Guest Author: Amanda Cabot
On paper, they looked like two very similar places to spend a vacation. Both were family-oriented country inns featuring quaint accommodations, modified American plan meals and beautiful locations. One was nestled on the quiet side of Smoky Mountain National Park, the other on one of the gorgeous lakes in New York State’s Adirondack Mountain region. Both offered a variety of activities for the visitor.
The similarities ended there. When my husband and I arrived at the Smoky Mountain resort, we were welcomed by smiling innkeepers who showed us to our room, insisting that if there was anything we needed, all we had to do was ask. A rather surly clerk greeted us in the Adirondacks, giving us a map and telling us we couldn’t get lost finding our cabin. We didn’t. But when we opened the door and found less than stellar accommodations, including mismatched bedspreads and towels with holes, we suspected that was part of the reason the clerk didn’t accompany us to the cabin. He didn’t want to hear any complaints.
The Adirondack problems were more than superficial, as we discovered the first night when an unexpected rain demonstrated that the roof leaked. Over the bed, of course. Electricity was unreliable, particularly when I wanted to dry my hair. And when we took a paddle boat out to explore the lake, we discovered the reason a can had been left in the bottom. It was needed for bailing. Yes, it wasn’t only the roof that leaked.
Meals were another major difference. The Smoky Mountain resort served its meals family style at large round tables with what seemed like an endless supply of delicious foods placed on lazy Susans in the center of each table. In the Adirondacks, the food, while nourishing, lacked variety. There must have been a sale on chicken, because we had roast chicken for dinner one night, chicken salad the next day, and chicken noodle soup the third. I like chicken, but even for me that was too much.
Can you guess which resort we enjoyed so much that we visited it at least once a year? No question about that, is there? And yet, which one do you think provided the inspiration for At Bluebonnet Lake? Yes, the one in the Adirondacks.
I’ve always claimed that writers need irritation rather than inspiration, and the Adirondack resort certainly provided its share of irritation. While I was grousing over the all too obvious problems, I kept asking myself “why?” And that led to “what if?” The result was not one but three books set at a fictional resort called Rainbow’s End. All of which proves that writers can find inspiration … er, irritation anywhere.
Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of more than thirty novels including the Texas Dreams trilogy, the Westward Winds series, and Christmas Roses. A former director of Information Technology, she has written everything from technical books and articles for IT professionals to mysteries for teenagers and romances for all ages. Amanda is delighted to now be a fulltime writer of Christian romances, living happily ever after with her husband in Wyoming. Learn more about her at www.amandacabot.com.