Tag Archives: authors

Day 132: Kiran Bhatraju, author of Mud Creek Medicine

Photo: Kiran Bhatraju

Photo: Kiran Bhatraju

I met Kiran at an event last October here in Washington, D.C. He’s the co-founder of Arcadia Power, a business and residential utility provider that invests in clean energy. In addition to his entrepreneurial ventures, I learned that he had authored a book about a healthcare pioneer from the mountains of Eastern Kentucky where he grew up. He mentioned a place called Greasy Creek – which was not unfamiliar to my ears. My mother, who grew up in the coal-mining hills of Virginia’s panhandle, used to talk about Greasy Creek. I thought for a moment that it was the same place, but I now know that it’s not.

Kiran told me about how a woman named Eula Hall overcame tremendous challenges to establish a much-needed health clinic in the area. He talked of the miners, the poverty and the isolation from the rest of the country. And while he was talking about Kentucky and not Virginia, the land and the people sounded the same.

Eula married McKinley Hall pictured here. There's something about this image of him that reminds me of my family from Richlands. Photo: Mud Creek Medicine

Eula married McKinley Hall pictured here. There’s something about this image of him that reminds me of my family from Richlands. Photo: Mud Creek Medicine

I read Mud Creek Medicine and thoroughly enjoyed it. If you are interested in that part of the country, have family from there or have just driven through, you will identify with Eula’s story. And if you don’t have a connection to Appalachia, all the more reason you should read it. The story that Kiran shares is quintessential to a part of America that seldom finds its way into the minds of people in New York, Chicago or Los Angeles.


Day 132-2


The stack of books on my “to read” shelf was reduced by one recently. I finished reading Mud Creek Medicine – a book that touched me profoundly.

You see, my mother grew up in Richlands, VA – a sleepy Appalachia coal-mining town less than 90 miles southeast of Mud Creek on route 460. Through your words, you brought life a familiar yet foreign place that I’ve heard about all my life. One of six children, my mother grew up the daughter of a coal-miner. Her relatives were a cast of colorful characters right out of Mud Creek Medicine who lived “down in the hollers”, “around the bend” or “over the bluff” in Tazewell County. I grew up listening to stories of my mother’s aunts Carmie and Okie and uncles Ralph, Byrd, Ulys, Trinkle, Otis and many others. And of course my grandparents Flora Belle and Gillis. The photographs of McKinley on page 185 remind me of photographs of some of the men I mentioned above – a few of which were no-good drunks like McKinley.

Day 132Eula’s story and the struggles of Appalachia are important stories to be told – they go to the quick of our nation. Eula’s stubborn commitment to make a difference in a time and a place where women weren’t welcomed to do such a thing is inspiring. Thank you for telling her story so beautifully.

Reed Sandridge

P.S. I’d love to get together for coffee or a beer sometime, talk about the book and get you to sign my copy.

mud creek medicineMud Creek Medicine is available on Amazon.

Day 122: Amy Wilkinson

It’s been ten years since I moved into my apartment in Dupont Circle here in Washington, DC. For much of that time, my neighbor Amy Wilkinson has been working on a book. In the last couple of years, as I started working on my book about the Year of Giving, I began asking more questions to her about the process she went through to take her book to publication.

You caught me rereading Chapter 5, Networking Minds, recently to help inform some planning for a project that I'm working on.

You caught me rereading Chapter 5, Networking Minds, recently to help inform some planning for a project that I’m working on.

It’s been a long five years – she’s had all kinds of surprises along the way and often tells me the things that she would do differently if she writes another book. As a rookie author, I have listened intently to her advice.

Her book finally came out in February – I preordered it so I had it on my doorstep the day it was released. It’s easy to say that The Creator’s Code should be required reading for anyone interested in entrepreneurism, but that lessens the value of the book frankly. I would say that anyone passionate about making a difference, achieving an aspirational goal, or just being more effective in an area of their life will benefit from the book – we can all be “creators.”

The moving truck came today to move her belongings to California – Amy is headed to teach a course at Standford. My loss – Stanford’s gain. Join me in wishing her continued success and get your copy of her book here.



Congratulations on The Creator’s Code. It’s such as terrific book and I’m ecstatic to see it doing so well. And while I know that I don’t even know the half of it, I know that you worked tirelessly on it and that your journey to publication wasn’t without its share of challenges and pitfalls. But as a creator, you managed to keep your eyes on the horizon.

A handcrafted card I made at Paper Source's workshop Thursday night.

A handcrafted card I made at Paper Source’s workshop Thursday night.

Sadly it seems that all this success also means I lose a great neighbor! Best of luck with teaching your course at Stanford and I look forward to following all the exciting places you will go.

This is just the beginning!

Day 22: Mr. Zinsser

Photo: pauldrybooks.com

Photo: pauldrybooks.com

It’s scary to write to someone who is internationally known and respected as an expert on writing, but that is what I’m doing today. I’m sending a letter to William Zinsser, author of On Writing Well and former Yale professor. The aforementioned book changed my view of writing more than any other book – and as you might expect, it’s impeccably written.

I half expect to get my letter returned to me, marked up in red pen by the 92-year-old writing authority, showing me how I could have improved my letter. That would be wonderful!


Mr. Zinsser,

Monogramed stationery from Crane & Co.

Monogramed stationery from Crane & Co.

No book on writing has impacted me more than On Writing Well. You’ve inspired me to always be true to myself and what I want to say – challenging me to examine whether every word is doing new and useful work. Thank you – not only for helping me to become a better writer, but also for influencing so many other writers whose work I read.

With admiration and respect,
Reed Sandridge