Novelist to share insights into the past

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By Molly Haines

From Owen County, Ind. to Owen County, Ky., historical novelist James Alexander Thom is sure to delight history lovers during his appearance at the Owen County Historical Society’s monthly program Thursday.
Thom, who has written nine historical novels, said many of them have taken place around the Ohio Valley or in Kentucky.
Thom said his most successful novel, “Follow The River,” includes a critical section that takes place by Big Bone Lick.
“I already feel at home in your Owen County,” Thom said Monday. “I live in Owen County, Ind., which is named after the same man [Abraham Owen]. Many of my books are centered on Kentucky, so it’s sort of like a second home really.”
Thom said all of his novels are historically accurate and he, like members of historical societies everywhere, spends a great deal of time researching for each of his works.
“All of my novels are based on things that took place with real people who actually did live,” Thom said. “People who are interested in history are interested in my books because I do the same type of research as historians do. They can count on the historical facts.”
Thom said all of his historical novels take place primarily during the period from the French and Indian War through the War of 1812.
When visiting with historical societies, Thom said he doesn’t always come with a topic in mind.
“I never know exactly what I’ll be speaking about,” Thom said. “I think what I’d basically like to do is talk about the difference between the way I tell history and the way a historian tells history. We do the same kind of research, but when I tell the story, instead of saying something happened 200 years ago, I try to take the reader back there and get them involved in the story and meeting the people.”
Thom said he’s excited to speak to historical society members and guests and considers fellow historians a tribe looking at the world not just through today, but the past as well.
“All those who are interested in history are kind of a minority,” Thom said. “So much of modern culture is just about ‘now’, we’re a minority in that we understand everything we have and everything we are came because of what people did before. We all feel history is not in the past, that it’s still going on and we’re a part of it.”
The program will also include a book signing.
Novels by Thom include “Follow The River,” “From Sea To Shining Sea” and his most recent novel, co-authored by his wife Dark Rain, “Warrior Woman.”
Rain will accompany Thom to the program.
The program will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the I.O.O.F. Hall. A meal for Owen County Historical Society members and guests will be served at 5 p.m.