Wilderness Author to Appear in Raleigh for Book Signing This Sunday

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Michael C. Hurley will be appearing between 2 and 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 13, 2005, at the grand opening of the Books-A-Million store at 7221 Sandy Forks Road, in North Raleigh, to sign copies of his new book, Letters from the Woods: Looking at Life through the Window of Wilderness.

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Michael C. Hurley is a Raleigh defense attorney best known for the rhetorical flair and legal skill that have earned him a long string of courtroom victories over the past 20 years. What most of Hurley's colleagues and friends don't know about the bespeckled attorney is that he is more at home in a canoe than in a courtroom, and that for the past ten years, readers in 48 states, Canada and overseas have known him not for his legal abilities but for his secret life as a wilderness guru. At an appearance at the new Books-A-Million store in North Raleigh, this Sunday, Hurley will be signing copies of his new book, Letters from the Woods, which celebrates his passion for the wilderness experience.

After Hurley went through what he describes as an "early" midlife crisis at age 34, he and his wife sold their Texas law practice and, in 1992, moved with their two young children to New Bern. There, on the Carolina Coast, he briefly chased the life of a sailboat charter captain. Within six months, however, the financial reality of two little mouths to feed intruded on that dream. He quickly returned to private law practice, but the Gypsy itch never left him.

When his children were old enough to tag along, Hurley rekindled a boyhood interest in wilderness canoeing. He set out in 1995 to write and photograph a journal for family and a few friends about his canoeing adventures all over the country. One friend encouraged him to sell subscriptions. Hurley’s Journal was born, then renamed Paddle & Portage. Hurley sketched intricate maps for the journal and wrote detailed directions on routes, gear, and hidden camping spots along remote rivers. In each issue he also wrote a personal story, aiming for a larger, spiritual meaning to be drawn from his time in the woods. Before long, people started writing to him to share their reactions to these stories, which became a reader favorite. A diverse group of farmers, doctors, schoolteachers, paupers and princes—even one noted billionaire—all shared a devotion to Hurley’s journal. Some recognized a spark reminiscent of Thoreau or Robert Ruark. Others were drawn to his willingness to express his devotion to family and his Christian faith. Before the demands of a growing trial practice forced Hurley to discontinue publication in 2003, more than 10,000 people had come to subscribe.

Readers of the journal urged Hurley to collect his essays into a single volume, and that’s how letters from the Woods came to be. The book is now out in hardcover from Ragbagger Publishing. Borders and Barnes & Noble have also selected the book--Hurley's first--for nationwide distribution.

To hear one reader tell it, this is “wonderful, honest, and intimate writing.” Another refused to accept the check sent to refund an overpaid subscription, writing that “there were many times, while reading your articles, that I felt only what could be described as a spiritual connection to you.” Comments like these abound. It looks like the verdict is in, and Hurley has scored a victory we all can savor.

Michael C. Hurley will be appearing between 2 and 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 13, 2005, at the grand opening of the Books-A-Million store at 7221 Sandy Forks Road, in North Raleigh, to sign copies of his new book, Letters from the Woods: Looking at Life through the Window of Wilderness.

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