First Sentence Friday!

Years ago, my husband to be and I went on a hike in Doughton Park.  If you click on the link you’ll see a list of trails for the some thirty miles one can wander through, and never get lost.  (see what I did there?)  In our day backpacks we had bags of trail mix, some beef jerky, and water.  Based on what we’d mapped out, it would be around 15 miles total. As a sort of reward that would come about 2/3’s of the way through, we tied a couple bottles of “Yoohoo” together and set them down in a slower moving section of Basin Creek running alongside Basin Creek trail.  The stream was chilly enough to keep them cool until we made it back to that point, and we’d certainly need the energy because the last bit was mostly uphill.

While writing BITTERSWEET I often thought about the cabin we hiked to that day, called the Caudill Cabin.  It’s one of the only surviving structures still standing after the historic 1916 flood in the Basin Cove area.  The top collection of photos are only a few of the ones we took on that hike.  You can see what I mean about the vistas (from the first post last week) in the top two.  That’s Basin Creek in the lower left hand corner where our yummy Yoohoo drinks were chilling, and that is the Caudill cabin in the lower right hand corner.  If you look close, you can just see me sitting in the doorway.  The purple ball cap gives me away – barely.  You can get a perspective of how steep the hill is where the cabin was built, as it was my husband who took the picture (the one with me in it), and he’s not standing all that far away.

CLICK TO ENLARGE

Below are two photos that put the cabin and surrounding area into perspective.  (courtesy of the Caudill Cabin website)

 

See that little clearing in the trees?  That’s where it is.  Look around.  There’s nothing.  It’s very REMOTE, even today.  Imagine living here.  Imagine having to grow and kill everything you needed in order to eat.  Imagine the cold during winter.  I read that the closest town was called Absher, eight miles away.  There are/were NO ROADS to the cabin.  You had to hike in then, and you have to hike in today.  It’s mind boggling to know that a husband, wife and fourteen (!!!) children lived in this tiny structure, only leaving after the devastating flood of 1916 wiped out everything around them.  What a testament in fortitude, perseverance and courage.

Which is everything my story is about.

CHAPTER TWO

Laci fell asleep immediately while I listened to the rain hit the hand-split oak shingles over our heads.

A Publishers Lunch BUZZ BOOK Fall/Winter 2017, and a SIBA (Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance) Trio Pick for 2018, THE ROAD TO BITTERSWEET releases December 26th, 2017.  

***I’m using #FirstSentenceFridays on Twitter and tagging @Kensington Publishing Corporation.  Follow along and tweet out/share if you’d like!***

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COMMENTS

  • Susan Peterson

    June 23, 2017

    Reply

    Oh that cabin and those pictures!! What a stunning, remote location…I can’t even imagine anyone living there, let alone a family with 14 children! They would have to have been made of stronger stuff than me…
    I can’t wait to read more about the people in your story, about their own resiliency and courage!

    • Donna Everhart

      June 23, 2017

      Reply

      Thank you, Susan! The thing is, that’s sixteen people in that little space. I was trying to remember how big it was inside, (not very) and one thing I DO recall is I had to duck to get inside, and then once there, on each side were two “lofts.” I say “lofts” with quotes b/c they were literally one to the left of the door and one to the right and about head high. I could picture the children lines up like corncobs…to sleep.

      • Susan Peterson

        June 23, 2017

        Reply

        That’s incredible. I can just picture all those kids as you described them. I wonder where all those kids ended up as adults? I hope they’d been taught to read by one of their parents…although I don’t imagine there were many books in that cabin…maybe a bible. Fascinating!

  • Mandy Mikulencak

    June 23, 2017

    Reply

    WOW! What a visual. It’s amazing to see the images that inspired your story.

    • Donna Everhart

      June 23, 2017

      Reply

      Funny thing Mandy, it was only when I began to think about these posts that I remembered the hike to Caudill Cabin. I DIDN’T remember it was part of the 1916 flood, which my protagonist’s mother, and a few others were involved in…it was almost like a head slap (V-8 moment) when I re-discovered this. I knew the cabin had been in a flood, just not the 1916 one! That said, yes, this area is SO rich with history, trials, tribulations, etc, how could one not write a story here?

  • lilacshoshanwp

    June 23, 2017

    Reply

    I LOVE when you tell us about your own experiences as you give us a glimpse into your novels via your First Sentence Friday. You tell stories in such an intriguing way that the readers become hooked and emotionally invested right away. I, for one, want to read the entire novel NOW! Of course, I’ll have to wait, but you’re just that good! Did I say good? I meant excellent! <3 <3 <3

    • Donna Everhart

      June 23, 2017

      Reply

      Thank you, Lilac! You’re so kind…I don’t know that I’ll have a personal experience to relay with each one to follow (boy, don’t I wish, because I truly love this part of my state) but, I think there will still be some more posts like this one! <3 <3 <3

  • Craig

    June 24, 2017

    Reply

    I had to go to the Carolinas after a flood once. I was in the environmental business and had to test for contamination from pig and turkey farms that had been washed out and down the mountainside.

    I’ll stick with the flooding of almost flat ole Florida, thank you. I can deal with it here. Up in the mountains is way beyond my nightmares.

    Sounds like you are going to get to the meat of it early this time. Only chapter two and the rain has started already. Congrats.

    • Donna Everhart

      June 25, 2017

      Reply

      I have to say, flooding in any area is scary. In one, the water can clear land like an excavator, taking trees, houses, and whatever else it wants to pick up, while on the other hand, it rises like in a bathtub, then sits for days like the drain is clogged, growing stagnant.

      The meat in DIXIE DUPREE was served up like a six course meal. This one might be a twelve. But yes, you’ll see by this coming Friday, things have certainly gotten started.

  • MA Hudson

    June 25, 2017

    Reply

    It’s only because I read The Yearling recently that I can in any way imagine how hard it would be to live somewhere so remote. And this cabin is even more isolated. Sheesh, every waking minute would be taken up with planning the next meal, stocking up on firewood, making and mending clothes, rationing or concocting medicine…. Pretty stressy existence. Beautiful, inspiring, but darned hard work.

    • Donna Everhart

      June 26, 2017

      Reply

      It’s been a long, long time since I read THE YEARLING. It was the first book to make me cry. I think I was eleven. But yes! That’s it, that was their existence, simply getting through day by day ensuring needs were met. There were moments of ease, like going to church, or Saturday night dances, etc., or various celebrations where people in the community (even if MILES) apart would come together and enjoy fellowship, but other than that…yeah. Darned hard work sums it up perfectly!

  • Eldonna Edwards

    July 12, 2017

    Reply

    What a gorgeous landscape! I wouldn’t mind living in a remote cabin right now although not with fifteen other people, thank you very much. I love the lush rolling green of the surrounding area. And another great sentence that brings the reader under the rainsplotting roof with those girls. Looking forward to all the sentences that follow.

    • Donna Everhart

      July 12, 2017

      Reply

      It’s my slice of heaven! One of my favorite places to go = anywhere in the NC mountains. It’s my hope, that one day, we can have a home there too. I’m not into the cold, and some areas can get a lot of rain, but still! It takes my breathe every time we round a corner and scenery like this is displayed, like a huge oil painting. It IS gorgeous.


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