block and feeling that something was missing in the story, he moved to the States and went down to Kentucky to figure it out. It was there that he saw a mountaintop removal operation for the first time, the erasing of the ancient mountains brought back that sickening feeling of loss of nature that Scotton had experienced as a youth. He saw that the destruction of this natural world was an allegory for all of the loss that the characters in his novel were experiencing, and once he made that connection the rest of the story began to come to him.

His trips to Kentucky not only revealed to him the devastation of nature and the end plot for his book but showed him people and their stories and made him realize that things could not simply be reduced to rich versus poor or good versus evil. Scotton admitted that the geography of Appalachia makes economic prosperity difficult, to say the least, and that those who live there have to choose from “a short list of bad options”. It was this struggle and paradox that ran alongside the story of the main character in the novel, Kevin.

The Secret Wisdom of the Earth was published in 2015. It is the first novel by Christopher Scotton. As he admits, this timeless novel focuses in on a tragedy somewhat inspired or channeled from real life. This novel focuses on a small and quiet Southern town that experiences a horrific act of violence. The repercussions from this act will go on to change one young man’s views about the capacity for human cruelty and its compassion forever.

Kevin is the main character of this novel. He is fourteen years old and has seen his younger brother die in a horrible accident at home. So, in a natural move, he and his mother who is deeply in grief go to live with Kevin’s grandfather for the summer, who lives in a coal town deep in the heart of Appalachia. It is there that Kevin begins to fall in love with the wonder of nature.

While he is there, he meets a kid named Buzzy Fink. They become friends and the strange kid teaches him about the beauty and the mystery of the woods. But what goes on in Medgar, Kentucky that summer will change the magic and mystery of those woods and the people who live in and near this coal town forever. It’s a clash of what comes to eat and destroy the quiet and natural beauty of the outdoors and no one can stop it.

Kevin’s grandfather and many other people in town try to stop the company and the owner against ruining the mountain through a mountaintop removal operation. The projects are blowing up the hills while back filling the hollows. Buzzy witnesses a hate crime in this time from which the repercussions for Buzzy and Kevin will take them to their limit.

This interesting first novel is the first by Scotton. The Secret Wisdom of the Earth takes place largely in the past, narrated by a now grown Kevin. Inspired by experiences and his own life in the wild beauty of nature as a child, this story encompasses the many senses of duality that exists in the world and takes the reader to heights and lows, all among the wild beauty of Appalachia and the world and the strange consequences of human action on the landscape of human and natural life.

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3 Responses to “Christopher Scotton”

  1. Julia Walker: 2 months ago

    Hey Christopher! It’s your olde friend Julia in Cincy whose g-father & mother graduated from WMC(1901 & 1934). What are you doing these days? Did your Irish book get published? I hope you’re ok.

  2. David Hartman: 5 months ago

    I loved your book. The best line is from Kevin: “I never knew how hard teachers worked until I became one.”
    Emeritus Professor, Penn State College of Medicine

  3. Dave: 8 months ago

    Dear Mr Scotton:
    Your novel The Secret Wisdom of the Earth touched me deeply. I live in Ontario, Canada, in a place where mining once ruled and now Big Sawmills prevail. I am a retired teacher, a trapper and harvester of fur, and Big Timber has left my trapping area without wildlife; timber companies rule the way Big Coal did. My temporary consolation in your novel comes when Bubba Boyd dies for his own hubris. The timber company here (multinational now) is equally rapacious.
    Might be a story to consider
    Loved your book & your writing,
    Dave Kerr


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