I am so excited to welcome Pepper Basham to my blog this week for a special guest post!
One of my favorite parts of writing is creating a sense of place. It’s what I look for in my favorite books too. Do you know what I mean? That ability to ‘feel’ as if you’ve really traveled to a location you’ve only read about? I recently enjoyed that wonderful ‘place traveling’ by reading Laura Frantz’s newest novel, A Bound Heart. Wow! What a wonderful trip to Scotland!!
In my newest release, My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge, I invite readers to travel with Jonathan Taylor to Maple Springs, North Carolina, a small mountain community in the Blue Ridge. It was such fun to introduce readers to the Appalachian culture as Jonathan is introduced. From mountain lions to get-togethers to corn shuckins, the traditions, beauties, trials, and changes of the mountain people set the stage for discovery…and, of course, there are the magnificent views.
There’s something about these mountains, something indescribable, that calls to the hearts of those who’ve lived among them for a while. I’m not sure how to describe it except to say it’s a sense of belonging that settles around the heart like an internal hug, nudging you to slow your pace, take a deep breath, and take in the scenery.
The pace of life is different. The people talk a little differently. And there’s an unspoken understanding of community, hard work, and…always…the music.
I grew up listening to my family play bluegrass gospel together. Some of the menfolk would play on their instruments – fiddle, guitar, bass – and then women and men alike, would bring on the words. Intricate harmonies of family voices. Songs of various texture and depth, but all with the sound of the mountains.
That’s what I hope to draw readers into through my stories, and this one in particular. My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge steps back into a time where the mountain people were only beginning to feel a greater impact from the outside world. Where their traditions were being questioned and their way-of-life threatened. I also hope to challenge the stereotype some people still have of Appalachian people. Were some of them lazy? Sure. Were some closeminded or thick-headed? You bet. Were they’re alcoholics, abusers, filth, uneducated, poverty-stricken people? Yes. But there was also marvelous imagination, dreamers, artists of all kinds, musicians, crafters, inventors…and, of course, storytellers.
Come take a journey with me and Jonathan Taylor into Laurel McAdams world in My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge.
And bring me your questions.
Is there anything you’d like to learn about the Appalachian culture? Any questions about the story or the people/traditions you read about in the novel?
Journey into the Blue Ridge Mountains of 1918 where Laurel McAdams endures the challenges of a hard life while dreaming things can eventually improve. But trouble arrives in the form of an outsider. Having failed his British father again, Jonathan Taylor joins is uncle’s missionary endeavors as a teacher in a two-room schoolhouse. Laurel feels compelled to protect the tenderhearted teacher from the harsh realities of Appalachian life, even while his stories of life outside the mountains pull at Laurel’s imagination. Faced with angry parents over teaching methods, Laurel’s father’s drunken rages, and bad news from England, will Jonathan leave and never return, or will he stay and let love bloom?
About the Author
As a native of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Pepper Basham enjoys sprinkling her Appalachian into her fiction writing. She is an award-winning author of contemporary and historical romance, mom of five, speech-language pathologist, and a lover of Jesus and chocolate. She resides in Asheville, North Carolina with her family.