Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Behind the Scenes with Nikki Boyd: Part One

Vendetta--hot off the press!
There's nothing quite as exciting as getting a copy of one your books hot off the press, except maybe the journey it took to get to this point. Vendetta, book one in The Nikki Boyd Files, hits stores in a couple weeks, while I'm actually working on book three.

Originally, when I presented my idea to my editor, I was going to focus on different people on a missing person task force for each book of the series. My editor came back to me and said that the publisher wanted me to stick to telling the stories from Nikki's point of view. Now that I'm writing book three, I'm actually so glad we decided to do this, because I love, love, love her story. Nikki's motivation to do what she does comes from the loss of her own sister who went missing a decade ago, and she's never been found. This makes Nikki's journey very personal. She knows what it's like to be on the side of the victims' family, and that knowledge motivates her to ensure that other families don't go through what hers went through.

Another decision that was made early on in the writing of the series was where it would be set. I wanted a southern setting, and for book one, I needed it to be in the mountains. So while Nikki's team is based in Nashville, Vendetta takes place in and around the Smoky Mountains.

Now one of the things I love to do is travel. And while a lot of the settings I use for my books I've actually been able to visit (like Paris for Taken, for example) I'd never had the chance to visit the Smoky Mountains. So instead, I did tons of research. Which is actually one of my favorite things to do. I love research and the chance to discover places I don't know much about. The Appalachian Trail was one of these fun discoveries for me. I was blown away by some of the stories I read about people who walked the entire, 2000+ mile trek. Let me just say that at first, the idea of walking the Appalachian trail seemed completely glamorous and romantic, but let's face it. . .2000+ miles isn't easy. At all. And it isn't for the faint at heart. . .uh. . .me.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago. Vendetta is written, edits, are done, and the books is about to be printed. We were staying at a missionary cabin in Tennessee, and when I realized just how close we were to the Smoky Mountains, and my wonderful husband agreed to take me there!

It was so much fun to finally visit the place I'd researched as I wrote Nikki's story. I ended up being the tour guide who know my way around even though I'd never actually visited! This area was even far more beautiful than I ever imagined. I was also able to visit some of the actual scenes from where the book takes place. And as crazy as it sounds, I kept expecting to run into Nikki! But my one goal for the trip-- since I couldn't see Nikki--was to see a bear. And we did! We saw a mama and a couple of cubs which was so amazing, but unfortunately those photos didn't turn out.
My son and I next to the Appalachian Trail.

Hope you enjoyed the photos! They're stunning, aren't they! Check back in a week or so for Behind the Scenes Part Two and a special giveaway!

Happy reading,



  1. This is a wonderful post. I loved reading about how God put it together for you to visit the locale that you researched. We serve an amazing God who knows our hearts. Thanks for this wonderful reminder of that.

    1. So glad you enjoyed the post, Debbie. It was like an unexpected gift from Him, and something I enjoyed so much! He is amazing!

  2. Loved the post. glad your back in the States for awhile.
    Can't wait to read Vendetta.

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Linda! Hope you enjoy Vendetta!

  3. I enjoyed reading this and viewing your pictures. I have visited parts of the Smoky Mountains on several occasions. During the early years of our marriage, my wife and I would debate whether we would go to the mountains (my preference) or the beach (hers) for vacation. After about 10 years of marriage, we got hooked on going to the beach every summer. That routine ended about 15 years ago and our travel plans vary now.

    1. I have to say, Edward, that I would have a hard time choosing between the mountains and the beach. I grew up in the North West near Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens, but also only a couple hours from the beach. We now live near the beach, but far from the ocean. Maybe that's why I enjoyed the Smoky's so much. Love them both. :-)