Donna Everhart

Here We Go! First Sentence Fridays!

Welcome to First Sentence Friday for THE ROAD TO BITTERSWEET!

When I set out to write this story, I knew I wanted it to take place in one of my favorite spots to visit, the Appalachian region of North Carolina.  This area is stunningly beautiful and it takes my breath whenever I stand at one of the many lookout areas and gaze over those bluish, smoky vistas.

This is an area rich and full of interesting material, not only from the history, but with regard to the lifestyle, customs, and the landscape.  I’m certain THE ROAD TO BITTERSWEET won’t be the last book I write using this rugged, beautiful place as my backdrop.

Speaking of the history there, there is a bit of historical fact in this story.  For instance, more than once, back to back hurricanes have swept over the western part of my state.  This happened in 1916, 1940 and more recently, in 2005.  You can imagine what that sort of weather can do in such an area as this.  As a writer, imagine how excited I was when I landed on that and thought, hm.  What if?

I also researched various other facts as I went along, from what was available (food products) to the way of life during that time, to clothing, and even the way a cabin is built.  During all of this, I read many times about the sturdy, strong people inhabiting the area, about those who settled there and the generations who came after.  They are a tough, hardy breed of people, and they had to be, as you will soon see.



Stampers Creek, North Carolina, 1940

Whenever I hear the birth stories Momma repeats on our special day, I can’t help but think of Laci, how she ended up.


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.  





19 thoughts on “Here We Go! First Sentence Fridays!”

  1. Thank you for for sharing the first sentence with us….now I really want to know about Laci, and how she ended up! I have loved reading about the Appalachias ever since I read the book Christy, which is probably my favorite book of all-time. I’m intrigued by the region partly because of its natural beauty, but mostly because of the people who live there, who must be resilient, strong, and clever.

    1. That’s what I was going for! 🙂 I absolutely love the Blue Ridge mountains. We were just there about two weeks ago. I never tire of it. We’ll be going back in Sept…and I can’t wait. Your last sentence – resilient, strong and clever describes my protagonist, Wallis Ann Stamper, to a “t.” She’s a survivor through and through.

      1. I’d love to visit that area some day! Definitely on my list of places to see! I love reading about characters like Wallis Ann!! My favorite stories lately have all been about people who are broken in some way, and watching them transform….kinda like a character named Dixie Dupree!!!

        1. You won’t want to leave, trust me. I’m all about the broken characters too – that, or I love putting them into situations of hardship/privation, which is what this story is about. Living in that region was no easy street. My post next Friday will reveal a bit of that. 🙂 Have you read the excerpt in Buzz Books?

          1. I haven’t read the excerpt yet, but I’ll go do that now. Have you read My Sweet Vidalia by Deborah Mantella? It takes place in rural Georgia, and is about a young battered, destitute mother, who is led and comforted by the spirit of a child she lost. It’s pretty incredible.

          2. I haven’t read that one. I’ll have to add it to my list, as it sounds like my kind of story – thanks for telling me about it.

          3. I think you’d enjoy it! Just read the, I’m blown away already and can’t wait to hear the rest! You put me right into the scene! Such vivid prose, describing the setting, the events, and the emotions!

          4. Thank you! I’m so glad – it’s a very different story, but like I told someone else, I still put them through hell. 🙂 Yay!

  2. Love the first words. They will pull your fans right in! I am from West Virginia and I understand your words! What a thrill it will be to read!

    1. Thank you, Karen! I hope everyone will love this story like DIXIE DUPREE, even thought it’s quite different!

  3. Everyone will like THE ROAD TO BITTERSWEET too, Donna! In fact, they are going to LOVE it!!! How do I know? I know you! 🙂 As for your first sentence, it’s super enticing. I can’t wait to read to read this book. <3 <3 <3

    1. Thank you, as always dear Lilac, for your encouraging words and support! I can’t wait for you, for EVERYONE to read it! At least we’ll have these next…27 weeks (!) to tide us over till it releases! 🙂 <3<3 <3

  4. In another lifetime, that might have been high school, those hazy, foggy, illicit days of high school, some friends and I used to gather our pissing it away money and go to Maggie Valley for Christmas. In those days there were only a few chalets in that valley and it was ripe with history.

    We rented one of those chalets from an expatriated Floridian who used it to escape the Florida summer. The first year was great and people actually talked to those strange kids in their funny clothes and long hair. Families had stayed there for centuries and knew every nook and cranny of the area’s history. It seemed odd to me, being the only person born in Arizona, except for my sister, who lived in Florida and who’s parents were from Minnesota and Westchester County New York.

    It is a remarkably beautiful area in both a natural way and a cultural way. You are lucky to live in an area with that kind of history.

    The second Christmas we went it snowed. It snowed a lot. We got snowed in for three weeks and ran out of too many things, not the least of which were patience and civility.

    1. Hi Craig! (yep, see, you can’t even slip in here incognito)

      Well, I think this is part of what makes NC so special. How wonderful it is to be book-ended by mountains and the ocean, right? I remember one of my first times experiencing the mountains when I was around 7 or 8. We were traveling up to Michigan, and what sticks out is remembering this road that was so curvy, we could see other cars above and below us. And a deep gorge. For a kid, it was thrilling and scary.

      It sounds like y’all had fun – well, except for that one time! And Maggie Valley is certainly one of the most gorgeous areas, but if I had to pick – impossible. When we go, we stay near an area close to Grandfather Mountain. (in Avery County) There’s something about coming to the crest in the highway, and capturing a first glimpse of those bluish hills in the distance. *shivers*

  5. Yay!! Looking forward to book #2 Donna. 🙂 What’s with the 12/26 release date? Boxing Day? Seems a bit odd. I’m sure it’ll be worth the wait. 😀

    1. Thanks, Colin! Yeah, well, release days are always on the last Tuesday of the month for Kensington – from what I gather. And sooooo, that happens to be the 26th! Here’s to hoping those who get gift cards will trot right out and BUY the book! 🙂

  6. Hey Miss Donna ~ I just found this email in the midst of about 7000 or so that I have not been checking!!! HA! I loved Dixie so very much ! ❤️?She I a little character who will always remain in my heart ! I am still fussing with this arm or you would see a lovely review. I did finally see a orthopedic doctor this past Monday . Humana never let people know that they dropped our state . We had know insurance companies. I finaly got Medicare. June 10 after all these months . The Doc gave me a shot in the shoulder. He said give it a week ! Almost has Been and no relief ! LOL! Homie you are well . Ihave been trying to keep up with your blog .
    They sure keep you busy ! Be careful and God Bless ….
    P. S. Have you see any of our favorite authors out and about? HA!

    1. Hey Dawn! You did good, Dawn – even in the midst of 7000 emails, this just posted yesterday! That’s terrible about your insurance. You must have had a cortisone shot – I had one of those too. They HURT, but then, sometimes, they do help.

      It has been really busy. Matter of fact, I’m up against several deadlines as we “speak.” One in five days – yikes. I haven’t seen anyone out and about – haha. Don’t I wish! Take care – hope all is well in that lovely state of yours!

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