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In 1980, when Lynn Coffey moved to the tiny mountain hamlet of Love, Virginia, she realized the Appalachian culture was slowly ebbing away and somehow needed to be preserved. Without any formal training in journalism, Lynn started a newspaper called "Backroads" and began recording oral histories and taking photographs of her elderly neighbors, publishing their stories in the monthly newspaper. For the next twenty-five years (December 1981-December 2006) Lynn roamed the hills and hollers around Love, writing stories that captured the heart and soul of the Appalachian culture, lending dignity and importance to an oft-overlooked and misunderstood people and their rugged way of life. When Backroads ended, the cry of the mountain folks' words, "Don't let our stories die with your retirement," haunted Lynn so she began compiling many of the articles from the former newspaper, putting them in book form.

Lynn's first book, Backroads; Plain Folk & Simple Livin' was published in November of 2009 and was an instant success. One year later, the second volume, Backroads 2; The Road to Chicken Holler came out to the delight of those who enjoyed the first book. The third book in the series, Backroads 3; Faces of Appalachia completes the Backroads trilogy. 

In 2013, Appalachian Heart was published as a sequel to the Backroads trilogy and in June of 2015, Lynn's newest book, Mountain Folk, picks up where Appalachian Heart left off; with in-depth interviews of seventeen native mountain people Lynn knows as friends.



More Oral Histories of the Appalachian People


Mountain Folk captures the rugged spirit of the Scots-Irish who chose to live an isolated life in Virginia's Blue Ridge.  Stories of heartbreak, hope, strength and courage will give readers new respect for the last generation of these private and oft-misunderstood people.  Learn about the rigors of being a tobacco farmer from Loyd Ogden, whose large family lived in a idyllic spot called Pleasant Valley that backs up to steep, rugged mountains.  Read about Ruby May Henderson, who at 101 years of age can remember riding to with her father in a horse and buggy to get the mail at the Afton post office,  long before rural delivery was available.  And who still has the delicate China tea set and workable toy sewing machine she received one Christmas as a child.  These and more will delight those who enjoyed Lynn's prior four books.  As with the others, Mountain Folk is a 6 x 9" trade paperback.  It contains 312 pages with 273 black and white photographs and the price remains the same at $20.00 and can be ordered through the web-site.


 Oral Histories of the Mountain Elders

Lynn's fourth book, entitled Appalachian Heart,  contains the current oral histories of nineteen native people still living in the Virginia highlands.  The material is new, fresh and full of rich history taken from  those who can remember what life was like before electricity, telephones and indoor plumbing; before technology became a household word.  It was a time when survival depended on how well the crops and gardens grew.  A time when the labor was hard but brought an inward satisfaction to those living the old way.  Appalachian Heart is a 9 x 6" trade paperback, 304 pages with 278 black and white photographs, priced at $20.00.


BACKROADS; Plain Folk & Simple Livin'

Plain Folk & Simple Livin' is the first in a series of Appalachian culture books by Lynn Coffey. Backroads is a 9x6 inch trade paperback, 267 pages with 132 black and white photographs that highlight the native people of Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains. The thirty-one chapters include subjects ranging from beekeeping, churning butter, early burial practices, digging ginseng, old-time recipes, butchering, chair caning, logging, as well as many in depth interviews with the native people. Reminiscent of the well-known Foxfire series, the Backroads books continue to be relevant in today's world, not only as an Appalachian history but as a guideline for those longing for a simpler way of life.

BACKROADS 2; The Road to Chicken Holler

The Road to Chicken Holler is the second volume in a series of Appalachian culture books by Lynn Coffey. As with the first, it is a 9x6 inch trade paperback, 279 pages with 169 black and white photographs of the people and crafts of Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains. The twenty-nine chapters of The Road to Chicken Holler include information on quilting, making lye soap, midwifery and home births, dowsing for water, mountain music, apple butter boiling, bear hunting, wild game recipes, driving cattle, river baptizing, plus continuing personal interviews with the hearty Scots/Irish natives. A must read for those who enjoyed Plain Folk & Simple Livin'.


BACKROADS 3; Faces of Appalachia

Faces of Appalachia is the last book in the Backroads series of southern mountain culture by Lynn Coffey. The thirty-six chapters contain information about gardening, cutting firewood, making maple syrup, squeezing apple cider, the CCCs, scrub board washing and outdoor privies, along with more personal interviews with the mountain people. The 9x6 inch format matches the first two books and it contains 312 pages with 195 black and white photographs depicting the lifestyles and crafts of the Blue Ridge natives. The price remains at $20.00. The third and final book completes the Backroads series which is sure to become a collector's item in the future.


                     ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lynn Coffey and her husband Billy, a Baptist minister, live in a log cabin on a small mountaintop farm paralleling the Blue Ridge Parkway at Love, Virginia. They keep physically active by growing and preserving their own vegetables, cutting and splitting firewood to heat their home, and making hay for their Tennessee Walking horses but still find time to relax on the back porch at the day's end and listen to the call of the whippoorwill. The Coffeys are the parents of five married children and seven grandchildren. They enjoy working around their cabin and riding their horses whenever they can.