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NC Journalist-Turned Author Pens Debut Novel

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Photo Susanna Barbee
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Journalist and author Holly Kays calls herself a “place writer” – someone who anchors her work in vivid details about a particular corner of the world. In her debut novel “Shadows Of Flowers (The Smoky Mountain News/2017),” Kays takes readers to a small town in Wyoming that sits among vast and isolated wilderness. 

Although she says the novel is far from her own personal story, the similarities are inescapable. The book follows a young journalist who moves to Buffalo, Wyoming to process her grief after her boyfriend is killed in a car accident. The character Dana Stullman struggles to find community and to reconnect with God. Buffalo, Wyoming is a place Kays herself knows well – she spent time there as a reporter for a local media outlet and struggled to find her way in an unfamiliar small town.

Kays is now a reporter and outdoors editor for the Smoky Mountain News. Holly Kays speaks with host Frank Stasio about her creative process and belief that when it comes to writing, the key is to be concise. Kays speaks at the Albert Carlton-Cashiers Community Library in Cashiers, NC on Friday Aug. 31 at 4 p.m.

Laura Pellicer is a digital reporter with WUNC’s small but intrepid digital news team.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.