My favorite place in the world has always been the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. I grew up in Louisiana, but my maternal grandparents lived in Hendersonville, NC, and that's where we spent our summers. They had an amazing homestead, about 40 acres of beautiful, rolling farmland with two ponds, lots of trees, and pastures for their horses. Their home sat at the highest point on the property, and from there they had a perfect view of the mountaintops in the distance, including Mt. Pisgah. It wasn't just their place that was great; they were awesome too, simply the best grandparents a kid could ask for.
Fast forward many years, the farm was eventually sold off, the house torn down by the new owners, a bigger fancier house built in its place. We were, of course, so sad to see it go. But I'm happy to say it lives on--in print, at least.
How? Well, that's today's Insider Info: Because I snuck it into A Dime a Dozen. Here's the passage, from the very last chapter of the book:
I didn't know what our destination would be, but finally we slowed and turned into a driveway of shells, crunching along as we pulled through overgrown trees and up a gentle incline. It looked like a farm of sorts. We drove along a white wooden split rail fence, passing a small pond with two ducks floating on the surface. As we climbed, the driveway curved to the right, and up ahead I could see a house lined on one side with giant picture windows. The leaves on a weeping willow tree blue gently in the breeze next to a stone terrace...
A few paragraphs later, once the characters are inside the living room, gazing through the picture windows:
From there we looked out over a long, sweeping lawn, the pond down below, and more mountains visible in the distance. In a side pasture, I spotted several horses grazing among giant oak trees. Tom gave me a tour of the elegantly furnished home, taking me full circle through the entire place and ending on the terrace outside.
The story goes on from there, but you get the idea. Readers often ask if I put real people into my books. My response is, "No, but I do put real buildings sometimes." Guess that's the power of words, that they can keep such a wonderful place alive forever, even if only in the imagination.
|3-year-old Mindy with Grandpa Dickerson in 1963|
|A friend of my brother's, on a swing built by my grandfather. Note the grape arbor in the lower right, also built by him. Grandpa could make anything!|
|Mindy at 15 on Sue, our favorite horse|
|Grandma Dickerson peeking out from behind my mom, down by the pond|
So how about you? If you were a writer, is there some place from your past you might memorialize in a story?