Karen Potter-Hughes was born to be a writer and has been writing since she was a child.
“I guess I started writing silly little rhymes in second grade and then I wrote a play between third and fourth grade for my classmates about a frog and a toad, based on Romeo and Juliet,” said Potter-Hughes.
She has come a long way since her early days, but has always stayed true to her passion. Her mother was a writer and she remembers spending time with her when she was younger, which gave her inspiration.
“She would tell me that she’d go out to a place where there was rock and a stream and she’d just sit down and write. Her mother used to buy her Indian tablets — paper booklets that cost a nickel — and she’d fill those up with her writing and later on, she would tell me about it,” said Potter-Hughes.
She received her bachelor’s degree from Utica College in Syracuse, New York and started teaching English. In 1982, she and her parents moved to Middlesboro to be closer to their family roots.
“I really like just getting the story out — starting something and seeing where it is going to go. I don’t always know how something is going to end when I start it, but that’s part of the joy of writing,” said Potter-Hughes.
She received her master’s degree in education with a focus on English from Lincoln Memorial University and received her rank 1 from Union College after an additional 30 hours of study.
Potter-Hughes worked as a reporter for the Middlesboro Daily News until she was offered a job as an English teacher at Middlesboro High School. She retired in 2007 after 27 years of teaching to help take care of her father.
Her grandmother’s past inspired her to research genealogy and ancestry, but what she found was so exciting that she wrote and published a book about it.
Her book, Deserter, outlines her research of her great grandfather’s story as a thief, New Yorker, preacher and bigamist.
“I think so many people from here can identify with this because they know of their ancestors and how hard it is to make a living,” said Potter-Hughes.
Deserter can be found on Amazon and is available for e-readers. Potter-Hughes will also be signing and selling her book at the Middlesboro Library on Aug. 23 at 7 p.m.
She is also involved with the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Cumberland Park Garden Club. She is an elder, sings in the choir and teaches Sunday School at First Presbyterian Church.
She has been married to her husband Roger for 16 years and they live together in Middlesboro.
Reach Kelsey Gerhardt at 606-302-9093 or on Twitter @kgerhardtmbdn.