SHEPHERDSTOWN — When area entrepreneur and author Jeanne Mozier wrote a novel in the 90s “full of politics and magic and sex and food and underwear” and based on her experience with a Senatorial campaign, she couldn’t find a publisher and her book was never printed. She noticed, however, that Ivana Trump had written a novel that was printed immediately.
“What’s the deal, here? (Trump) wrote a novel, I wrote a novel. I’m a blond, she’s a blond. Why was her book published and mine wasn’t?” Mozier joked to an audience at the Scarborough Society lecture series at Shepherd University last week. “I decided obviously it was because she was famous, so I decided … I can go out and become famous.”
Cue audience laughter.
But, Mozier, to accomplish her goal, said she traveled around West Virginia in search of “oddities” and wrote about them, at first for several newspaper columns and eventually in a book entitled “Way Out in West Virginia: A Must-Have Guide to the Oddities and Wonders of the Mountain State.”
Mozier said that in writing the book, she intended to promote some of the state’s interesting tourist attractions in a humorous manner and that she wanted to “give people something to laugh about other than hillbilly jokes.”
She described several of her research trips as uniquely West Virginian, such as the time she visited the Palace of Gold, a Hare Krishna landmark in Moundsville. She recounted the surreal feeling of driving down a windy West Virginia road surrounded by trailers.
“Then you come around this last turn and it’s like somebody beamed down a Tibetan village in the middle of this valley, and it’s fabulous,” she said.
Mozier said that one of her favorite parts about promoting her book in West Virginia is telling her audiences about the “odd” and “wonderful” things about their individual towns and counties.
“Jefferson County has the largest list in the entire book and Harpers Ferry contributes a great deal to that,” she said.
Not to be left out are Shepherdstown, which along with competing with Romney for the title of oldest town in the state, also boasts the oldest clock tower — at Shepherd University’s McMurran Hall.
Meanwhile Morgan’s Grove Park, just outside of town, was recently named the official birthplace of the U.S. Army. It’s where George Washington was rescued from having to fight his war with nothing but New England troops because of West Virginia frontiersmen who marched themselves all the way up to Boston to serve with their general, Mozier said.
The Scarborough Society is a member-funded organization continually searching for new members. Members attend an annual black tie gala in August to raise funds for the lecture series. Last year’s event was held at the Bavarian Inn and the theme was centered around F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, “The Great Gatsby.”