I am obsessed with National Parks! Many of you know I’ve hosted a National Park Week series on the blog called Authors, Novels & National Parks to highlight Christian fiction set in our parks. So naturally, when I learned Elizabeth Goddard‘s first trade-length novel was inspired by her trip to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, I wanted her to be my guest. Please enjoy this short Q&A with Elizabeth about the setting for her new book, Never Let Go.
Why did you choose Yellowstone as your setting?
Never Let Go is set in the Jackson Hole area which is part of Grand Teton National Park and also the gateway to Yellowstone. The story is mostly set in Bridger-Teton National Forest surrounding Yellowstone and Grand Teton and the Gros Ventre Wilderness. I modeled the Grayback River and canyon after the Yellowstone river and canyon, fictionalizing some of those settings to accommodate the story. I chose this setting because I love nature and national parks. This is one of my favorite places to visit! My parents took us to Yellowstone when we were growing up, and then I married a guy who was from the region and still has family there. For our anniversaries early on, we stayed in Jackson to go skiing and visit his family there. I can’t get enough of the place. Since setting inspires me, I decided to set my Uncommon Justice in Jackson Hole!
What perils do your characters face in the park?
Well I can’t give away the story or offer spoilers but I do showcase as much of the region as possible. Readers have said how they appreciate the descriptive details that helped them to feel like they were there. Rest assured there will be perils to experience.
During your research trip, did you keep a travel log? Perhaps with photos of the areas you’ve included in your novel?
I wasn’t so detailed during my trip to have an actual travel log, but I’ve attached a few pictures from the trip.
- This moose appears in the story!
- The Yellowstone River and Canyon, lower falls.
- My son in front of Grand Teton. Unfortunately, the Montana fires made the air incredibly hazy! Grand Teton most definitely appears in the story. (It’s on the book cover in the background too)
- Up close and personal with wildlife.
What interesting facts did you discover while researching the park?
While the Yellowstone super volcano doesn’t play a major role in this story other than the fact Jackson Hole is the gateway to the park, I’m going to talk about Yellowstone. It’s part of the culture and ambiance of the whole region and most tourists coming to Jackson Hole will also visit Yellowstone. On one of my anniversary ski trips years ago, my husband and I participated in an eighty mile snowmobile tour through the park during the winter when it was closed to regular traffic. Words aren’t enough to describe how beautiful it is.
There’s so much to know and learn about this place. Yellowstone is the name of the super volcano caldera in Wyoming and it includes upper and lower geyser basins and hot springs pools. I’ve included a picture of a hot springs pool called Morning Glory Pool. I couldn’t wait to show my sons this beautiful pool I remembered from my childhood. But the colors had greatly changed. It’s no longer a bright blue because over the years people have vandalized it by throwing coins and trash into the pool. All of that affected the temperature and now orange and yellow bacteria have grown and changed the bright blue color. That’s one reason I think it’s important to showcase national parks in my stories—so people can understand how important it is to preserve the natural world around us!
Finally, what kind of man vs nature elements are in your story?
Anytime there’s a wilderness area (Gros Ventre Wilderness) in my stories, there will definitely be man vs nature conflict. Without giving too much away, my characters must face the dark, the cold, the wild, the river, the creatures.
Thank you for taking the time to answer a few quick questions, Elizabeth.
Elizabeth Goddard is the bestselling author of more than thirty books, including the Carol Award–winning The Camera Never Lies. Her Mountain Cove series books have been finalists in the Daphne du Maurier Awards and the Carol Awards. Goddard is a seventh-generation Texan and can be found online at http://www.elizabethgoddard.com.
ABOUT THE BOOK
The case may be cold, but things are about to heat up.
Forensic genealogist Willow Anderson is following in her late grandfather’s footsteps in her quest for answers about a baby abducted from a hospital more than twenty years ago. When someone makes an attempt on Willow’s life to keep her from discovering the truth, help will come from an unexpected source.
Ex-FBI agent–and Willow’s ex-flame–Austin McKade readily offers to protect the woman he never should have let get away. Together they’ll follow where the clues lead them, even if it means Austin must face the past he’s spent much of his life trying to forget–and put Willow’s tender heart at risk.
(2) winners will win a copy of Never Let Go & swag from the publisher, Revell.
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