Tillmon County Fire

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Two teenagers commit an anti-gay hate crime against a classmate in Tillmon County, in, er, a certain Appalachian state that ends up slightly veiled in the final manuscript.  The novel is a collection of stories that each focus on a different character; the crime, then, belongs to an entire community struggling with changes to contemporary rural life.

The setting for this book was inspired by the community where I completed a year of national service through AmeriCorps in 1996-1997.  The specific characters and events are imaginary, but I was touched by the young people I came to know in Western Maryland, how they struggled with personal and communal issues at times very similar to their urban and suburban counterparts and at times unique to their rural experience.

School Library Journal

Washington Parent

Families Online Magazine 

American Library Association's Rainbow Project

"an introspective look at truth and consequences in small-town America"

Kirkus Review, 2009