Author combines love of storytelling, history and mountains

Author combines love of storytelling, history and mountains

May 4th, 2011 by Emily Crisman in Community Signal mountain

Conservationist, Methodist minister and author Charles Maynard, formerly of Signal Mountain, will return for a book-signing at Wild Hare Books Saturday, May 7 from 3 to 5 p.m. Contributed Photo

Naturalist and Methodist minister Charles Maynard will return to Signal Mountain for a book signing at Wild Hare Books Saturday, May 7 from 3 to 5 p.m.

Currently a resident of Jonesborough, Tenn., Maynard grew up on Signal Mountain, where his parents John and Lou Maynard still live.

Maynard has written 20 books for Rosen Publishers focusing on topics such as the world's mountain ranges, as well as three six-book series written at a third-grade level for Power Kids Press.

"The Blue Ridge Ancient and Majestic: A Celebration of the World's Oldest Mountains," published by Mountain Trail Press, is one of his most recent works that will be available for purchase.

Maynard said his interest in the Blue Ridge Mountains was spurred as a young boy while riding his bicycle from his childhood home near Brady Point to his grandparents' on East Brow Road, where he glimpsed a view of the range from across the valley.

His connection with the range deepened as he headed to Emory and Henry in Virginia for college.

"I've technically lived in sight of the Blue Ridge all my life," he said. "I'm interested in not just the mountains but the culture that goes with them, which is something I've come to love and want to tell other people about."

"The Blue Ridge Ancient and Majestic" is a coffee table book featuring essays by Maynard and photos by Jerry Greer. The book is the recipient of the Phillip D. Reed Memorial Award for Outstanding Writing on the Southern Environment in the Book category.

"I became friends with Jerry seven years ago through a mutual love for the mountains," said Maynard, who served as the founding director of Friends of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park from 1994-2002.

The two worked on the book together for six years before it was released last spring.

He will also be signing copies of "Going Along to the Great Smoky Mountains," a nonfiction work for children.

"I love its diversity of life," said Maynard of the park. "You can walk the same trail over and over again and find something new every time."

He said through his book children will become familiar with the Great Smoky Mountains and its rich geological, biological and cultural history.

Maynard is an accomplished storyteller specializing in traditional Appalachian tales, or "Jack Tales." He said he was introduced to the storytelling style by his Signal Mountain Elementary School teacher Mary Baker McGee.

He will continue this tradition of storytelling with the current generation of elementary school students on the mountain, with visits scheduled at both Nolan and Thrasher.

For more information, visit the book's website.