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On the Menu: hot pies…and hot gossip

Staff Writer
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No matter what your vision of today’s Appalachian woman may be, you can bet on one thing: If there’s a good book to read, or better, an opportunity to write one, an Appalachian woman is likely to be either reading it, or writing it. Lisa Hall should know – she is one.
A resident of Fall Branch, Hall is a writer in the new genre of Appalachian Chic-Lit. Not to be confused with main stream Chic-lit, which touts stiletto heels and bright red lipstick. The Appalachian woman takes herself a bit more seriously, but with a strong dose of humor. “My characters are contemporary Appalachian woman, not historical figures,” Hall said of the heroines in her books. “While they could go anywhere they wanted to on the planet, they are more likely to stay right here in Appalachia. They face all of the things modern women experience, but it’s what they do with it that counts.”
The traditional sense of appreciation of home and what it means to be an Appalachian woman is definitely a focus of this series, but the books are light, humorous, gossipy and fun to read. Hall spoke of her characters with a grin: “These women come from a small town in Southwestern Virginia that is sort of Mayberry mixed up with Desperate Housewives.”
Hall said none of her characters are based on any one person, but when she puts them together, distinct personalities emerge. Topics of interest in the books are about resolving issues, relationships, the potential for failure and the sweet joy of success.
At present, three novels have come out in the series, which is published by Mountain Girl Press: Secrets, Lies, and Pies; Cheaters, Pies, and Lullabies; and Playdates, Pies and Sad Goodbyes. Hall has another book in the pipeline but she isn’t sharing the title just yet.
“I try to write at least one novel a year,” said Hall, whose work appeared in several anthologies prior to publication of the Cutie Pie Chronicles. “They all revolve around the pie shop belonging to the central character where ‘pies and hot gossip are always on the menu.’”
She encourages woman who want to write to believe in themselves and face the possibility of rejection head-on.
“You have to be committed to writing, committed to the story and to your characters,” she said. “Stick with it and don’t be discouraged. There aren’t very many overnight successes in this business.”
But the publishing and writing world is one that Hall knew she wanted to be a part of.
“When I published my first short story, I knew I wanted to be a part of that world,” she said. “It was very satisfying to me. After that first story, I wrote the first novel and that led to the series, and I knew I had tapped into something I loved.”