Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Soddy-Daisy resident Ann Robbins Phillips is bringing the history of her feuding relatives to life through the recent release of her book titled “Revenge.”
She said the book is selling well because the word “feud” has helped link it online to the popular “Hatfields & McCoys” miniseries on The History Channel.
The author will sign copies of her book June 23 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Daisy Church of God’s Antique Car Show. The sequel, titled “Bad Blood,” is due to be released in November. Her third book is titled “Sorrow” and the fourth book in the series is pending a name.
“A lot of people don’t want people to know the skeletons in their closet,” said Phillips. “I’ve got good ancestors too.”
After raising five children, Phillips said she decided it was time to pursue her dream of writing. So each day for a year she wrote, rewrote, edited and perfected a book that tells the story of her family members who feuded during the Civil War. She even brought her laptop to a graveyard where her relatives are buried and to the banks of a river nearby to draw inspiration.
“Most writers use something in their life to tell a story about,” said Phillips. “[The book] is based on a feud in the North Carolina mountains of Jackson County between the Hoopers and the Watsons. A 9-year-old boy witnessed the massacre and no one knows what happened to him. The boy, at age 20, returns for revenge.”
The massacre was the result of long-lasting territorial disputes between the families that ultimately led to the Hoopers brutally killing some of the Watson men Aug. 8, 1862. The main dispute was over control of a lead mine to make bullets for the Civil War. In the book, a need awakens over time in the boy witness, who continually relives the massacre in his dreams, to return and search out the Hoopers and defeat them one by one.
Phillips, whose great-grandfather’s cousins were involved in the feud, said the last names in her recounting are true but the first names have been changed. Both the Hoopers and Watsons were her cousins, she said, as her mother was a Hooper and her grandfather married a Watson.
In the 1860s, court was held in the local church to determine the fate of the parties involved in a crime, according to Phillips, as the law did not venture on the mountains back then because of how dangerous family feuds could become.