Cool Gus Book of the Week: Note by Note by Janice Maynard

Welcome Janice Maynard to the House!


Thanks to Bob and Jen at Cool Gus for the invitation to “hang out” with all of you today! I’m sitting here in my little corner of East Tennessee waiting for the temps to drop and the leaves to change. Yes, I’m one of those people. J I love sweaters, what can I say??

Note by NoteMy husband and I live in the foothills of the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains. I had a feeling that sooner or later I would set a book here. Note By Note is the result. If you’re familiar with the area at all, you’ll probably recognize Statlerville as Sevierville, Tennessee. The names have been changed to protect the innocent. Ha…

 Statlerville is a fictional community like many small rural communities. The original downtown of the real Sevierville is anchored by a brick courthouse. The surrounding square is home to a number of shops and restaurants. On the lawn of the courthouse, you’ll find a statue of Dolly Parton, Sevierville’s most famous citizen, playing her guitar.

It’s not uncommon for a large bus to pull up and offload a group of tourists who want to take advantage of the photo op. It’s funny and kind of sweet to see men in their eighties giggling like school boys as they pose beside the statue with their hands on one of Dolly’s assets.

As an important aside, Dolly is phenomenally generous. Her foundation has provided all sorts of benefits to schools in the area. Her most famous project is the Imagination Library. Parents of a newborn can sign up their baby and begin receiving a book a month until the child is five. If you do the math, that 60 books! Not a bad way to introduce a little one to the joy of reading.

One other interesting thing about Sevierville is that you’ll find a core of natives who have grown up together. That was the theme I wanted to pursue in Note by Note. The hero and heroine have literally known each other since grade school. Their friendship has ebbed and flowed over the years. The heroine now has a romantic interest in the hero, but how can she tell him? What if he’s appalled? Or embarrassed?

On the one hand, similar backgrounds and shared interests can make for a solid relationship. But only if both parties feel the same spark. This struggle is “real”, because the hero and heroine have seen each other at their best and worst.

Small-town living has its good and bad. People tend to meddle in your business. Keeping a new relationship private is virtually impossible. But in a crisis, those same busybodies will come out of the woodwork to help you when your barn burns down or your house is flooded.

My husband and I don’t actually live in Sevierville. But we know it well. If you’re a resident, you’ll find yourself welcoming the hordes of tourists coming to see the area. Great Smoky Mountains National Park has an annual visitation of over 10 million! That’s more than any other park in the entire country.

As I write this blog, I realize that today (August 25th) is the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. For our family, the parks really are a national treasure. Haven’t made it to all of them, but we’re making progress.

I enjoy writing contemporary stories about interesting characters in unique settings. I had a reader tell me once that she would like to be friends with my characters. I took that as a high compliment.

If you have a chance to read Note by Note, I hope you’ll enjoy getting to know Ethan and Jane. And if you haven’t visited eastern Tennessee, I predict you’ll be intrigued by these mountains that the native people called the Land of Blue Smoke.

Thanks for stopping by. As we say here in Tennessee, Happy Fall, Y’all…

Janice Maynard

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  1. Great post. I never understood the attraction of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I’d been to Rocky Mountain N.P. and thought nothing can beat that. Then we visited Smoky Mt. Wow. While it doesn’t have the massive snow-covered peaks, it has vistas that are magnificent in their own way. Fall is fantastic. Love stories set in small towns. I’m going to check out your book.

  2. My husband and I lived in both Eastern Kentucky and then later in Eastern Tennessee. LOVE the area, just spectacular. Now here in Texas, I miss the mountains, and the green. I enjoyed learning more about you, Janice!

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