Jim Hamilton, Author
Jim Hamilton’s debut novel The Last Entry began as a collaborative effort to produce a screenplay about ginseng, a plant he knows well. When funding for the project was not forthcoming, Hamilton—a county director with the NC Cooperative Extension Service and adjunct professor with a Ph.D. in forestry—expanded the story into a novel with guidance from a writer friend. “While I have written technical publications and academic articles my entire career, it took some work to break some bad habits and learn some new tricks,” Hamilton says.
Although he didn’t grow up in Appalachia, his Extension Service work has introduced him to experts. “The book is really an homage to the ginseng diggers and growers whom I’ve had the immense privilege of spending time in the woods with over the last decade,” he says. “While it’s an Appalachian story set under the backdrop of the ginseng world of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the characters and the story appeal to a wide audience—so I’ve been told—with the major themes of brotherhood, loss and redemption.”
There had not been a novel written, Hamilton says, that focused on this plant so historically and culturally significant to the Appalachian Mountains. “I wouldn’t necessarily call it a coming-of-age story, but younger YA readers who enjoy the outdoors and stories set in nature will enjoy it also,” he says. “I really just want it in the hands of folks who’ll enjoy the story.”
The Last Entry, November, 2019, fiction, hardcover, $21.99, by Jim Hamilton, and published by Working Title Farm, Boone, NC. The book is available on Amazon and through the author’s website at TheLastEntry.com.