Arts Literature

Book Feature: If Trees Could Testify…

William D. Auman, Author

As an attorney, William Auman has handled around 70 murder cases, but he calls the Madison County double homicide that occurred in 1983 “perhaps the most haunting” of them. Decades after an elderly brother and sister in the Big Laurel community were murdered, the case has inspired Auman’s debut novel, If Trees Could Testify…. “It was a classic ‘who-done-it’ cold-case mystery that to some degree continues to captivate the local community,” says Auman. “I felt it proper to change names to protect the innocent as well as the potentially guilty, together with confidentiality concerns on the part of the ongoing investigation.”

Auman’s fictionalized account of the case—in which arrests were made and charges brought 18 years after the murder—includes biker gangs, organized crime and colorful characters like the draft-dodging son of a snake-handling minister.

Auman practices law in Asheville and lives on the French Broad River in Madison County where he and his wife moved in 1989. His first published work was a historical guidebook titled Pioneer Paddling Colonial Carolina. “Writing this book,” he says of the novel, “was fun in the sense that I was free to be creative, although living the life behind the book was quite stressful.”

If Trees Could Testify…, June, 2021, novel, hardcover $16.95, e-book $8.95, by William D. Auman, and published by BookLocker Publishing, Inc., St. Petersburg, FL. Find the book at regional retail outlets including Penland & Sons Department Store in Marshall, Malaprop’s Bookstore/Café in Asheville and the Mars Hill University bookstore in Mars Hill. To learn more, visit

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