Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Maud's Line by Margaret Verble (Guestpost)

I am happy to have Margaret Verble join us today talking about her new book Maud's Line with five fun facts.

1. Viola was based on my mother’s great Aunt Jenny. Because Aunt Jenny lived to be 103 our lifetimes overlapped, and I was around her at least once when she was in her old age. I remember that day well. Aunt Jenny was really old. I was about ten. And not particularly well-behaved. My mother loved her great aunt, so I was sent outside to play. There were no other children to play with, so I played with the gate. It swung back and forth and I swung with it. While writing Maud’s Line I wished Mama had let me stay inside. And I’d wished it that day. It was as hot as blazes out there.

2.      Blue, Maud’s uncle, was based on the personality of my great uncle, Bill Anderson. I adored big Uncle Bill and I think he adored me. He taught me all sorts of things, including how to fish the treacherous Arkansas River, how to identify birds from their particular nests, and how to stand still and not panic when bees are swarming.  

3.      That school on that section line did burn. And the one that replaced it burned. The story about The Canterbury Tales being saved because they were deemed too dirty to read and tucked away in the safe is also a true one. But that didn’t happen in Oklahoma. That happened in Nashville, Tennessee, in the early 1950s, when Hillsboro High School burned to the ground.

4.      Some of the characters in Maud’s Line have unusual names, Mustard, Lovely, Blue and Walkingstick. I feel fairly free to give Indian characters colorful monikers because Cherokees often do have interesting names, and because I had an Indian great aunt who we all called Pig. Aunt Pig, to my knowledge, never objected to her nickname. But just to give her a break, I called her Sarah in the book.

5.      The models for these characters really did know Pretty Boy Floyd. And my grandfather and his running buddy, the principal of the school, once hid Mr. Floyd from the law in the school’s storm cellar. My grandmother cooked for him while he was hiding in there. When school started again, my mother and her brothers had new clothes and shoes to wear.  


A debut novel chronicling the life and loves of a headstrong, earthy, and magnetic heroine
Eastern Oklahoma, 1928. Eighteen-year-old Maud Nail lives with her rogue father and sensitive brother on one of the allotments parceled out by the U.S. Government to the Cherokees when their land was confiscated for Oklahoma’s statehood. Maud’s days are filled with hard work and simple pleasures, but often marked by violence and tragedy, a fact that she accepts with determined practicality. Her prospects for a better life are slim, but when a newcomer with good looks and books rides down her section line, she takes notice. Soon she finds herself facing a series of high-stakes decisions that will determine her future and those of her loved ones.
Maud’s Line is accessible, sensuous, and vivid. It will sit on the bookshelf alongside novels by Jim Harrison, Louise Erdrich, Sherman Alexie, and other beloved chroniclers of the American West and its people.

Publication Date: July 14, 2015
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Formats: eBook, Hardcover
ISBN-10: 0544470192
Pages: 304
Genre: Historical Fiction



“Maud is refreshingly open and honest about her own sexuality though conscious of her place as a woman in a sexist society, always careful not to insult the intelligence or manhood of her male friends and relations. Verble writes in a simple style that matches the hardscrabble setting and plainspoken characters. Verble, herself a member of the Cherokee Nation, tells a compelling story peopled with flawed yet sympathetic characters, sharing insights into Cherokee society on the parcels of land allotted to them after the Trail of Tears.” —Kirkus

“Writing as though Daniel Woodrell nods over one shoulder and the spirit of Willa Cather over the other, Margaret Verble gives us Maud, a gun-toting, book-loving, dream-chasing young woman whose often agonizing dilemmas can only be countered by sheer strength of heart.” —Malcolm Brooks, author of Painted Horses

“I want to live with Maud in a little farm in a little valley under the shadow of a mountain wall. Maud’s Line is an absolutely wonderful novel and Margaret Verble can drop you from great heights and still easily pick you up. I will read anything she writes, with enthusiasm.” —Jim Harrison, author of Dalva, Legends of the Fall, and The Big Seven

“Margaret Verble gives us a gorgeous window onto the Cherokee world in Oklahoma, 1927. Verble’s voice is utterly authentic, tender and funny, vivid and smart, and she creates a living community – the Nail family, Maud herself, her father, Mustard, and brother, Lovely, and the brothers Blue and Early, the quiet, tender-mouthed mare Leaf, and the big landscape of the bottoms – the land given to the Cherokees after the Trail of Tears. Beyond the allotments, it opens up into the wild, which is more or less what Verble does with this narrative. A wonderful debut novel.” —Roxana Robinson, author of Sparta


MARGARET VERBLE, an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, has set her novel on her family’s allotment land. She currently lives in Lexington, Kentucky, and Old Windsor, England.


Monday, July 13
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Tuesday, July 14
Guest Post at Mina’s Bookshelf
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation
Wednesday, July 15
Review at A Book Geek
Thursday, July 16
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog
Friday, July 17
Excerpt & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Review Plus More
Saturday, July 18
Review at Queen of All She Reads
Monday, July 20
Review at Book Nerd
Tuesday, July 21
Guest Post at Just One More Chapter
Wednesday, July 22
Interview & Excerpt at The Old Shelter
Excerpt & Giveaway at CelticLady’s Reviews
Thursday, July 23
Review & Giveaway at Unshelfish
Spotlight at Layered Pages
Friday, July 24
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past


  1. I've got this one on my shelf waiting to be read. Sounds like I should do it soon!

  2. Thanks for the post & the giveaway chance. Sounds like such an interesting read. Fingers crossed.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com