Seekerville: The Journey Continues


Seekerville: The Journey Continues

Real Life In Fiction

Real Life In Fiction
Some books are more intimate than others. Do you know what I mean?

Some can hit close to your own heart struggles or your own dreams. Some we've struggled with for so long, the very idea that they'd made it into print feels like a miracle. And then, there are the ones that are drawn from places and people dearest to you.

The Heart of the Mountain, my 18th published book, releases on July 1st and it carries at bit of that latter reason. Based on family history and the culture of my native Blue Ridge Mountains, this story brings to life the struggles, suspicions, beliefs, hopes, and connectivity endemic of so many spots within Appalachia. Two characters are actually based on family members of mine: my great grandpa and one of my great great aunts. 

In Appalachia, oral storytelling is a BIG part of the culture. I learned dozens of family history stories from my Granny Spencer, who, though she wasn't very skilled at writing, could spin remarkable tales that seemed much too fictional to be true. Her own life would make a remarkable "overcomer" story, but, maybe, that's for another tale.

Real-life can definitely be crazier than fiction, but it can also be a catalyst for fictional stories. 

How often have you seen a news story or read a historical event, and it immediately inspired a book idea? My debut novel, The Thornbearer, was a mixture of a personal story mixed with a historical event t hat fascinated me. I paired the two because the external chaos of World War I/Sinking of the Lusitania paired well with the internal chaos in my heroine.  

So I want to hear from you! How has some real event or personal story inspired your writing? 

If you're a reader, do you enjoy finding out the behind-the-scenes reasons for why an author writes the books that  they do?

Real Life In Fiction
Granny "Rat"
Two last things:

1. I'm giving away a paper copy to one lucky commenter. (U.S. entries only).

2. SPOILER ALERT: below is the behind the scenes TRUE story for The Heart of the Mountains :)

Sam McAdams’ story was inspired by the family history of my great grandfather, Papa Surratt (“Papa Rat”). His true story is much more poignant and beautiful than any fiction could portray, but the heart of his comparison to his fictional counterpart is real. After years and years of prayers from his family, God found my great grandpa, a long time alcoholic, and rescued his heart in a most unexpected way. The small bit you hear about Sam’s childhood in this tale reflects some of the true pieces of Papa Rat’s story. He lost his mother when he was young, his father left him to fend for himself when he was about eight, and when he was eleven, he ran away from the mean-hearted farmer who’d taken Papa in after Papa had been abandoned. At eleven, he took the fifteen-mile trek to Mt. Airy, NC, started work in a furniture factory, and, eventually, met and married Kate (a cousin to Andy Griffith, btw). The two lived in town until Papa Rat’s drinking became so bad that they had to move deeper into the mountains. Years passed. Dangerous winters passed. The children grew up in a world where they lived for their daddy’s “good days” and survived the unpredictable dark ones. The quote Caroline McAdams says to Sam related to “if you hit me, you’d better kill me, or I’m gonna get up and kill you”, was straight from my Granny Rat’s mouth. She was a small woman, but strong. Almost anyone who talks about her describes her as “lady”, who held a gentle spirit and was an excellent storyteller.

One day, on a drive home from Mt. Airy after work, the Holy Spirit fell on Papa Rat so hard that he pulled the car over on the side of the road, ran out into a field, and gave his heart to Jesus. He was a changed man after that and never drank alcohol again.

When Granny Rat passed away unexpectedly from an aneurism, Papa Rat (the burly, mountain man that he was), mourned her loss so hard that four months later, he died of a massive heart attack. The doctor said that he really died “of a broken heart” for the woman who’d loved him long, even when he wasn’t a very loveable man.

Real Life In Fiction
Old family cabin
I’m not condoning a partner staying with someone who isn’t safe, but I am celebrating the fact that story God is writing on the hearts of men and women is much bigger and greater than one we can imagine.

Suzie McAdams is based on my granny’s sister, Shirley. Unfortunately, in real life, Shirley died from croup, but, in the magic of fiction, I was able to keep the little girl from the same fate. The family story of how folks in the mountains dealt with croup and the painful effects of a mama struggling through the exhaustion and heartache of watching her little girl die, haunted me as I wrote those scenes. So…I’m glad I got to give Suzie a different fate.

I loved getting to take inspiration from these true stories and incorporate it into this fictional one. Someday, I hope to bring the remarkable tale of Kizzie to the pages of a book. It is my favorite family history story, and…probably the most unbelievable.

God’s thread of redemption weaves and spins through generations and each story within His bigger story has a tremendous way of showing God’s unique handiwork. I’m so grateful I had the chance to hear this story and know that the same God who rescued my great grandparents, loved me enough to rescue me too.


Real Life In Fiction

Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance “peppered” with grace and humor. Writing both historical and contemporary novels, she loves to incorporate her native Appalachian culture and/or her unabashed adoration of the UK into her stories. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is the wife of a fantastic pastor, mom of five great kids, a speech-language pathologist, and a lover of chocolate, jazz, hats, and Jesus. Her nineteenth novel, Authentically Izzy, debuts in November with Thomas Nelson. She loves connecting with readers and other authors through social media outlets like Facebook &

You can learn more about Pepper and her books on her website at

Sunday Scripture & Prayer Requests

Sunday Scripture & Prayer Requests
Brooklyn Museum - Jesus Discourses with His Disciples
(Jésus s'entretient avec ses disciples) - James Tissot. [PD-US]

When the days for Jesus’ being taken up were fulfilled,
he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem,
and he sent messengers ahead of him.
On the way they entered a Samaritan village
to prepare for his reception there,
but they would not welcome him
because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem.
When the disciples James and John saw this they asked,
“Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven
to consume them?”
Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village.

As they were proceeding on their journey someone said to him,
“I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus answered him,
“Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests,
but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”

And to another he said, “Follow me.”
But he replied, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.”
But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead.
But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
And another said, “I will follow you, Lord,
but first let me say farewell to my family at home.”
To him Jesus said, “No one who sets a hand to the plow
and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Luke 9:51-62

 The Seekerville bloggers are praying for YOU and for our entire blog community. If you have any special intentions that need additional prayer coverage, leave a request for prayer in the comment section below. 

Please join us in praying for our country and for an end to the problems that plague us at this current time, such as the rising cost of fuel and food, and the shortages of necessary items, especially baby formula.

Together, let's pray we can, once again, become a prosperous and productive nation. Also, please join us in praying for the protection of our military and for law enforcement officers and border agents.   


We are so grateful for all of you—for your friendship and your support! 

May the Lord bless you and keep you safe. 


Weekend Edition

Weekend Edition

Weekend Edition

If you are not familiar with our giveaway rules, take a minute to read them here. It keeps us all happy! All winners should send their name, address, and phone number to claim prizes.  Please send to If the winner does not contact us within two weeks, another winner may be selected.

Monday: Jan brought us a post about weasel words and how revisions help us make them stronger. The winner of an e-book copy of The Sign of the Calico Quartz is Michelle Gregory!

Tuesday: Pepper brought us a fresh new look at Meet Cutes, great examples, and lots of good back and forth in the comments.

Wednesday: Cate made us think with her post about "Who Makes the Meaning in a Book?"

Thursday: Pam shared more tips on trimming and weeding our newsletter subscribers to encourage healthy growth!

Weekend Edition

Monday:  Erica is our hostess on Monday. Erica always brings great discussions to the table. Can't wait to see what she shares with Seekerville.

Wednesday:  Surprise!!
Friday:  Let's welcome a first time guest on Seekerville, bestselling author, Sandra Byrd. Be sure to stop by and greet Sandra, and enter for a chance to win a copy of her upcoming release, Heirlooms.

Weekend Edition

Giveaway on Goodreads, it's going on RIGHT NOW!
Inventions of the Heart

Weekend Edition

Weekend Edition

Disclaimer: Any blog post that includes an offer of product purchase or service is NOT to be considered an endorsement by Seekerville or any of our authors (please see our Legal page )

Understanding the New Normal World of a Story's Resolution by KM Weiland at Helping Writers Become Authors

Plotters vs Pantsers: Do We Have to Choose? by Beth Vogt at Learn How To Write a Novel

To Comma, or Not to Comma by Lori Freeland at Writers In The Storm

Creating a Flexible and Productive Author Life by Hannah Bauman at Between The Lines Editorial

Amazon Ads: Step-by-Step Walk Through for Beginning Authors by Jane Friedman

How to Quickly Develop a Writing Habit by Nina Amir at Live Write Thrive

4 Ways to Lose Me Quickly by Bob Hostetler at Steve Laube Agency

A Police K-9 Offers 8 Tips to Handlers by Lee Lofland at The Graveyard Shift

Social Media Emails Done Right by Erin at MailerLite blog

Why You and Your Writing Matter by Emme Gannon at The Write Conversation

Newsletters: Trim & Grow

by Pam Hillman

Last month I took a deep dive into managing your mailing list with the goal of archiving unsubscribed fans and subscribers who have rarely (if ever) opened one of your newsletters. Managing your list will increase your open rate as well as keep costs down if you’re to the point of paying for a newsletter service. You can review last month’s post here.

This month is where do you go from here?

This month’s post should be a good bit shorter… and well, last month’s would have been as well if I’d found out where to segment the 0% Open & 0% click rate before I did. Oh, well, live and learn.

So, you read last month’s post, took a day, or a week to clean up your list and then dusted off your hands, thinking your work was done. Not so fast. :)

Now that you’ve cleaned up your list, you need to stay on top of keeping it that way. It’s like your kitchen countertops. You can have your kitchen spotless, and thirty minutes later, a kid or your spouse will walk in, get a drink of water and leave the glass on the counter. By day’s end, there are 5 coffee cups, 10 glasses, 15 plates and 45 spoons and forks. Can I get an amen?

Do you ever participate in PR campaigns like Round Robins or Blog Hops? Maybe host a giveaway or your publisher does where readers sign up for your newsletter? Or even collect email addresses at book signings?

Go ahead and segment these email addresses when you add them to your list. You can be as broad or narrow as you like.

For instance, I’m signed up for a Christmas in July Blog Tour. Blog hoppers won’t sign up for my newsletter directly, but I’m supposed to get the list of all the visitors after the tour is over.

I plan to upload all those emails and either use the segment or tag feature to identify where they came from. Segment Organic signups, too. Most of these can be just by year.

Right now my biggest criteria is 0% Open & 0% Click Rate. But, remember, just because they have 0% Open/Click, don’t archive them just yet. How long have they been on your list? If they just signed up and you haven’t sent out a newsletter, then of course it’s 0%. As long as I have room on my list, I’ll keep those 0%’ers on there for 12 months at least.

Book Trailer videos are here to stay and as authors we can utilize them to help build our name brand in so many ways.

Shannon is giving away a copy of her new release, Secrets Left Behind, to one lucky commentor (US only, please). Simply leave a comment to be entered. Or you can snag your own copy here.

Shannon Redmon remembers the first grown-up book she checked out from the neighborhood bookmobile. A Victoria Holt novel with romance, intrigue, and ballroom parties captivated her attention. For her mother, the silence must have been a pleasant break from non-stop teenage chatter, but for Shannon, those stories whipped up a desire and passion for writing.

Shannon hopes her stories immerse readers into a world of joy and escape while encouraging faith, hope, and love for those around us.  Her debut novel, Cave of Secrets, was released by Love Inspired Suspense in October 2020 and Book 2, Secrets Left Behind, is available now. Her other published works have appeared in Spark magazine, Splickety magazine, The Horse of My Dreams and Romantic Moments compilation books, the Lightning Blog and the Seriously Write blog. She is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency. 


Connect with Shannon:

Real Life In FictionSunday Scripture & Prayer RequestsWeekend EditionNewsletters: Trim & GrowWho Makes the Meaning in a Book?Cutest Meet Cutes?Those Wascally Weasel WordsSunday Scripture & Prayer RequestsWeekend Edition5 Reasons for Book Trailers with Guest Shannon Redmon

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