Shannon here: Jodie Bailey shares the romantic trip that inspired her latest Romantic Suspense, Fatal Response. Comment or answer the question at the end of the post to enter the drawing for a copy. Deadline: Oct 13th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Jodie:
I married my husband in 1996. After three deployments and countless schools and temporary duty assignments that had kept us apart, he retired from the military in 2011. The moment he did, we started putting away a certain amount of his paycheck every month so that we could have a getaway for our twentieth anniversary in 2016. We needed a dream, something to look forward to. Our original plan was to take the Harley up into the North Carolina mountains and to stay in a bed and breakfast on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Glade Valley Bed and Breakfast outside of Sparta, NC fit the bill, a gorgeous log cabin right off the Parkway, offering a quiet solitude that even included a dog to pet and a few cats roaming the broad porches. It was perfect for a long weekend of riding the Blue Ridge Parkway on the bike, just enjoying the blue sky and the gorgeous autumn leaves.
The threat of a stalled cold front reared its ugly head on our weekend away, bringing rain along with it. Rather than scrap our trip, we traded the motorcycle for the Jeep and drove up to Sparta on a gorgeous fall Thursday. With the t-tops out of the Jeep and the sky so blue, we couldn’t ask for anything more. Even Glade Valley was perfect. Jim and Margaret were the most wonderful hosts you can imagine, so friendly and kind. And at the risk of sounding like a giant commercial, Margaret can cook like nobody’s business. Breakfast was the kind of thing you expect to be served at a banquet in heaven. I kid you not. Margaret made French toast on the second morning… from bread she’d baked homemade the night before. There was quiche, pastries, homemade jams and jellies… I’d go back just to eat at Margaret’s table again! (Seriously, I plan to take a writing/prayer retreat up there one weekend when life allows.) The peace, the quiet… We sat on the porch with our coffee and looked out over the property and simply talked. There was no plan. There was just me, my husband, and a wide open weekend to explore wherever the road took us.
Then came the rain. And the fog. We drove the Parkway even though our view the whole way was of low hanging clouds and damp mist. We visited local artists. We stumbled upon the Blue Ridge Music Center and, being closet bluegrass music junkies, sat in on the Saturday jam session of banjos, fiddles, and guitars. Even better, we were blessed to be in town on Friday night when the shops threw open their doors and each hosted a local singer or band. We wandered from shop to shop, drinking coffee and listening to folk, bluegrass and a half-dozen other musical styles. It was one of those absolutely perfect date nights, even in the rain.
On Saturday, we found ourselves at a tiny little out-of-the-way woodworker’s shop. I’m here to tell you… Back in the day, my grandparents and my dad had a shop in the backyard where they built custom countertops, and the smell of fresh-cut wood takes me back to my childhood every time. I never wanted to leave that little woodworker’s shop in Sparta. I was so entranced with it that they took me and my husband on a tour of the place and showed us everything from their storage area to their saws and tools. I could have curled up in a corner and written a novel right there, I’m sure of it.
It. Was. Amazing.
The trip was so amazing that I decided to set a suspense series in a fictional small town called Mountain Springs, North Carolina, which was wholly based on Sparta. From the gorgeous brick downtown to the Friday night Music on Main, my little town grew from the seed that Sparta planted in my heart. Fatal Response (out now) is book one. Mistaken Twin (Coming in January) was even more fun to write because I got to create a character who had a shop right in the downtown area, one who is an artist herself, who moved to Sparta to create a new identity in large part because the area spoke to the creativity in her.
It had never been my plan to write a story set in the mountains. Being a beach girl, I figured that was the logical next step, to set a series on the coast. But nope. Sometimes, when you run away from home with your husband, you find just the right kind of magic—even when the weather tries to wreck your plans—to spark a story that has to be told.
About Jodie: Jodie Bailey writes novels about freedom and the heroes who fight for it. Her romantic suspense, Crossfire, won a 2015 RT Reviewers Choice Award and her contemporary romance, Quilted by Christmas won a 2014 Selah. She is convinced a camping trip to the beach with her family, a good cup of coffee, and a great book can cure all ills. Jodie lives in North Carolina with her husband, her daughter, and two dogs. Stop by and say hi at www.jodiebailey.com
About the book – Fatal Response: A killer knows his biggest secret…And is one step ahead. Someone’s targeting the families of soldiers in Sergeant Jason Barnes’s elite military unit, and Jason’s determined his secret ex-wife won’t become a victim. But with his heart still wounded, he refuses to risk falling for firefighter Erin Taylor again. As he puts his life on the line to guard her, though, he can’t keep his distance if he wants her to survive.
Can’t wait for the drawing? Get your copy now! Fatal-Response
Question: Have you ever had your plans go awry only to have God do something completely unexpected and even more amazing?
Come back Oct 5th for Darlene Franklin!