*Image from the publisher’s website*


Tim Westover is an established writer of magical realism and folklore fiction in both English and Esperanto. He plays clawhammer banjo and enjoys exploring the north Georgia mountains.

Visit his personal blog at




Tell us a little about your novel, Auraria?


Auraria is a story of change and modernization coming to a haunted corner of the Georgia mountains. It’s set in the late 19th century. A sleepy Georgia ghost town, Auraria, is visited by two land developers, who have a plan to reinvigorate the town by building a lake and resort. Auraria had once been a rich place, on top of a vein of gold; as the developers dig, though, they find that Auraria’s gold is not all gone, nor it is quite what they’d expected.


Auraria is home not just to Georgia mountain folk, but to many spirits — haunted pianos, an invincible terrapin, moon maidens, headless revenants, and voracious mist-dwelling fish. They have their own whims and wishes, which interact with the developers’ plans in surprising and changing ways.


What was the inspiration for writing Auraria?


I live just at the foot of the Georgia mountains, and I make frequent trips up there. It’s one of my favorite places in the world. In my travels and readings, I found so many wonderful stories, both historical and folkloric, and wanted to bring them together in a novel. The way of all history is that most important sites — battlefields or buildings or graveyards — eventually become lost to farmers’ fields and subdivisions. With Auraria, I wanted to put some story back into that land.


How much of Auraria is invented, and how much is true?


Auraria was a real town in Georgia. It was the site of a gold rush in the 1830‘s, and now, there’s nothing left. Most of the events that happen in the novel Auraria — building hotels, creating dams, exploring mines, developing the land — are based in reality. Most are relocated to a single site from elsewhere in Georgia, Tennessee, and North Carolina. While the events are real, I changed their context and location.


Most of the folklore elements, too, are drawn from Cherokee legends, local storytellers, and folk beliefs. Again, I relocated, tweaked, and integrated them as the story demanded. The moon maidens, for instance, are more closely associated with the south Georgia swamps, but I moved them to the mountains.


Why fantasy and magical realism?


I don’t believe in ghosts, either now or in the past. But a belief in ghosts and otherworldly phenomenon was (and is) a part of the Georgia background of the novel. Folk tales are fascinating in how they explain, alter, and shade the interpretation of the world. Good fiction, even though it isn’t real, can give us a new perspective on the real world.


What are you currently reading?


I’m currently reading George Stewart’s Names on the Land: A Historical Account of Place-Naming in the United States. It traces the names of American cities, mountains, and rivers back to their origins, whether a Native American word, an Old-World reference, or a local joke. It shows how varied our history can be.


Where can readers get a copy of Auraria?


Auraria doesn’t come out until July 10th, but there are giveaways available.

There’s more information about the book on the QW Publishers website at and on Goodreads at


Tim Westover

Paperback:398 pages

Publisher:QW Publishers (July 10, 2012)



ISBN-13: 978-0984974801

Description:(from the publisher)

Water spirits, moon maidens, haunted pianos, headless revenants, and an invincible terrapin that lives under the mountains. None of these distract James Holtzclaw from his employer’s mission: to turn the fading gold-rush town of Auraria, GA, into a first-class resort and drown its fortunes below a man-made lake. But when Auraria’s peculiar people and problematic ghosts collide with his own rival ambitions, Holtzclaw must decide what he will save and what will be washed away.

Taking its inspiration from a real Georgia ghost town, Auraria is steeped in the folklore of the Southern Appalachians, where the tensions of natural, supernatural and artificial are still alive



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