READ LOCAL, the May 20 author and reader event at the Salem Museum, started with a conversation between Dr. Carolyn Roth and Executive Director Frances Ferguson. Maybe it was a small idea at first, but the event’s grown to include 30 authors throughout the museum’s galleries. We’re profiling some of the writers and neighbors you’ll meet – and the books they’re sharing.
Dr. Carolyn A. Roth’s writing is at the intersection of spirituality and environmental stewardship. Both a Master Gardener and a Tree Steward, she created the award winning Bible Garden at St. John Lutheran Church in Roanoke. At READ LOCAL, the nurse-psychologist will feature two books: Out of the Shadows: Exposing the Power of Bible Women, and God as Gardner: Exploring Parables Illustrated by Plants. She gave BOOK CITY ★ Roanoke some insight to her work, and you can get more by visiting with her at the Salem Museum on May 20.
BOOK CITY★ Roanoke: First, let’s hear a little more about these two books. Both look at the Bible through a very specific lens.
Dr. Carolyn A. Roth: The first, Out of the Shadows, emphasizes the power and influence of Bible women. Although Bible women appear to have secondary or tertiary roles, they were tremendously powerful in their environment. They used a variety of influence techniques to significant effect.
The second book is God as a Gardener, which evolved from my website of the same name. A number of parables are illustrated with plants, but with successive generations, we have a little difficulty interpreting parables because people don’t understand plant characteristics. This book gathers some of that knowledge for safekeeping and better understanding.
BCR: There’s a theory floating about that a great percentage of writers are also gardeners, that they get inspiration from plants. What else about Roanoke inspires your writing?
CAR: The four seasons in Roanoke and the mountains inspire me to write about all types of plants, trees, vines, flowers, and vegetables. I remember when I first got off the airplane in Roanoke. Immediately I telephoned my husband in El Paso. I said, “It’s green and there are mountains.” Six months later, we lived here.
Individuals in Roanoke care about the environment. There are active Master Gardener and Tree Steward programs in the city and county that help residents care for the environment.
BCR: What else gets your motor running, fuels your creativity?
CAR: The St. John Lutheran Bible Garden. It contains about 100 plants named in the Bible. For the past five years, my husband Bruce and I have added a little more area each year that we use for Bible plants. I love working in this garden and the Church is great about funding the plants and signage.
BCR: What challenge are you currently addressing in your writing?
CAR: At this point I have had four books published; however, my publisher just closed. I am pondering what to do next — find another publisher, publish independently. I don’t write best selling books and that is fine with me. I write exactly what I want to write. On the other hand, I could never make a living with my writing. Sometimes, I think about having more book sales.
BCR: How is a favorite fictional character a model for how we might live today?
CAR: My favorite fictional character is Eve Dallas in JD Robb’s books. She has an unbending sense of integrity and an amazing work ethic. But, truthfully, I never want to work as hard as she does.
BCR: Somehow with the writing, publishing, and gardening, I think that might not be the case. You seem pretty industrious!
Meet Carolyn Roth at READ LOCAL: A Celebration of Local Authors at the Salem Museum on May 20 from 10 AM to 3 PM.★