By Ron Gregory
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A former Mingo Countian is planning a novel about life in the Southern West Virginia mountains.
Kimberly Collins, now living in Washington, D.C., recently announced that her novel, “Simple Choices” has achieved international sales. She said last week that she is working on a second book that will be titled, simply, “Mingo.”
Collins said growing up in Mingo County gave her a unique perspective on the history of the area. “It is not just the Hatfields and McCoys,” she said of the famous West Virginia-Kentucky feud that often captures national headlines.
Her first book, “Simple Choices” is available though Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Books-a-Million as well as at the Tug Valley Chamber of Commerce Coal House and the Matewan depot.
Inspired by real events, “Simple Choices” is a fictionalized story about a young, single mother from Matewan. The woman chooses a life that leads her down a path of choice and destruction. Collins says, “Piled together, the choices were one huge mountain of chaos and noise. But one at a time … who could tell any difference from the moment just before she made the choice to the quiet moment just after?” She said that summarizes “simple choices.”
Collins, who said she continues to visit Southern West Virginia as often as possible, added, “Truth be told, this could be the story of any young woman in Mingo County, past or present.”
She said her next book, “Mingo” will also be a novel based on real-life Mingo County events. “There is so much history in those hills,” she said. “It makes a fascinating story.”
Collins has not said if fictional characters in her novels represent real individuals or if they are based upon a combination of one or more people. As is often the case with novels based on true stories, some readers have theorized that certain characters represent individual Mingo Countians.
The author grew up in Matewan but now lives in the nation’s capitol, where she is working on the next book.
On the back cover of “Simple Choices,” she refers to Proverbs 14:12: “There’s a way of life that looks harmless enough; look again — it leads straight to hell.”
Collins has not said when her second book will be available.