Two local authors  plan events together

Posted: January 12, 2013

The Winchester Star

Larry Yates is the author of “The Scalawag Scholar’s Notes on Virginia” and “Bloodroot Cantons: An Alternative Story of Virginia and the Blue Ridge.”
Peter Schmitt is the author of “Gabriel's Redemption.” (Photo by Jeff Taylor/The Winchester Star)

Winchester — Two local authors have banded together to promote their books in the community.

Larry Lamar Yates and Peter Schmitt have diverse backgrounds and ideologies and have only known each other a few months. But the self-published authors have been teaming up to help get their books more attention — an endeavor which includes two upcoming local events, Yates said.

“We come from different directions, but we both care a lot about writing and we both care about justice in our ways,” said Yates, 62.

Holding the promotional events is a good partnership because they are two local authors with stories to tell, said Schmitt, 58. “We would like to talk some about the creative process and some about how our stories relate to what is going on today.”

Yates will sell and sign copies of his books “The Scalawag Scholar’s Notes on Virginia” and “Bloodroot Cantons: An Alternative Story of Virginia and the Blue Ridge” from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. today at the Freight Station Farmers Market at 315 W. Boscawen St. Schmitt will join him for part of that time and sign copies of his novel “Gabriel’s Redemption.”

The pair will be back together at 7 p.m. Wednesday for “Local Tales by Local Authors” in the Handley Library Auditorium. The program will include readings from their books — Yates will read from “Scalawag” — followed by time for questions and book-signings.

Both events are free and open to the public.

“The Scalawag Scholar’s Notes on Virginia” is a collection of 21 essays that “debunk” the idea of the Virginia gentleman, Yates said. His contention is that the state has had a string of leaders from 1607 to today “who have never done a good job.”

“I try to expose their incompetence and fraudulence all the way through,” he said.

Some of the concepts he attacks in his social commentary are the ideas that a Virginia gentleman is defined by breeding and character and is frank and decent, that the state’s women were “quiet handmaidens to men, not a countervailing force,” and that today’s politics are colorblind. The book costs $18.99.

“Bloodroot Cantons” is an alternative history, which takes an actual moment in history and asks “What if this happened instead?”

For this novel, Yates took the story of a group of slaves who planned and executed an escape in 1729 from a plantation in Caroline County and reached the Shenandoah Valley, where they set up a village.

The slaves were recaptured within a year, but in this book, history takes a different turn. “The first time I read about it, I realized if they had succeeded, it would have really changed the history of Virginia,” he said.

The book costs $11.99. Both books were published in September.

“Gabriel’s Redemption” is a novel about a black man accused of raping a white woman in March 1944 and his subsequent trial and execution. Schmitt took the frame for his story from the actual Winchester case of Howard Walker.

The book was published in May and costs $18.


“Local Tales by Local Authors” will be presented at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Handley Library auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

For more information, call 540-662-6046 ext. 31.

For more information about Yates, contact 703-963-8394 or

For more information about Schmitt, email

— Contact Laura McFarland at