Friday, July 26, 2013

Penner's Spotlight - Gail Pallotta - North Carolina

Pens on a World Map
Penner’s Spotlight

Penner: Gail Pallotta of Georgia

Location: Western North Carolina Mountains

The Mountains in the Teen Novel, Stopped Cold

The atmosphere of Mistville, the fictitious setting in Stopped Cold, resembles that of the small town where I grew up. But the teen novel takes its landscape of steep peaks towering over valleys, lakes and streams from the nearby Western North Carolina Mountains, which include Mount Mitchell. It reaches skyward 6, 684 feet as the highest point east of the Mississippi River.

In this land of early morning fog, mist hovers low over the trees until the sun burns it off. In the winter, snow and ice cripple the roads. But in the spring, summer and fall sightseers clog the highways.

The summer brings cool breezes; and the fall, gold, red and orange leaves bursting across the hills. When apples, a plentiful crop, are in season, local farmers sell them in reed or wicker baskets and wooden boxes from roadside stands. When the population swells with tourists, artists travel across the countryside to Craft Fairs in cities and rural towns.

Damp fresh air lingers around the Nantahala River, which flows level with the road. This haven for trout fishermen and white water rafters springs from the outpost in the far Western part of the state and winds to River’s End Restaurant in Nantahala Gorge. It takes its name, “Land of the Noonday Sun,” from the Cherokee Indians. 

Many attend the Cherokee outdoor drama, “Unto These Hills,” and step back in time to the ways of Native Americans. Others prefer to kick back and relax in an exclusive resort in Highlands or taste a bit of mountain city life in Asheville. Some venture to the theater at Flat Rock Playhouse and musical performances in Brevard, or sightsee in Hendersonville.

The first tourists chugged up the steep grade by train from the lowlands of North and South Carolina and Georgia to escape the intense summer heat and humidity. Now they come from all over the United States as well as many foreign countries to soak in the strength and grandeur of the unchanging hills. One visitor said, “I’ve traveled all over the world, and I’ve never seen a place any more beautiful than the Western North Carolina Mountains.”
The lay of the land made the ideal backdrop for Stopped Cold.

Do you have a special trip memory from visiting the Carolinas? Which mountains have you visited and what did you do there? Please join in the conversation below.

Gail Pallotta
Award-winning author Gail Pallotta is a wife, Mom, swimmer and bargain shopper who loves God, beach sunsets and getting together with friends and family. She’s been a Sunday school teacher, a swim-team coordinator and an after-school literary instructor.

A former regional writer of the year for American Christian Writers Association (ACFA), she won Clash of the Titles in 2010. Her new teen book, Stopped Cold, is a best-seller on All Romance eBooks. Some of her published articles appear in anthologies while two are in museums.

Readers can find her on the Internet on the staff of Clash of the Titles,, at her blog,, and on her website, Her Facebook Authors and More page is She’s on Twitter at Also find out more at Front Porch Romance -
Margaret McWhorter enjoys a laid-back Freshman year in high school flirting with Jimmy Willmore, swimming and hanging out with friends—until that day. Her brother, Sean, suffers a stroke from taking a steroid. Now he’s lying unconscious in a hospital. Margaret’s angry at her dad for pushing Sean to be a great quarterback, but a fire of hatred burns inside her to make the criminals pay.

Looking for justice, she takes Jimmy and her best friend, Emily, through a twisted, drug-filled sub-culture. A clue sends them deep into the woods behind the school where they overhear drug dealers discuss Sean.

Time and time again they walk a treacherous path and come face to face with danger. Even the cop on the case can’t stop them from investigating. All the while Margaret really wants to cure Sean, heal the hate inside, and open her heart to love.

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