HERE'S HOPING: "Almost everybody in the book is a decent human being doing the best they can," says Ron Rash of his new novel, Above the Waterfall, his most optimistic book to date. Interestingly, despite more than a dozen drafts to fine-tune the language, Rash says he never rereads his own novels after publication.

Ron Rash’s new novel offers poetry, optimism

This sentence appears in the preface to Above the Waterfall, the newest novel by Ron Rash: “I watch last light lift off level land.” It’s just one of thousands of slight, deftly crafted lines. But there, before the story even begins, Rash slows the pace and announces himself, not just as a craftsman of rich, dark Southern fiction but also as a poet. He’ll present the novel at Malaprop’s on Tuesday, Sept. 8.

SHOOT AND SCORE: David Burris, front, makes his directorial debut with The World Made Straight. The North Carolina native says he was determined to shoot in WNC. "The type of atmosphere it creates for the actors and crew ... to know you’re performing on the actual ground where the story took place  — that’s immeasurable,” he says. Photo by Missy McLamb

Rash’s “The World Made Straight” becomes a very N.C.-centric film

Serena, which stars Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, was filmed in the Czech Republic. Similarly, Civil War drama Cold Mountain, from the book by local author Charles Frazier, was filmed mostly in Romania. The World Made Straight, however, was a North Carolina production through and through, down to — and because of — its directors.