The Heart of the Mountains Blog Tour with Celebrate Lit (Interview)

About the Book

Book: The Heart of the Mountains

Author: Pepper Basham

Genre: Christian Fiction / Romance

Release date: July 1, 2022

Can their hearts overcome the darkness of the mountains?

To escape a forced marriage, Cora Taylor travels from England to the Blue Ridge Mountains in search of her brother, who is working as a teacher in a mission school. She hopes to find a place where her nursing skills and independent ideas will be accepted and appreciated, but nothing prepares her for the wild mixture of isolation, community, brokenness, and hope within these mountains…or in the person of Jeb McAdams.

Returning from the devastation of World War 1 emotionally damaged, Jeb McAdams struggles against the rampant mountain alcoholism to soothe his nightmares. It’s easy to hide within the mountains, or it was, before Cora Taylor arrived. Now, she seems to show up at every turn, bringing her modern ideas, curiosity, and beautiful eyes with her.

Bound by their shared war history, the pair develop an unlikely friendship, which unexpectedly hints to something more. But when Cora’s desire to help the women of the mountains crosses an unspoken line, will Jeb be able to protect this feisty flatlander from the wrath of the mountain men or will he end up losing much more than his heart?

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor with southern Appalachian flair. Both her historical and contemporary novels have garnered recognition in the Grace Awards, Inspys, and ACFW Carol Awards. Her historical romance, The Thorn Healer, was a finalist in the 2018 RT Awards. Her historical romance novels, My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge and The Red Ribbon, and her contemporary novels, the Mitchell’s Crossroads and Pleasant Gap series, showcase her Appalachian heritage, as well as her love for humor and family. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is the mom of five great kids, a speech-language pathologist to about fifty more, and a lover of chocolate, jazz, hats, and Jesus.

You can learn more about Pepper at her website or connect with her on FB, IG, or Twitter.

More from Pepper

It’s so interesting how one idea can influence an entire series, or…how one person’s story can.

The idea for The Heart of the Mountains started in Laurel’s Dream with a hint of a family history story about a girl named Kizzie. (Someday, I hope to bring Kizzie’s story to the pages of a book). From there, the idea began to grow out of a love for my Appalachian culture into a series of books which highlighted (and fictionalized) stories from my family history.

The main story in The Heart of the Mountains is about Jeb and Cora, two different people with similar servant hearts, but the secondary story that touched me so much was the one based on my great grandfather’s life. I write about it in the Author’s Note at the end of the novel, so I won’t go into detail about it. However, what I loved getting to do is bring the truth of God’s redemption in my great grandfather’s life…to life again.

I never knew “Papa Rat”. I only knew the stories handed down to me by my granny and my mama, but in writing this story, I feel as though I had a tiny opportunity to “meet” him in these pages. He was a gruff mountain man with a broken past which led him to make a whole lot of broken choices, but his story is incredibly encouraging, because it points to the God of broken people. My great grandpa wasn’t left in his brokenness, but, after years of running away from God, he would later recount that God pursued him. The beauty of Sam McAdams’ journey in The Heart of the Mountains is only a little glimpse into what I imagine my great grandpa’s redemption story looked like.

Because they forever changed my great grandpa when Jesus saved him (as any of us should be).

I think that’s what my granny and her siblings (and even “Papa Rat” himself) would want most -that his story would point to Jesus. I hope that’s what you see when you read about Sam McAdams in The Heart of the Mountains.

Have you ever read a book based on family history? One of my favorites is Catherine Marshall’s Christy.

Interview with Pepper

Share something your readers wouldn’t know about you.

Hmm, let me think? Hmm… Andy Griffith is my fourth cousin? Or, I was almost run over by the school bus when I was in kindergarten? My first airplane flight and taxi ride was when I was 31 years old. LOL.

If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?

Happy, Creative, Hardworking (did you want positive ones or negative ones? LOL)

What book is currently on your bedside table?

A Small Book for the Anxious Heart, Five Hundred Miles from You, Egyptian Hieroglyphs for Complete Beginners, and Tap! The Greatest Tap Dance Stars and their Stories.

What has been your favorite part of the publishing journey?

People! I’ve loved the opportunity to meet the people I have in the publishing journey. Of course, there’s always the joy of holding your book for the first time, but I’ve been so thankful for the relationships I’ve gotten to make along the way.

Can you share with us something about the book that isn’t in the blurb?

Oh Yes! Sam McAdams’ story is based on my great grandfather. Suzie’s story is based on my great aunt. What Wondrous Love is This is one of my favorite folk hymns.

Does one of the main characters hold a special place in your heart? If so, why?

This is always such a hard question because you really get to know these characters and love different ones for different reasons. I love Isom, because he’s such a fun rascal, but I adore Jeb. I love his tenderness. Cora is endearing because she’s striving SO hard to do the right things on her own but doesn’t want to have to “need” anyone. I think I identify with her in that way, where I can be so independent-minded that I fail to ask for help when I need it.

What were the highlight or key challenges you faced when writing this book?

My brother had tragically passed away when I’d JUST started writing this book, so finishing it while grieving was a tough part of the process. Also, trying to balance showing the brokenness of Sam McAdams but in a way to garner the readers’ sympathy as well. That was difficult. In our modern era, we often have a difficult time stepping back to why certain people make the choices they did, historically.

What is the key theme and/or message in the book?

I hope that one of the key messages folks will get from this book is that God is working a plan in all things – and He brings people into our lives to grow us to be more like Him. Also, I think the idea of loving others’ as Christ loves His people is evident in this too in the way Cora and Jeb show care and love to the more broken souls of Maple Springs.

Where can readers find out more about you and your books?

My website is a GREAT place to learn more about me (, but also on the social media outlets of Facebook or Instagram!

Any current or upcoming projects you’d like to tell us about?

I am SO excited about my upcoming epistolary romance coming out with HarperCollins in November called Authentically, Izzy! And in February 2023, we’ll get to read more from Frederick and Grace from The Mistletoe Countess, as I have an Egyptian romantic mystery coming out with them called The Cairo Curse!

Blog Stops

Bizwings Blog, July 28

Rachael’s Inkwell, July 28

Bigreadersite, July 28

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, July 29

Texas Book-aholic, July 29

Inklings and notions, July 30

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, July 30

Boondock Ramblings, July 30

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 31

Reading With Emily, July 31

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, July 31 (Author Interview)

lakesidelivingsite, August 1

Where Crisis & Christ Collide, August 1

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, August 1

Daysong Reflections, August 2

deb’s Book Review, August 2

Live. Love. Read., August 2

Betti Mace, August 3

Book Looks by Lisa, August 3

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 3

Remembrancy, August 4

For Him and My Family, August 4

Blossoms and Blessings, August 4

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, August 5

By the Book, August 5

Wishful Endings, August 5

For the Love of Literature, August 6

Books, Books and More Books, August 6

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, August 6

Connie’s History Classroom, August 7

SodbusterLiving, August 7

Splashes of Joy, August 7

Where Faith and Books Meet, August 8

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 8

Back Porch Reads, August 9

Through the Fire Blogs, August 9

Pause for Tales, August 9

Labor Not in Vain, August 10

Miriam Jacob, August 10

To Everything There Is A Season, August 10


To celebrate her tour, Pepper is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon e- gift card and a paperback copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

9 thoughts on “The Heart of the Mountains Blog Tour with Celebrate Lit (Interview)

  1. Eva Millien says:

    Splendid interview, The Heart of the Mountains sounds like an excellent book for me to read! Thanks for sharing it with me and have a marvelous day!


  2. Roxanne C. says:

    I enjoyed the interview and learning more about the story and message behind The Heart of the Mountains. I certainly look forward to reading the book.


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