James Alexander Thom, the national bestselling author of Follow the River and Saint Patrick's Battalion will appear at a special Thursday evening edition of LWB on June 5, 2008 at 6:30 pm. Mr. Thom will be accompanied by his wife, Dark Rain Thom, Clan Mother of the East of the River Shawnee, and the co-author of Warrior Woman: The Exceptional Life Story of Nonhelema, Shawnee Indian Woman Chief, and the author of The Shawnee: Kohkumthena's Grandchildren.A meticulously researched novel of historical fiction, Follow the River is a very popular book locally and in the entire state of West Virginia as it deals with events in the history of both the Kanawha and Ohio River Valleys. Over the years it has been read and discussed by several book discussion groups at the Ohio County Public Library and by many local high school students. In addition, the West Virginia Library Commission used the book for its inaugural One Book, One West Virginia Reading Project in 2005.
A Biography of James Alexander Thom from His Website
James Alexander Thom is Indiana's best selling author. His seven novels have sold more than 2 million copies. His bestselling novel Follow the River is now in its 37th printing and still sells 30,000-40,000 copies a year. James Alexander Thom lives with his wife, Dark Rain, a Shawnee in a 130-year-old cabin he moved and reconstructed.
In the early days, James Thom was a reporter and columnist at the Indianapolis Star. "Even then I knew that my heart and mind were in the things I wanted to say in books," says Thom.He began a journey that took him back to his native Owen County, where he built a his log cabin home with his own hands. The journey also took him through swamps and forests to research , a novel about Revolutionary War, Long Knife.
One thing that sets Thom apart is his commitment to research, something he takes very seriously. He believes that in order to talk or write about something accurately you have to experience it. Therefore, one can find him hiking old Indian trails and canoeing Mid-western rivers recreating the experience of travel.He traveled the entire route of the Lewis and Clark Expedition while writing From Sea to Shining Sea. To convey the experience of the frontier soldiers in Long Knife, his first historical novel, he mastered the use of eighteehth-century tools and weapons and waded the icy waters of the wabash. During his research for Follow the River he traced Mary Ingles' 1000 mile escape from the Shawnee Indians. He traveled the Ohio, Kanawha and New Rivers and lived off the land to accurately recreate her story.
James Thom is also often at work as an environmental spokesman. Dark Rain is always at his side in this work.
Dark Rain is the Water Panther Clan Mother of the East of the River Shawnee of Ohio.Dark Rain is a voting member of Council and is a teacher, respected by her people, in the ancient Shawnee oral and historical traditions. She has given traditional presentations on behalf of her people for over twenty-five years.Much of her family's history came from Dark Rain's grandmother, who was a healer and midwife in her community, and Dark Rain's father who was also knowledgeable in many of the Great Laws and other traditional teachings. An aunt who was related on both sides of her family was her traditional teacher.
Comments From Other Authors About JA Thom's Work
"James Alexander Thom is one of the finest historical novelist writing today....he cares passionately about getting it right, and has a gift for illuminating those forgotten but fascinating corners of the American past...." ----John Sugden Author of Tecumseh, A Life
"He puts flesh and blood on forgotten names and breathes life into the stale past. He is probably, the most important author of American historic novels written today because he helps to interpret the distant past for the mind and interest of the modern reader." -----Jack Weatherford Author of Indian Givers
Sign Talker, is a fictional account of George Drouillard, the french-Shawnee hunter and scout who led the Lewis and Clark expedition.
"Anyone who thinks there's nothing left to be said about the Lewis and Clark expedition should read this book." ----John Sugdon Author of Tecumseh, A Life