I have never been to Nashville. “But you’re from Tennessee!” People often say to me. “How can you not have been to Nashville?” Nashville is really nowhere near the Tri-Cities area where I grew up (The Tri-Cities is located in the Northeastern corner of the state, Nashville is located north central). Oh, once when I was very young (around three years old), I went with my family, but I remember next to nothing, so it doesn’t count.
My husband and I are planning a trip there this summer, and I’m really excited to see the land of country music (as I’m a huge country music fan). I’m also a big fan of the show Nashville, which I know is a glorified soap opera, but the characters are colorful, flawed, and tortured in their quest for fame, and the plotlines are intriguing and fast-paced.
My novel (Song from the Ashes) is not set in Nashville per se, but Ella Casey (one of the main characters) returns from Nashville after ten years of pursuing her dream to make it as a country music singer. In her eyes, Nashville is the Mecca for all aspiring artists in this genre—to find themselves on the stage of the Grand Old Opry is the pinnacle of success. But Nashville also symbolizes her downfall, as it is the town where she loses her heart (and her money) to a shady (and married) music producer. Although she struggles with the desire to return to Nashville throughout the book, the reader never actually “sees” the Nashville landscape.
I’m looking forward to seeing and hearing Nashville this summer, and perhaps the next novel will afford a more detailed glimpse into this historically-rich and colorful setting.