Carly Carver, Editor
The Ashland Beacon
Tina Potter, of Greenup County, is one of the authors of an exciting new book “Escape Into The Forest,” book two in the Survival Ember series. Potter, and co-author Kenny Dietrich, of Ashland, used their combined expertise in the outdoors to create the young-adult series about Ember, a young woman who uncovers a dark secret in the forest and then faces a series of challenges in the heart of Appalachia.
Potter, who is originally from Columbus, Ohio, attended her senior year of high school at GCHS. Potter graduated from the American College of Healthcare Sciences as a Master Herbalist with an Associates of Applied Science. Potter also has additional education from Shawnee State University. Potter said that she has been writing since a young age, but once she met Dietrich, she began working toward her first book series.
“My first book was published in September of last year, and the second book was published in August,” said Potter. “The series is something that is family and faith based. My co-author is a survivalist in Ashland. We met at a class I host, I am a master herbalist, and we started talking and decided to write a book together. We wrote as a survivalist, him, and the herbalist, I. We touched on a topic we wanted to talk about, human trafficking. We wanted to combine our love of the outdoors and nature, and self-sufficiency but also touch on something that is something huge, human trafficking.”
The first book, Secrets In The Forest, as well as the latest publication are both available on e-book format on iBooks and Amazon Kindle, as well as print publication on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
The following is an excerpt from book one:
“Ember faces some of the toughest decisions of her life, but she's never short of determination, strength, and the training her father John established in her from a younger age. Taking risks, she uncovers something dark in the forest, and that secret may get her in deeper trouble than expected. In the end, it comes down to survival - the art of survival becomes necessary when you're being hunted.”
Potter said there is an upcoming deadline for the third book, so readers will have to be patient to know what happens next.
“We are hoping to get it done faster,” said Potter.
“Keep an eye out,” said Dietrich. “We are writing it, we know what is going on and it is going to be better than the first two. This is the moment we have been building up for. I’m really excited for it.”
Potter said that she and Dietrich are working with a new Editor, Sydney Shoemaker, who has made a major impact on the authors’ work.
“She’s really just transformed our work into something better than we ever dreamed,” said Potter.
Potter said that she is appreciative of where her writing has taken her, to where she is now from where she began writing at a young age.
“I grew up in Columbus in a very strict and religious setting,” said Potter. “We got into a church that really laid the foundation of my faith. I was very much sheltered in some ways. I started writing at a young age, and I have a different way of connecting with God, some pray, and I would be writing. That was always my time with God.”
Potter then moved away from her friends and the people she knew and used writing as a therapeutic tool to help her cope.
“I wanted to find ways to share my work and my faith through writing and maybe help those who felt how I felt,” said Potter. “Maybe there is someone out there who could find something useful from our work today.”
Potter said her writing began to transform into something more serious when she launched her herbalist blog.
Potter said her blogging has slowed down currently, so she can work on teaching herbal classes and working on her books.
“I had always wanted to finish a novel,” said Potter.
Kenny Dietrich, native of Boyd County, and the owner of SOS Outdoors is a United States Air Force and West Virginia National Guard veteran, as well as an expert in Bushcraft and Survival. Along with being the co-author to the two Survival Ember books, Dietrich has written an autobiography.
“This is my third book,” said Dietrich. “My first book was ‘Surviving the Trials’, which is about everything I’ve been through and about how my faith got me through the tough times.”
Dietrich wrote Surviving the Trials in 2017.
“I started writing as therapy at first,” said Dietrich. “My therapist said he didn’t know if it would help me, but it had helped other people. And it has just grown. It’s a labor of love.”
Dietrich said that writing helped him a lot through some trauma.
“When you have a traumatic event, the more you talk about it, the more it becomes a story and a part of your past, and less vivid and not as much something that haunts you, it becomes something that is just a story you are telling,” said Dietrich. “It becomes just a story you are telling. And so writing helped me that way.”
Potter said working with Dietrich was a great experience.
“Everything aligned perfectly, it was almost just meant to be,” said Potter. “I think our writing relationship is really good because it is a friendship. We started as strictly professional, but now we have grown into a good friendship. We build each other up experience wise and creatively. I think that is how it should be.”
Potter said that Dietrich was a wealth of professional knowledge and business expertise.
“I couldn’t ask for a better co-author,” said Potter.
“There is no way I could have written this without her,” said Dietrich.
“She had this dandelion workshop, and I took her workshop, and from there we took this group hike,” said Dietrich. “We worked great as a team and we just clicked.”
Dietrich said he had this idea for a book, but he could not write the female protagonist.
“I just knew Tina would be perfect for writing Ember,” said Dietrich.
Potter said that there were a lot of people who helped push her into the author she is today.
“I am thankful to my husband Ryan,” said Potter. “He has helped push me out there into the world. Kenny has helped me creatively and business wise.”
“She has really gone above and beyond my expectations for it,” said Dietrich. “She can also talk so much more about empowering young women than I can. I just think the world of her. She is always doing something to improve.”
Potter said that it is because of pushing outside of her comfort zone that she is now expanding into new adventures as well.
“I have two books that I am working on outside the Surviving Ember series,” said Potter. “So, I am really excited about that.”
Potter said that advice she would give to others is to learn from everything, including the bad experiences.
“Anything negative that comes your way can always be built up for good,” said Potter. “We take negative aspects and turn it into a lesson.”
Potter said that young writers shouldn’t give up, because their confidence will grow and their knowledge will expand.
“Whatever amount of confidence you have, it doesn’t matter how you feel about where you are now, just continue on that path and your confidence will grow,” said Potter. “You don’t know where your life is going to lead, and that is going to influence your writing and your decisions.”
Potter said that pushing through all the things that tell you to hold back and trying is a big piece of advice she would give others.
“Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there,” said Potter.
Dietrich said that he looks forward to the future and thanks the public for all of their support, but most of all he is grateful for Potter and how she is taken off with the series.
“The series is great,” said Dietrich. “It has taken shape and it has taken off better than I ever imagined. Tina wrote the majority of the book. I ended up being the voice of the father of the book.”
Readers will get the opportunity to meet Potter next month at one of Greenup County’s favorite annual events, Sweet Bee Garden’s Farm Days. Potter will be doing a book reading on October 17 at the Farm Days Event and will also be available for future book signings. To stay tuned for future events, follow https://www.facebook.com/SurvivalEmber/.
You can read more on Potter’s herbalist adventures at https://www.facebook.com/AtTheHealersNook.