Monday, November 9, 2015

Places that Call the Heart

I love to travel!! And I’ve been more places than I can list through the pages of books. Now, as a writer, I have the wonderful opportunity of taking other readers to new places, both fictional and real, but there are some very special places that I MUST introduce to readers. 

Places that call my heart to linger. 

And places I hope inspire a little lingering in the readers too :-)

Since The Alleycats have a little theme about the "places" going on right now, I thought I’d share some of mine.

Those of you who know me realize this might be an eclectic list. Because I write both historical and contemporary romances, I have a tendency to ‘travel’ to many places in my imagination, but the top TWO places you’ll find within most of my stories are the Blue Ridge Mountains and England.

Dahlogena, GA
Small towns are dear to my heart. I grew up in the country, but shopped and worked in small towns within the Blue Ridge Mountains. Quaint Main Streets, tree-lined lanes, niche-shops, and many other unique features make up small towns and provide fantastic inspiration for stories. They truly are places where the lonliest stranger can find a sense of belonging among the predictability and simplicity. 

And many times, that's what I like to bring out in my novels...the sense of 'finding home'. 

The Blue Ridge Mountains call my heart, and are such a part of not only MY history, but my family’s history for generations. Some of the historical novels I’ve written or plan to write are based on tales told by my grandmother or stories I’ve discovered in the diaries of some of my ancestors. So…of COURSE the mountains are featured in many of my novels. They are almost like characters themselves J

My fictional town, Ransom, VA, is based a lot on the real town of Wytheville in southwestern Virginia with a little bit of Dahlogena, GA sprinkled in. But I don’t only use fictional places. 

My contemporary WIP takes place in the lovely town of Hendersonville, NC only a few miles from where I live now.  In my historical romances, my characters come from Asheville and Hot Springs, NC – true and beautiful places in the western mountains of North Carolina.

Haddon Hall
My second ‘love’ place is England. Lots of my ancestors came from the UK, so I blame genetic memory for my fascination with the beautiful countries of England, Ireland, Wales, and Scotland. 

In both my contemporaries and historicals, I have a tendency to let my characters travel across The Pond from one set of beautiful countryside to another. In my World War 1 era series, The Penned in Time series, I take readers between NC and a fictional town called Ednesbury, Derbyshire, UK.

And since I have a big enough love for England, and England’s quite big enough to handle more than one genre of my stories, I also have some of my contemporary
romances that take place partially in England – usually Derbyshire because I’ve actually VISITED that part of England.

Here are only a few pics from that part of the world. Haddon Hall, the amazingly, well-preserved stone manor house, is my ‘model’ for Lornegrave Hall in my contemp romance, Just the Way You Are. I also used real houses from the UK as models for the homes I write about in my stories. It’s so much fun to go onto realty sites in the UK and look at houses J

So, does your heart call you to places in books? Do you keep returning to certain stories because of the places to which they take you?


Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is the mom of 5 great kids, speech-pathologist, lover of chocolate, jazz, and Jesus, and proud AlleyCat over at a group writing blog, The Writer’s Alley. Her debut historical romance novel, The Thorn Bearer, released in May 2015, with the second arriving in February 2016. Her first contemporary romance debuts in spring 2016. You can connect with Pepper on her website at, Facebook- or Twitter at


Anonymous said...

I so need to visit and explore the Blue Ridge mountains soon! =D I am in love with the Alleghenies, parts of the Cumberland Valley...aaaand that's all I've seen. LOL Chambersburg and Gettysburg are my top favorites and I have photos of both tacked up on my wall for inspiration and setting and, thanks to a huge fire in 1864, I have a small booklet all about Chambersburg prior to the fire & the aftermath of it. Research is my favorite part of writing historical fiction--for places, history, setting, all of it. So much so though I sometimes don't feel like I could give a place like Chambersburg or Gettysburg justice!

Mary Vee Writer said...

Lovely places, Pepper. Thanks for taking us there today!.