First Sentence Fridays! CHAPTER TEN

While writing this book, I had to dig deep to try and picture living in a situation where you have access to…not much.  Food for instance.  In the Stamper’s situation, other than what they could grow, hunt, and kill or scavenge, this was the only way to eat.  I don’t know about you, but when I get hungry, I get a tad irritable.  How convenient to go grab a bag of chips, and satisfy that hunger, right?

What was required on the part of individuals who lived in the region in the early 20th century was an awareness life there would never be easy, even under the best of conditions, but it was their home, and all they knew.  This sentence, as noted on the book’s flap copy says it just right: For fourteen-year-old Wallis Ann Stamper and her family, life in the Appalachian Mountains is simple and satisfying, though not for the tenderhearted.

If there is one thing I learned as I went along, it’s that the individuals who inhabited this place, the ones who lived and thrived there, were rugged and hardy, certainly not tenderhearted except perhaps with regard to their love for one another.  They had to be tough in order to survive harsh and inhospitable conditions, and this was when they had a roof over their heads, food stored, and clothing made.  Scattered among the hills and hollers, families, whose work ethics, capacity for generosity, and pure tenaciousness resulted in a life that was fulfilling, but it was never, ever without its trials.   

CHAPTER TEN

Our deprivation has turned into a grinding hunger hard to ignore.

 

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

  • lilacshoshanwp

    August 18, 2017

    Reply

    Such an excellent post, Donna! With your immense writing talent, people will get a glimpse into what real hunger feels like. I couldn’t wait to read today’s sentence after the teaser you left me in your comment last week. And what a powerful first sentence it is! <3 <3 <3

  • Donna Everhart

    August 18, 2017

    Reply

    I hope so, but then they can get that bag of chips if I’ve done my job well! 😉 Thank you as always for your encouraging words…! <3 <3 <3

  • John Davis Frain

    August 20, 2017

    Reply

    First Sentence Fridays! I loved these so much with Dixie Dupree. It was always fun recognizing a sentence when I read the book. So glad to get back to these. I’ve been–as you like to say–head down, editing for the past six years. Sorry, it only feels like six years. Apparently, it’s been less than that.

    At least you’re only on chapter 10. I can make up nine sentences in zip time flat. Meet me at chapter 1 will ya!

    Oh, I’m rubbing my hands together. This is gonna be fun again. First, the appetizer of first sentences. Then, the main course when Bittersweet hits the news stands. And I get to say to the woman at A Novel Neighbor, “Yes, you can help. I’m looking for the newest book from my friend, Donna Everhart. It’s the follow-up to The Education of Dixie Dupree … oh”–and here I snap my fingers a couple times even though I know the answer–“oh what’s the title of the new one…?”

    “I can look it up,” she’ll offer. And then it registers in her mind better. Right? I have so many life theories that if only half of them work, you’ll still be better off, Donna. So don’t worry if this one doesn’t pay off. Because when she finds it and utters the first syllable, I get to shout out, “Road to Bittersweet, yes yes yes!” And then the six other patrons in the store look around and think … hmm, that sounds like a cool title. Soon as the weird guy leaves, I’ll ask her about it.

    Then, only because there’s still that ONE PERSON who doesn’t catch on, when I bump into the lady in the yellow frock and drop my book on my way out and apologize profusely (but conveniently forget to pick up your book), I’ll be halfway out the door as she’s calling to me … “Sir, sir, you dropped, um, ‘The Road to Bittersweet.'” Must be an omen, I’ll tell her.

    Score!

    • Donna Everhart

      August 20, 2017

      Reply

      Yay! I knew I’d do these again b/c everyone did seem to like it last year, but, why am I hearing “bwahahahaha” at this master plan? Oh. That was me. *snort* I love it! You’re hired! Matter of fact, just go on and fill your tank up and plan to visit all the major bookstores in your region and put that into play. 😉 What will be even better is if she’s like “THE ROAD TO BITTERSWEET? I’m afraid I’m not carrying it…” and then you say “WHAT????” (loaded up with incredulity) and, “But, it’s a Fall/Winter BUZZ BOOK! And a SIBA Trio 2018 Selection! Pam Tillis will be the singer/songwriter! Cyndi Hoelzle (Radney Foster’s wife – look him up, bet you’ll recognize his songs) is the artist!!! How can you NOT have it???”

      That a plan? Yep, that’s a plan. We’ll worry about the sandwich board later.

  • Craig

    August 21, 2017

    Reply

    Chips? In RC Cola and a MoonPie country? For shame.

    I have had to learn a lot about deprivation over the years. If you get hungry enough you can’t sleep and it all goes to hell in a hurry. It is hard to remember that 20 years ago cell phones weren’t and when you left home you left behind all connections to data and information.

    When I was in high school weather came on television three times a day, so when the high school Psychology teacher asked some of her problem children on a canoe trip no one checked it. The day was cloudy as we drove to her property three lefts and a couple of miles past downtown nowhere. We camped for the night and had a light drizzle when we put in. Her husband took the truck to the pickup point.

    Less than an hour into the six hour trip the skies opened. Later we found out that Subtropical Storm One and some unnamed tropical depression joined forces. 20 inches of rain fell over two days. The river flooded its banks in about an hour and a half. The other two canoes were out of control so teach and I could only follow. It took five days to find a vestige of civilization but we all made it.

    • Donna Everhart

      August 22, 2017

      Reply

      Holy crapola Craig! That had to have made the news. Teacher and missing students, lost for five days. Geez. So, it sounds like y’all walked out? The search teams (there had to be search teams!) didn’t find you – you found yourselves…?

      What’s funny is how you say, “the psychology teacher asked some of her “problem” children on a canoe trip – and you were on that trip. You couldn’t have been a problem – no way! 😉 Now that would be a story to write about.

      Moonpies and RC colas. Yes, I have had a plenty of those – and Cheerwine too. As I got older my tastes have changed. Yet…I now seem to be having a craving for a Moonpie, which is really just a glorified S’more.

      • Craig

        August 22, 2017

        Reply

        There wasn’t much that could be done on the search and rescue front. It was 1974 and the logistics weren’t there. No power boat could go up the narrow branch of the river we were supposed to be on. There were many others who needed help, were in places that were accessible and stressing the resources available. Deputies looked for canoes from bridges and such but we had lost the course of the river, that was why we were so long in the wilderness. I still can’t eat sashimi.

  • Craig

    August 22, 2017

    Reply

    Oh, Graham crackers were considered health food when they came out.


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