A fictional tale crafted by a runner, about a runner, while on the run.
Runners will be riveted by the book Long Hill Home, the fictional story of Kelly Malloy, a woman whose world is shattered when she is brutally attacked while running along the banks of the Brandywine River. What unfolds in the wake of the crime is a trial with a wrongful accusal and a witness afraid to come forward. Ultimately, the characters find their lives forever connected in this story about the importance of realizing we are all striving for the same things in life.
We chatted with Kathryn Pincus, the author of Long Hill Home, to learn more about how running became the central thread in her life and what she hopes runners will take away from this book.
Women’s Running: How did you decide to build the story around this case that you present in the book of a woman runner being attacked?
Kathryn Pincus: I actually ran almost every morning through the spot where the book begins—it’s one of my favorite running routes with a beautiful river, waterfall and old stone mill. I’ve been running through there for years; first, when I was practicing law I would go down early in the morning, and even after I quit law I would still go down there, just not as early! Running was my big release. I wouldn’t be chained to a desk or bombarded with phone calls at work, and it really became my creative time.
WR: And that creative time turned into this book.
KP: Yes, I started to weave the story in my head each day while running. I think every woman runner has that concern in the back of their head about what happens if you are in danger on the trail or a [male attacker] shows up—I think it is something we need to be mindful of. It certainly doesn’t stop me from running, but the idea was there occasionally in my head. Eventually, it became this story of a character who was a lawyer, like I am, and lives in the neighborhood I live in called The Highlands. I think it evolved that way as I had real familiarity with it, so I could describe it very vividly for readers. Long Hill Home started as the story of a woman being attacked down by the river when she is running. Then, I started to flesh it out with some other characters: a Good Samaritan who comes across her body after the fact and a woman who witnesses the attack and is horrified by what she sees, but she can’t come forward because she is an pregnant immigrant and fearful of being deported. This whole story started coming together every day while I was running and occasionally I would get the time to sit down and type it out.
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WR: Did you learn anything while doing your research—or even pull it from your experience running—about how to stay safe while running?
KP: I definitely thought about safety while running as I wrote the book, such as staying within an area where there are people and traffic. I found that I could discover pretty places to run that were not too far out of the way; I always have an eye out for where the next house is. Also, the time of day is important; I learned to run when it is light out. When I was a lawyer, I would run after work when it was dark and that is something I would not do anymore. I’ve never worn earbuds in my ears or listened to music as I want to be able to hear everything around me. I do believe it is safer to run with a friend or two, though it can be tough to coordinate schedules.
WR: What do you think runners will get out of reading this book?
KP: I think running is important to the character—and this resonates with my own experience as well and probably for a lot of women runners—because it is part of why she is strong and able to get through all of the adversity that ensues. Every day, women go out and hit the pavement or the trails. Though it is physically trying and taxing at times, you push through and that in and of itself makes you feel healthier and it also makes you more confident in life. That is one reason why I wanted the woman to be a runner. It made her more vulnerable, only because she was out on the trail, but it made her stronger because she could endure everything in her life and she could ultimately prevail.
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WR: Is there anything else you hope that readers take away from the book?
KP: I wanted it, first and foremost, to be very entertaining; I wanted readers to get a vicarious feeling when reading the book. Within that, I want it to be a platform and opportunity to get people thinking about things like race, prejudice, and importance of not judging people based on their economic status or where they live or what they look like. I believe that is really dangerous to society. We all have so much more in common than we have differences and we all have an obligation to reach out to each other. That theme runs through the storyline and is why I chose to write the different characters that I did.
WR: What is your running like, now that the book is done?
KP: My running gave me my creative process; it is not only where the book started, but it became the subject matter. Running throughout my career as an attorney and now as an author, both of which are fairly sedentary jobs sitting at a desk all day, has really been the thread that runs through my life to keep me sane, healthy, refreshed mentally and ready to take on all that comes my way.
WR: Where can readers get their own copy of Long Hill Home and find out more about you?
KP: The book is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and where most books are sold. My website includes a lot of great extras for readers, including an image gallery where you can explore some of the locations in the book, including Breck’s Mill and the Highlands neighborhood. I’m also on Facebook, Twitter and on Goodreads—and I love connecting with readers and fellow runners!