From the moment I laid eyes on North Carolina’s Hickory Nut George back in 2002, I was intrigued. The craggy cliffs towering 400 feet above on each side and the rapid river dancing over and around the rocks and boulders those mountains had tossed in, infused me with the wonder of this uniquely beautiful and mysterious place carved into the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains. As I leisurely drove east on the road from Asheville that wove up, down, and around, I never dreamed that in a couple of hours I would be buying my piece of these mountains in the little tourist town of Chimney Rock as a summer cottage. Soon, something about this place and the people who inhabited it lured me away from my career in real estate in Pawleys Island, SC, and plunged me into researching its history and writing 7 historical fiction novels about it.
I hope my stories, wrapped in the area’s history, will let you get to know and love the characters that made this history—from seven-year-old Lula Mae McQuade, in Falling Off a Cliff, who in the 1920s, hugged a doctor woman as they rode horseback all over the Chimney Rock Ridge to nurse the sick, to the flamboyant Chimney Rock storekeeper, Dinah Haydock, in Dancing on Rocks, who in the 1960s, still relives her family’s glorious past when her great-grandfather scooped up 100 acres on both sides of the Rocky Broad River and carved out the town of Chimney Rock in 1838. I know you’ll love all the men and women in Catching Fire who fought the Party Rock Fire of 2016. I used their real names because these heroes deserve to go down in history. In the back of the book, I listed the 225 NC fire companies that came from 56 of NC’s 100 counties to defend Chimney Rock, Lake Lure, and Bat Cave. Every time I read through this list, I can’t help but get tears in my eyes. There are dozens more remarkable characters (to love and to hate) that people my Blue Ridge Series and I do hope you get to meet them all.