|The ceiling of the Hermitage Hotel, Nashville|
(photo by Nashpaul)
Cleveland native Anita DeVito writes fast-paced, sexy thrillers. Today she joins us to talk about how a trip to Nashville and Lynchburg, TN influenced her writing. Learn more about her and her books at her website.
Sometimes, my heart beats a little faster. Sometimes, the hair on the back of my neck stands on end. Sometimes, my feet dance. Sometimes, I cry.
Places have always captured my imagination and can bring a swell of emotions that I can’t quite explain. These can be singular places—a cemetery, a bridge, the curve of a brook, a century old building—or a bigger collective—Pittsburgh, Gettysburg, Detroit, Cleveland, the French Quarter.
The first time I went to Nashville, something tickled my soul. My first impression came from the hotel where I attended a conference. Beneath the rather stoic façade, The Hermitage Hotel stood as a testament to artistry and time. Much like my leading lady Kate Riley did in my debut novel Lost in Tennessee, I sat on the well-appointed furnishings of the main lobby and simply looked. The vintage work of an era gone played on two levels. Taken as a whole, it created a tasteful, colorful tapestry that invoked respect. But when you looked at it as individual pieces—really looked at the detail of each individual element of the walls, the doorways, the furniture—you saw the individuality and craftsmanship that invoked awe. How much time it must have taken. How much skill.
Out in the streets, music rolled from bars and venues, silky tendrils reaching out to like hearts beckoning them in. Poignant voices sang of the struggles, worries and joys of the common experience called life. Magic fingers worked strings of steel and nylon. Sticks of maple and oak tapped out the tempo of life. Amidst the sexy side of Nashville, were snapshots of folks that worked their butts off to stay above water—musicians and performers that hadn’t yet made it inside the bars for paying gigs—and those that revelers looked over as they found the next good time. Life occurs across a spectrum. Having it all laid out is what made Nashville a place worth writing about.
I went back to Nashville, taking my husband for a long weekend. On our itinerary was Lynchburg, Tennessee, home to Jack Daniels Distillery. My husband has been loyal to Jack since the beginning, so the drive through the country roads was a visit to an old friend. I don’t know what I thought the distillery would be…but amazing was not among my top ten. If you are into sustainability, go to Jack Daniels. If you want to see what it means to take pride in your work, your work place, your town, go to Lynchburg.
My leading man, Butch McCormick, and his family have a farm outside a fictional small town near Nashville. That town was patterned after Lynchburg. The town square and the friendly people are all very real. The simple restaurant with a welcoming waitress and classic dishes made with love are real. The town gazebo is real…although I did embellish with the carving of lovers initials. It was easy to write about a setting as vivid and endearing as Lynchburg.
I’m a city girl from Cleveland, Ohio who was touched by the energy of these places. I worked to capture a little of the energy and share it with my readers so that their souls may be tickled, too.
Lost In Tennessee
Sometimes a man finds trouble...and sometimes it comes looking for him...
Heartache makes for good country music. It's what country superstar Butch McCormick keeps telling himself. How else could he reconcile another failed marriage, and more disappointment? Then Kate Riley appears out of nowhere with red hair and a peaches-and-cream complexion...and just so damned lost. But the longer Kate stays at Elderberry Farm, the stranger things get. For one, there's the crazy chemistry between her and Butch. For another, dead bodies are starting to turn up...and Kate might be the murderer's next victim.