Morgan Mill - above, outside Brevard, NC; (no longer exists)

We don’t own a mill; I hardly understand the intricacies of the grinding process (though I’ve seen it dozens of times and read about it by the gross). But I head for any mill I hear about as unerring as water flowing through a sluice.

When people ask: “Why the interest in old mills?” I fumble for an answer and can’t satisfy even myself.

Yet I’ve incorporated my interest in old grist mills into seven of my ten novels, starting with ThymeTable Mill in which the heroine visits and photographs several western North Carolina mills with a desire to reconstruct one on the herb farm.

In the three historical novels (Sarranda, Sarranda’s Heart, Sarranda’s Legacy), Sarranda’s grandfather’s mill is “almost a character,” an integral stabilizing presence.

Like its community, the mill suffers Civil War damage, but survives to inspire and ultimately to enable Sarranda to find unexpected love and aid in her establishing a forerunner of the home/cottage industry.

And if course my entire Marcy Dehanne Grist Mill Mystery series is essentially based on dangerous happenings in and around old mills.

Francis Mill (pictured below) is one of my favorite mills anywhere and it’s only about 30 minutes from Asheville. I included it and owner Tanna Timbes in ThymeTable Mill. Visit


Jack Dellinger and Celia Miles
My first mystery The Body at Wrapp’s Mill is set around
Dellinger Mill, outside Bakersville, NC.


Other Local Mills