Book Feature: The Unquiet Grave

Book Feature: The Unquiet Grave

Sharyn McCrumb, Author

Sharyn McCrumb’s latest novel was inspired, she says, by a West Virginia historical marker that proclaims Greenbrier County as home to the only trial in America in which a man was convicted of murder based on the testimony of a ghost.

“I have always said that it takes two ideas to make a book,” McCrumb says. “The first idea can come from anywhere: a newspaper article, a chance conversation, a place….I think that for me the second idea is the outsider, the one who is observing a society from a perspective of alienation.” Two of her characters in this book set in the 19th century—Mary Jane Heaster, a poor mountain woman, and James P. D. Gardner, a young African-American attorney—fi t this description.

“My favorite readers,” McCrumb says, “are those who are passionate about the history and folklore of the mountain South. I write about people who slipped through the cracks in the historical record.”

With her next book in mind, McCrumb has already begun researching “two vastly different historical events, one that took place in Asheville and one inspired by a Knoxville incident, but,” she adds, “until I find the ‘spark’ that will carry me through a project that will last several years, I haven’t settled on which story I want to tell.”

The Unquiet Grave, September, 2017, fiction, hardcover, $26, by Sharyn McCrumb, and published by Atria Books, NY. To learn more, visit

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