More than 30 years ago, I used to stop in Lumberton each summer on my way from Washington, D.C., to Myrtle Beach. It was the ideal spot for stretching my legs and grabbing a bite to eat. There were shops along the interstate back then, some of which contained crafts and items made locally, which I enjoyed visiting.
Seven years ago when I informed my friends and family that I was moving to Lumberton, I was surprised to learn just how many people were familiar with this area. Like me, they had often stopped here en route to other destinations.
Throughout my brief time living here, I’ve learned that Lumberton contains many hidden treasures and people of enormous talent. Many of them might be your neighbors, your friends or your co-workers, and you might be unaware of the artistic talents they possess. I hope to bring some of them to life here and share the rich culture that makes up our region.
One such gem is E. Marie Sanders, whose most recent publication, “Blindsided,” made it to No. 11 on Amazon’s Bestseller List of Contemporary Fiction. With thousands of books competing for the bestseller lists, this is quite an achievement. “Blindsided” is a contemporary coming-of-age drama that includes romance, unexpected illness, friendship and family complications, in which the main character must learn who she can depend on, who she needs to let go, and to whom she should listen.
Sanders, known locally as Liz, was born in Fayetteville but moved to Pittsburgh early in life and then returned to the area, settling right here in Lumberton. She taught in public schools for 12 years and has served as a youth pastor for 13 years.
Her goal is to write stories for young adults that even those who are reluctant to read will enjoy — a goal she has met with each of her books. Her first book, “To K(no)w Avail,” won the 2011 Favorite Book of the Year honors awarded by From a Writer’s POV Magazine. Liz was a participant at the Inaugural Book ‘Em North Carolina event held in Lumberton this past February and will participate in the Book ‘Em event scheduled for Feb. 23, 2013. You’ll recognize her by her megawatt smile.
In addition to writing, Liz works for Robeson County Public Schools, currently serving as the K-12 English/Language Arts District Curriculum supervisor. Her accomplishments include being the High School Literacy Team director, a committee member for the Learning Acceleration Program and contributing to the development of the Southern Regional Education Board High School English Foundations Class Curriculum. She also co-designed and implemented the District Literacy Plan. You can read more about this remarkable lady at www.emariesanders.com. She is definitely an author to watch.
p.m.terrell is an award-winning author of 13 books, including the Black Swamp Mysteries series set in Lumberton. Her column will appear the third Sunday of every month.