When I wrote Vendetta, I decided to set most of it in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. And while I’d never actually had an opportunity to visit the park, I love doing research, so the setting turned out to be not only the perfect setting for a suspense novel, but a fascinating place to research.
I read stories by people who’d walked the Appalachian Trail, and learned how the mountains themselves could be deadly with unexpected storms popping up. It was a place where one could disappear if they wanted to, and where others—including small planes—had somehow managed to vanish unintentionally without a trace. Thick canopies in the mountains were described by those lost in them as laurel hells, a terrifying place to discover you were lost. So in the end, not only did I find the Smoky Mountains beautiful and mysterious, but those same mountains became the perfect backdrop for when Nikki finds her own life in danger.
Right around the time of the book’s release, I had the opportunity to return to Tennessee—we used to live in Memphis—and visit the Smoky Mountains. Our family first headed to a nearby river for a few hours of whitewater rafting, then we went into the park. After spending hours and hours of research online, it was uncanny how it felt as if I was stepping back into a familiar place. I became my family’s tour guide to a place I might have never visited in person, but I felt like I knew. The craziest part, though, was that I kept expecting to run into Nikki!
Interesting Facts about the Park
~It was established in 1934.
~The Appalachian Trail passes through a section of the park.
~The park is 522,419 acres.
~It is the most visited national park in the United States.
~The highest peak in the park is just over 6,600 feet.
~There are over 10,000 different species that grow in the park.
~There is an abundance of wildlife in the park, including the black bear, elk, red fox, coyote, white-tailed deer, and wild boar. (We saw a mama bear and two cubs!)
LISA HARRIS is a Christy Award finalist for Blood Ransom and Vendetta, Christy Award winner for Dangerous Passage, and the winner of the Best Inspirational Suspense Novel for 2011 and 2015 from Romantic Times for her novels Blood Covenant and Vendetta. She has over thirty novels and novella collections in print. She and her family have spent over twelve years living as missionaries in Africa where she leads a women’s group, and runs a non-profit organization that works alongside their church-planting ministry. The ECHO Project works in southern Africa promoting Education, Compassion, Health, and Opportunity and is a way for her to “speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves…the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.” (Proverbs 31:8)
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No one needs to push Nikki Boyd to excel on the Tennessee Missing Persons Task Force. The case of her own missing sister, still unsolved after ten years, is the driving force in her work. When a Polaroid photo of a missing girl shows up at a crime scene, Nikki quickly recognizes similarities to the past. The closer she gets to the abductor, the more she feels this case has become personal, and she is not the hunter . . . but the hunted.
With this explosive first book in The Nikki Boyd Files, award-winning author Lisa Harris takes you on a fast-paced pursuit of justice that will have you holding your breath until the heart-stopping finish.