Finding Inspiration in One’s Own Backyard — Literally

By Holley Trent, author of My Nora

My NoraMy Nora starts with a confrontation. There’s a guy (a big, hunky, handsome one, y’all) who wants to hunt on his neighbor’s property. Not exclusively, but in the likely case of a deer or bear or what-have-you frolicking across the land boundary, he wants to be be able to chase it. There’s a woman (a spunky, gorgeous, headstrong one, y’all) who owns that property who says “No way.” She even has a sign staked up near her driveway: “No hunting.”

He says “Why the hell not?” (while ogling her figure).

And she says “Because it’s my property. Now git” (while becoming hypnotized by the depths of his dimples).

Well, that’s it in a nutshell.

How’d I come up with this tangle? Well, I’m a product of the sticks. I grew up in rural Chowan County where My Nora is set on a four-acre property that was about seventy percent woods. Our property adjoined a farmer’s fields and a path ran between our yard and the corn.

No TrespassingIf you follow the path down, you’d find a family (mine) cemetery, a dilapidated pig and chicken pen from my grandparents last dabble in farming (I think they gave up with that last pig got out), a bunch of woods, and if you kept going even further you’d end up at a creek.

The farmer always kept a sign staked at the back boundary of his cornfield: no hunting, no trespassing. I think in his case he didn’t want people driving over his corn…and he did occasionally dabble in the rare hunting expedition down the path himself. He, of course, didn’t want anyone scaring his varmints off.

My granny didn’t hunt (so I sure as hell didn’t, either) but we had a few members of our sprawling extended family use our property to track deer. I hated it. There was a huge echo and every time someone fired off a gun back at the treeline I nearly wet myself.

I obviously don’t have the nerves for gunfire. Neither does Nora.

Here’s the gist of My Nora, available now:

When painter Manora Fredrickson left Baltimore for a fixer-upper located in her ancestral Tyner, North Carolina, she figured she’d be getting away from the distractions of the city: the noise, the crime, the event invitations…her ex-husband. Happy to be a recluse at age twenty-eight, all Nora wants to do is paint, lick her wounds, and maybe sneak across the county line for some of Hattie’s artery-clogging fried chicken.

Enter Matthew Vogel. His little piece of Tyner abuts Nora’s and from the moment the consummate bachelor stops by her barn to find her dancing around like a Jersey City showgirl, he decides the spunky firecracker is the woman for him. Nora doesn’t agree, but she can’t get the brawny fisherman off her mind or her doorstep.

As much as Nora is attracted to her charming neighbor, she thinks Matt deserves better than a curmudgeonly hermit. Her last marriage fell apart because of her commitment to her art. Matt wants to convince her it won’t happen again—not with him.

Holley Trent is a Carolina girl gone West. Raised in rural coastal North Carolina, she has Southern sensibilities but her adventurous spirit drove her to Colorado for new experiences.

Holley writes romances with real-life humor and rural fantasy romances set in her home state. Find her online at and watch her navel-gaze on Twitter by following @holleytrent.