Krista here! I’m SO EXCITED to host the fabulous Pepper Basham today! Not only is she an amazing friend and writing pal, she’s also an AMAZING author of Christian Romance. Her newest book, My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge Mountains, released last month, so I invited her here today to talk a little about her book and some background on it!
Without further adieu– Pepper!
Stories have power.
As readers, we all get that.
The power to inspire our imaginations, to ignite our emotions, to send our world into a post-book haze for a week trying to navigate the foggy line between fiction and reality.
I’ve loved getting to live on both sides of that fog – as author and reader, but something unexpected happened when I began the process of writing my newest book, My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge.
Laurel’s Dream, the last book in Barbour’s My Heart Belongs series, started as a way to “fictionalize” some stories from my family history and turned into a celebration of a culture, people, and era I love so much.
In some ways, Laurel, is based on my Granny Spencer – a woman whose very presence shaped my life and faith so much, but she’s also the first person who ever called me a writer. Her love for story came through orally, as so many stories are passed down in Appalachia, and her influence is sprinkled on almost every page of this novel…and a whole lot in Laurel McAdams.
I didn’t expect the creation of this book to impact my heart so much, but getting to dig into my Appalachian culture and history, and then bring it to life on the page helped me appreciate the beauties of my culture, but also realize how much strength it took to see beyond the mountains to dreams of the heart.
I’ve been amazed at the response I’ve gotten from readers about this book and the culture it portrays. One reviewer, Suzie Waltner, described it like this in her review: “the true love story in this book is to the Blue Ridge Mountains and the people who live simple yet full and fulfilled lives.”
I hadn’t thought about that…but, in part, she RIGHT! Creating this story became an act of love to people, memories, and a culture I grew to love through the stories I heard growing up and the life I lived among a big, Appalachian family.
Appalachia is known mostly by stereotypes, but over the past few years, those stereotypes have been changing because of a resurgence of interest in Appalachia. Characteristics of alcoholism, lazy people, wide-spread meth use, filth, and unintelligence, although based on a very small population of the Appalachian culture, is giving way to the discovery of a creative, industrious, imaginative, protective, ‘zest for life’ people group who love home, family, and music.
And…of course…the mountains.
All these elements are blended together to bring my hero and heroine together. He’s searching for a place to belong and finds a way to fit in a very foreign world to him. She’s longing to make a dream come true and finds someone who will help her dream beyond all she’s ever known.
I guess it is a love story to my mountains, to a way of life that has shaped me, to the fierce love of a family who encouraged me to dream as big as the mountains, and to a God who forged an appreciation and delight in seeing His handprints throughout the good and bad patterns of a broken and beautiful family history.
Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor with southern Appalachian flair. Both her historical and contemporary novels have garnered recognition in the Grace Awards, RT Awards, Inspys, and ACFW Carol Awards. Her most recent historical romance, My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge, showcases her Appalachian heritage and family history, as well as her love for humor and family. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is the mom of five great kids, a speech-language pathologist to about fifty more, and a lover of chocolate, jazz, hats, and Jesus.
Pepper loves getting to know readers and other authors through social media outlets like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. You may also learn more about her on her website at www.pepperdbasham.com
Thanks so much for sharing your story, Pepper!
Want to read My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge Mountains? You can get it here! (and while you’re there, check out her other books! She writes both historical and contemporary romance, and has 11 other books you can choose from as well!)
Have a question for Pepper or about her book? Please comment below!
Pepper has also graciously agreed to give away a copy of her book (ebook or paperback, reader’s choice) to one lucky commenter! So comment with a question to enter!!