Terry Roberts is the author of three celebrated novels: A Short Time to Stay Here (winner of the Willie Morris Prize for Southern Fiction and the Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction); That Bright Land (winner of the Thomas Wolfe Literary Award, the James Still Award for Writing About the Appalachian South and the Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction); and most recently, The Holy Ghost Speakeasy and Revival (a finalist for the 2019 Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction).
Roberts is a lifelong teacher and educational reformer as well as an award-winning novelist. He is a native of the mountains of Western North Carolina—born and bred. His ancestors include six generations of mountain farmers, as well as the bootleggers and preachers who appear in his novels. He was raised close by his grandmother, Belva Anderson Roberts, who was born in 1888 and passed to him the magic of the past along with the grit and humor of mountain story telling.
Currently, Roberts is the Director of the National Paideia Center and lives in Asheville, North Carolina with his wife, Lynn. His fourth novel, My Mistress’ Eyes are Raven Black, was released in July of 2021.
I enjoyed talking to Terry about his background, about his process for writing historical thrillers with dark and disturbing subject matter, about stereotpes of Appalachia Mountain people, and a lot more.