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June 16, 2014



welcome, Andra - and *what* a fascinating premise. I'm utterly beguiled.


Yes, I keep thinking about this! And wonder--where on earth did this idea begin?

(And--are you still hiking?)

Mysterious Bibliophile

O.K., you have piqued my interest. :-) I am buying the book as we speak.

I am fascinated by the fact that you hiked the Natchez Trace (which I learned about through reading Nevada Barr's work). What a fabulous way to do research for a book!

Good luck with your book promotion!

Andra Watkins

I'm grateful to everyone who's left a comment. Thank you, Mysterious Bibliophile, for buying the book. Please reach out and let me know what you think when you read it.

Hank, as a writer I admire very much (we met in Myrtle Beach several years ago now, and I carried your lip balm around for a very long time - ha), you understand the weirdness of how an idea can germinate. I've always been fascinated with Meriwether Lewis, because of Lewis and Clark, he was the harder man to know. When my father almost died of a ruptured appendix a couple of years ago, I used that almost-loss to explore how hard my father is to know, using the mystery of Meriwether Lewis as a backdrop. I was also spending time in Nashville for work, so I had the opportunity to explore the upper reaches of the Trace and find additional inspiration.

We all want to be remembered when we're gone. But when a life is cut short as Meriwether Lewis's was, that memory can be tarnished. I hope my story gives Meriwether Lewis redemption in the minds of those who read it, because redemption is a powerful force when we need it. It's fundamental to being human.

Your hiking question - I finished my walk on April 3, 2014. I walked from March 1 - April 3. Fifteen miles a day. I wanted to replicate the journey of the boatmen, who used the Trace in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Those men walked it in about a month. I have a much greater respect for the tenacity and steel of the people who made this country now, having put myself through much of what they endured. The walk almost killed me, but I would do every bit of it again to have the five weeks I had with my father.

Thank you so much for hosting me on Femme Fatales. I really appreciate the opportunity more than you know. If you read the book, I'd love to hear what you think.

Michael Carnell

I am not impartial, bit Andra rocks.

Andra Watkins

And of course, I misspelled Femmes. My French never took, in spite of my trying and trying.

Hank Phillippi Ryan

Andra, you are terrific. I got called in to work at Channel 7 today, and am just coming up for air. Your book is so amazing, and your story is, too.

I just blasted the social media-verse with your praises.

As for your French, c'est dommage. But we ne care pas.


L. Marie

So glad to see Andra featured! Her book is worth reading! It's fascinating.

Kathy McCullough

Your book was my favorite of this past year, Andra!

Hugs from Ecuador,

Jim Stewart

Andra said it best this morning: "The good people really do deserve to succeed." She wasn't speaking of herself, but she could have been.

Jessie Powell

I love love LOVE this book. (And Andra.) It left me guessing like crazy and sitting up nights. I was supposed to be giving Andra feedback, and I'd have to go back and read whole chapters again to comment, because I'd been too busy biting my teeth about what happened next.

Hank Phillippi Ryan

Yes--it's such fun to find a book that's truly original.

I'm still intrigued by that walk, too! DId you walk mostly in silence,? Or did you talk? Are you different now, as a result? (Or am I being over-dramatic?) (I know, shocking...)

Andra Watkins

I spent lots of time in silence, yes. I also talked out loud to myself a lot. It wasn't a big deal until a biker pedaled up behind me and asked me who I was talking to.

A reader asked me yesterday how the walk changed me. I understand more than ever that perseverance is the key to success. But mostly, I'm so thankful for a five-week adventure with my 80-year-old father. We adults get so busy. We often forget to make those memories until it's too late.


And to think I kind of knew this talented and beautiful Andra before she became famous! :)

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