In interviews I’m usually asked about the inspirations for my stories. Here are the stories behind the stories. I hope you enjoy these behind-the-scenes looks at my books.
CAROLINA GOLD–A LowCountry Novel
Coming in 2013
I fell in love with the South Carolina low country on my first visit fifteen years ago. The beauty and the history of the place grabbed hold of my heart and my imagination and has never let go. On one of those early trips, I bought a book called A Woman Rice Planter, the story of Elizabeth Allston Pringle and Chicora Wood, her plantation on the PeeDee River. CAROLINA GOLD is inspired by Mrs. Pringle’s life and writing. This summer I hired a guide to take me upriver to Chicora Wood. I could imagine Mrs. Pringle walking along the shaded piazza, one eye to sky, worrying about whether the “freshet” would destroy her crop. I loved writing CAROLINA GOLD, and I hope you’ll watch for it next year.
I grew up in Tennessee, next door to the beauty and the history of the Great Smoky Mountains. For my first series of historical novels, I invented Hickory Ridge, a nineteenth century fictional town set in the majestic east Tennessee mountains. In the center of town along a brick-paved street lies a bustling railway station, a barber shop, a bakery, and Jasper Pruitt’s mercantile where residents buy everything from bridles to molasses.
Based loosely on Cade’s Cove, my imaginary town also boasts a busy lumber mill, a newspaper office, a schoolhouse,a home for children orphaned by war, and a country church where my characters— Ada, Mariah, Lillian, Carrie, and Bea— gather on Wednesday afternoons to make quilts and share the latest news.
I hope Hickory Ridge has become a favorite fictional town for you, too, and that you’ll visit again and again in the pages of BEYOND ALL MEASURE, BEAUTY FOR ASHES and EVERY PERFECT GIFT.