Welcome to the Blog Tour & Giveaway for Where I Was Planted by Heather Norman Smith & hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours! I am absolutely delighted to spotlight this book & host the author today – Where I Was Planted is one of my top reads for 2019!
Title: Where I Was Planted
Author: Heather Norman Smith
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Ambassador International
Release Date: July 16, 2019
In the spring of 1961, ten-year-old Nate “Weenie” Dooley has a revelation-his father is not a good one.
Inspired by National Geographic, his favorite thing next to the Bible storybook his mother gave him before she died, Nate plans to leave his father and their home in the Smokies to set out on an adventure.
When he discovers that his father has left him first, it will take the help of a stray dog, some kind neighbors, a one-man-band, letters from a long-lost-aunt, and a new understanding of God to figure out he isn’t really alone.
Will he find that Copper Creek is where he’s always belonged? Or will his wanderlust keep him from ever coming back?
In her second novel, Heather Norman Smith demonstrates that love makes a family, and that while fathers may leave, our Heavenly Father is faithful, and He has a plan for all of us.
Where I Was Planted is set in a fictional North Carolina town in the Great Smoky Mountains. My setting of Copper Creek is imagined to be in the area of Swain and Haywood Counties, and the book has significant references to the creation of both Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Fontana Dam—the tallest concrete dam east of the Rocky Mountains. The information I found was wildly fascinating, but much of it was also eye-opening and sad.
The national park was chartered in 1934 and opened in 1940. Unlike western parks, the over 500,000 acres of land was not already publicly owned, so it had to be purchased from individuals (and timber companies) parcel by parcel. Many of the mountain homesteaders were not happy about being forced to move, though some were granted lifetime leases to their homes.
Fontana Dam was built in the early 1940s by Tennessee Valley Authority, and it created hydroelectric power essential for aluminum production at the end of WWII and for providing energy to Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which produced atomic weapons. Sadly, building of the dam also meant 1,311 families, 1,047 graves, and over 60 miles of roads had to be relocated (source: Wikipedia.) Four towns were completely inundated: Fontana, Bushnell, Forney, and Judson. The town of Judson, which included a school, a post depot, a barber shop, and stores, and was home to 600 people, now lies beneath Fontana Lake, and sometimes when water levels are low, the tops of the old buildings can be seen.
Many family cemeteries were submerged beneath Fontana Lake as well, while others became inaccessible, cut off by the massive body of water. The government promised area residents a new road to reach the sacred areas on the north shore. However, the project was halted because of an environmental issue and never resumed. Seven miles down Lakeview Drive, the road abruptly ends at a tunnel, causing the section to be known as “The Road To Nowhere.” Still today, on weekends in the summer, the Park Service ferries groups across the lake to visit and maintain the graves of their ancestors.
The main character in my book, ten-year-old Nate, gets a lesson from his wise friend Dell, who uses the history of the region to encourage Nate to find the good in his difficult situation. This is consistent with the truth of Romans 8:28 that I try to incorporate into all my writing:
“It wasn’t very long ago, the government came in and bought up a lot of land near here, and they forced people out.”
I knew about the logging companies that had devastated the forests, but I hadn’t thought about it the way Dell talked. That wasn’t in the books I had read.
“And then after the park was made, when the hydroelectric dam was built and a whole town was flooded on account of it…well, people had to relocate, and some have relatives buried on land that was taken from them, and…well some of them are still pretty bitter.” He looked up at the sky as far as the bright sun would allow. “And I can’t say as I blame them. But what’s done is done. All that we can do now is focus on the good. Because there’s always some good. How these mountains and these forests will go on forever, and stay here for people to enjoy, because the trees can’t be cut down, and the mountain can’t ever be blasted anymore to make room for more buildings and roads. Not to mention how the power from that dam played a part in putting an end to the Second World War. That’s the good out of that, and we have to choose to focus the more on that part of it now.”
Heather Norman Smith is a Christian Fiction and devotions author. Her goal is to use the written word to entertain and encourage while illuminating the redemptive love of God. Heather is proud to be a life-long North Carolinian and aims to present the beauty of the Tar Heel State in her fiction. Her home is just outside Winston-Salem, NC, where she lives with her husband and their four children, two cats, two dogs, and some fish.
(2) winners will receive a paperback copy of Where I Was Planted by Heather Norman Smith!
Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule shown below. Giveaway will begin at midnight December 2, 2019 and last through 11:59 PM EST on December 9, 2019. US only. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize.
Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.
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What about you? What interests you most about Where I Was Planted and/or Heather Norman Smith’s posts about her research?