What Happens in Nashville?
The short answer is – a lot! Both for the characters in my new Choc Lit novella and in real life.
I’ve lived just outside Nashville for nearly 18 years now and have finally written a story based totally in my adopted hometown. In ‘What Happens in Nashville’ straight-laced English lawyer, Claire Buchan, is dreading her sister’s hen party; a week in Nashville filled with honky-tonks, karaoke and cowboys. When she meets Rafe Castello he fits the cowboy stereotype perfectly with his handsome looks and roguish charm but as he and Claire get to know each other, she realises there is far more to him than meets the eye. That’s also the perfect way to describe the city of Nashville to anyone who has never been here.
Anyone who explores beneath the surface of ‘Music City USA’ finds a far more varied town than its commonly held image might lead you to believe. If you want country music, honky-tonks and cowboys they’re there in plenty but how about a world-renowned symphony orchestra, the top-ranked Vanderbilt University, a vibrant waterfront along the Cumberland River and a growing restaurant scene that goes far beyond traditional barbeque? For Civil War fanatics Nashville and the surrounding area is a huge draw with its antebellum mansions and historic battlefields. If art is your thing then check out the stunning Frist Center for the Visual Arts. I could go on and on but having just reread the last paragraph think I’ll now be in line to get an offer from the Nashville Tourist Board any day now!
For a little fun here’s an excerpt from ‘What Happens in Nashville’ when Claire first spots Rafe at the Nashville hotel where the party will be staying.
‘She dropped her bags and set off in search of another human being. To the right of the elegant curved staircase she noticed a glass door and wandered over to peer out through into a small garden. On the wrought iron bench in the centre of the grass a man with a black cowboy hat tipped down over his face was stretched out with his long bare legs hanging out over one end, swigging beer straight from the bottle. Wonderful. Very classy.’
In her mind Claire immediately labels him as a no-good cowboy before they even speak and over the next week comes to realize how wrong she was in her first assumptions. Just like Claire I’ve had to revise a lot of my opinions over the years! The old adage about not judging a book by its cover – although the cover of ‘What Happens in Nashville’ is so pretty I wouldn’t blame you for that – is so true here in Nashville. The scruffy man with his worn jeans and scuffed cowboy boots sitting at the next table to you in a restaurant could easily be a multi-millionaire, Grammy award winning songwriter, university professor or professional athlete.
I’ll finish in true Southern style (you’ll have to ignore the Cornish accent) by saying ‘Y’all come on now and find out what happens in Nashville.’
P.S. Nashville has an interesting chocolate connection! In 1912 Nashville produced the first combination candy bar with more than one principal ingredient. They were named ‘Goo Goo Clusters’ possibly after the first words of the inventor’s baby! They’re still made in Nashville but known internationally. Here’s a link to the company’s history page: http://bit.ly/1hVZvOs